In the first post of this series, I discussed ways to save money in the planning stage of your Disney vacation. In this post, I will offer tips on how to stretch your vacation budget after you’ve booked your trip. While some of this advice is Disney-specific, many of these tips can be applied to any vacation!
There are many creative ways to save money for your trip before you even leave home. The first thing that my family does when we’re planning a Disney trip is to open a separate bank account for our vacation. Then, we squirrel away whatever we can. We deposit bottle returns, limit how often we eat out at restaurants (and then deposit what we would have spent), and start a “change jar”. It’s truly amazing how quickly these little things add up.
Second, if you have a credit card that offers cash rewards, consider using that card for all of your regular monthly bills (phone, cable, groceries, insurance payments, etc.); when you get a rewards check, deposit it immediately into your vacation account. Disney even offers its own VISA rewards card through Chase Bank; you can use your rewards points to pay for almost anything “Disney” (from merchandise to dining to your vacation itself). Best of all, Disney VISA cardholders are eligible for special benefits, including advance access to certain Disney vacation deals, exclusive character meet-and-greet opportunities in select Disney parks, and discounts at some Disney stores and dining locations. Nevertheless, it’s important to keep in mind that other cards have more attractive cash-back bonuses and offer higher rewards percentages. To get the most “bang for our vacation buck”, we hold a Disney VISA (so that we are eligible for special offers) and another credit card that offers a higher cash-back percentage (so that we have more money to deposit into our vacation account)!
Finally, be on the lookout for special vacation offers from Disney even after you’ve booked your trip. If a discount is offered for your travel date, Disney will credit the difference to your remaining balance. This happens frequently; in fact, we just received a credit for our vacation in May! However, you must check for special offers often and you must call Disney Travel Company to receive your credit; they will not do it automatically. Of course, if you’re using a travel agent, he or she will take care of all of this for you!
Next Up: Part Three: Stretching Your Disney Vacation Budget While You're On Your Trip
Disney Vacation Specialist, Ginger's Getaways