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Family Travel Tip Tuesday: Join the Club!

May 12th, 2009 by bsmith | Filed under Travel Discounts, Travel Tips.

A few years ago, we took a fabulous Florida Vacation while my husband attended a conference.  We had the opportunity to stay at the Tampa Mariott Waterside Marina and Luxury Hotel.  We had so much fun staying at this Mariott ,  Ken joined their rewards program.  (By the way, if you ever stay there,  the Cafe Waterside had a delicious oatmeal creme brulee with fresh berries. I’ve never tasted anything like it. It was one of the least expensive items on the menu, and I had it for breakfast every day during my stay.)

Whenever Ken travels on business he tries to stay at a Marriott.  This works out well, because although Mariott has beautiful luxury hotels like the one in Tampa, it also offers more affordable options for the budget business traveler.  When traveling with the family we prefer properties that offer suites like The Fairfield Inn, The Residence Inn, Towne Place Suites, and Springhill Suites.  The small kitchens, continental breakfast, and other ammenities really come in handy when traveling with the kids.  Since we are rewards members we also earn free hotel stays.  If you pick an out of the way location those points can really go a long way.  On our recent visit to Seattle, my husband and I stayed at the Towne Place Suites in the picturesque town of Mukilteo, Washington.  It was a drive into the city, but the property was very close to the water.  It had an extensive continental breakfast, a basketball court, umbrellas in case of rain, as well as the usual pool and workout room.  You could even rent a fish to keep you company during your stay!  Ken and I used reward points to stay all three nights!  Without the free room our Seattle adventure would have been much shorter.

Sign up for the Mariott Rewards Program or choose the hotel chain that your family uses the most and sign up for their loyalty program.  With any luck you can enjoy a few extra affordable family adventures with your free hotel stay.

Our Seattle trip also showed us how important it is to  be enrolled in those car rental preferred member rewards clubs, and to keep your info updated.  Ken thought he had a membership with Dollar Rental Car, but his membership was so outdated they had changed the name of the club and he was no longer in the computer!  We waited about 20 minutes to get to the front desk, just to do the paperwork for our rental.   Then it was off to an off-site building to wait again to pick up the car.  If the kids had been with us it would have  been torture!  Dollar Rental Car had rock bottom prices, but the service was slow.  Here’s the link to sign up for their Dollar Express program.  Do it now and save yourself some rental car hassle.

Happy Trails,


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