'Centsable' Travel: Vacation on the Cheap

If you're thinking of taking a vacation this summer -- a real, honest to goodness "away-cation" rather than a staycation -- it may be more affordable than you think.

Two moms who first made a name for themselves by cutting their grocery bills in half, have figured out how to use many of those same strategies -- plus some surprising new ones -- to save big bucks on travel.

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Travel Saving Secrets

We first introduced you to Chrissy Pate and Kristin McKee last year. They were the first to throw coupon parties --kind of like tupperware parties-- only they taught guests all about saving money instead of spending money. Kristin and Chrissy were such a hit on GMA that they were asked to write a book. And now it's out: Be CentsAble: How to Cut Your Household Budget in Half.

The book contains all their great grocery advice, but also unique ways to save on entertaining, gift giving --and, yes, travel! So let's look at travel.

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Before you head out on your trip, click here to learn about a free grocery savings workshop Kristin and Chrissy are putting on only for "GMA's" audience.

Travel Tip #1: Investigate the Off Season

It can be as easy as Googling the name of your destination and the words "off season." By doing just that Chrissy, discovered that Disney World has a low season just after Thanksgiving, even though its high season begins the week before Christmas. By scheduling her family vacation for that three-week window, she was able to get $100 airline tickets and a hotel room for $27 per night.

"It makes a big difference," Chrissy said. "By just a couple of weeks you can save a ton of money."

Travel Tip #2: Buy Tickets at Wholesale Clubs

If you're heading for a popular attraction, see if you can buy tickets at wholesale clubs like Sam's or Costco. If the tickets you want aren't available at your local warehouse, check the club's website.

Kristin noticed that Costco sold tickets to Legoland in San Diego, California at a $20 discount per ticket. That was cheaper than buying them from Legoland itself -- and her kids had a great time.

"The fact that just buying tickets for vacation could cover the cost of our annual membership, we were like, 'That's great, we can do that all the time,'" she said.

Additional Web resources:

Costco Gifts and Tickets

Sam's Club Travel

Travel Tip #3: Rent Vacation Club or Time Share Points

Vacation Club points are good for rooms at resorts and sometimes members can't use up all the points they've paid for. So they're willing to sell them to you for less than face value just to recoup some of their cost.

Chrissy searched for points in online forums and discovered she could get a $250 room at the Disney Animal Kingdom lodge for just $90.

"It's like you have a timeshare, but you're not paying all of the fees associated with a timeshare," Chrissy said.

Additional Web resources:

Red Week

Sell My Timeshare Now

Disney Timeshares

Travel Tip #4: Tap Into Association Networks

Zoos, botanical gardens, museums and more often belong to associations. Join the one in your home town and you can get low- or no-price tickets to its sister attractions in other cities.

"Easy as that. You don't have to call ahead, you don't have to have anything special, you just show them your card and they're very familiar with the program," Kristin said.

Additional Web resources:

Children's Museums Reciprocal Program

Association of Zoos and Aquariums Reciprocal Programs

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