We love to travel and now that we have a little one we still want to be able to do that without breaking our budget. Currently my husband is working a lot of overtime so we have extra money to do some fun stuff.
So I start with trying to find a hotel if we are only driving if we are flying I start with the airfare. So we went to Cincinnati this weekend and we wanted to stay overnight so we could do more the next day without driving back and forth. With my son we really need a room with two separate rooms which takes the price up. He goes to bed early and if we don't want to go to bed early or worry about waking him so I look for one bedroom suites. I start by checking websites like Expedia.com to see what is available and figuring out what area we want to stay in. I also use www.tripadvisor.com to make sure that the hotel is a good one to stay in. Right after Brad and I got married we booked a hotel without checking it out and it was the most miserable weekend where all I wanted to do was go home. This time by reading the reviews I read where people were getting a great rate through a homewood suites for just $99 a night for a one bedroom. So I went to the website for the museum that was giving them this rate and they just had a code that you could enter when you booked the room to get that rate. I was so happy because some of the stuff I also look for in a hotel this chain owned by Hilton has. They have a free hot breakfast which means we get protein which makes it last longer. They also offer free internet access which saves us money and allows us to use our computers for free. If we were staying longer the full kitchen this hotel offers and the weekday meals would also be money savers as well.
Now onto the activities. One of the best things we did this year was to buy a zoo membership. Even though the zoo is an hour from our house we have already been several times this summer with friends saving $13.95 each time and it has a guest so twice we have saved double that. We also used it when we went to the Columbus zoo for 1/2 off a savings of $13. This weekend we used it at the Cincinnati zoo and saved another $14. After adding up what we would have spent I found we had already saved over $40 and it's good until the end of June next year. We got it at the beginning of June which gave us almost an extra month of use vs getting it at the end of May meaning it would have expired at the end of May so a day or even two made a months worth of difference. :)
We were going to take Scott to the Cincinnati Children's museum but due to some bad timing having hoped to get a morning nap in we never made it. There was an accident that had traffic stopped and by the time we would have made it up there I was afraid Scott would have been to tired to enjoy it and the money would have been wasted. I had however found a great way to save money thanks to a reminder from Scott's Gymboree teacher. www.tropicana.com has a reward program when you buy OJ then you get points. Then you can use the points for all sorts of great things like BOGO free admission to museums and other places. I have also gotten a BOGO free movie ticket as a special reward as well as free OJ. It's a cool program and well worth collecting points from. I'm hoping my friend might want to go back up this week or next and take the kids to play so we can use the coupon. If not I only used one point to get it.
While we were near the outlets in Cincinnati I decided to take a trip to check out the Stride Rite store. I found a great pair of hiking boots that are just dressy enough Scott can wear them to church this fall/winter. They were on clearance for $16. I also went into the Gymboree outlet and got him a Shirt that says "I make noise and cause trouble". I also found a pair of jeans on clearance with the cool adjustable elastic in a size 3 for later this winter and a one piece outfit in a 2T that is super cute with a puppy dressed as a pirate. Love those outfits. They are soft and so easy to put on.