Families flock to amusement parks at all times of year, but summer is by far the most popular time to ride the roller-coasters and splash down water slides. A TripAdvisor survey of more than 1,500 people showed that 60% of them plan to vacation at an amusement park this year – and more than a quarter will shell out more than $1,000 to do so.
In an effort to save families some cash on their next amusement park adventure, Family Vacation Critic, an online travel service, is sharing some budgeting tips to consider before booking your next vacation.
Lissa Poirot, editor of Family Vacation Critic, said that research and planning are essential if families want to save. “With amusement park prices on the rise each year, families tend to be the group hit the hardest,” Poirot explained. “For a family of three or more, the cost of admission alone can be hundreds of dollars. That doesn’t take into account parking, meals, beverages – or a hotel stay if visiting from out of town.”
Tips for making family vacations more budget-friendly:
- Purchase tickets in advance. Many parks offer discounts online when customers buy tickets beforehand. Park websites also offer sales and combination packages with nearby attractions, so it’s worth planning ahead and checking for the best deal ahead of time.
- Consider credit cards and coupons. American Express has special promotions and lounge areas at Universal Studios for cardmembers, and there is a special entrance for Discover Card customers at Six Flags parks, as well as exclusive ride times for their cardholders. Sites like Groupon, LivingSocial and RetailMeNot offer discounts and coupons that can equal significant savings for park-goers.
- Purchase multi-day passes when possible. Multi-day passes and season passes provide the biggest savings for people planning to hit the parks for more than one day per year. Season pass holders, in particular, often get perks like free parking, exclusive ride times, and even access to partner parks.
- Stay overnight. For out-of-towners, hotels close to the amusement park usually offer savings packages. These often include discounts on admission, free breakfasts, early entry to the park, and transportation to and from the attractions.
- Get the timing right. Half-day tickets, evening tickets, and off-peak tickets are often cheaper alternatives to all-day, peak-season passes. Especially if you have young children who might not have the stamina to stay at the park all day, plan ahead to take advantage of these less-pricey options.