It’s all fine and dandy to read savings tips on how to pay for a trip, but without real numbers it’s sometimes difficult to understand so I wanted to lay out how my family of three – two adults and a toddler – paid for our 8 day trip to Disneyworld in April 2016.
First off, we put down a $200 deposit immediately upon our dates opening up (the minimum required for booking and totally refundable), and stayed flexible. This allowed our travel agent to easily take advantage of new promotions, while remaining in the hotel room we wanted. We ended up changing our touring plans three times, ultimately saving 15% off our hotel stay, and receiving one day free with the purchase of our 4 day park tickets.
Our total cost for tickets and hotel room is: $2126.67
I chipped away at that number – which is nearly twice what my family normally pays for a week’s vacation – a number of ways.
Disney Movie Rewards – $40 in free gift cards earned via movie points
Gift Card Winnings – $140 in free gift cards in four separate drawings
Gift – $25 gift card was given to my daughter for the trip
Disney Visa Signup Bonus – $200 free gift card
Disney Visa Rewards – $60 free gift card (and counting)
Disney Vacation Account Bonus – $40 free gift for paying $2,000 out of our Disney Vacation Account (Disney discontinued their vacation account program in September 2017)
Travel Agent Bonus – $25 free gift card for booking through referral
Earned Gift Cards (through Swagbucks, Target free gift card deals) – $150
Total free gift cards: $680
Unexpected windfall (bonus, refunds etc.) – $322
Tax Refund – $665
Gifts (anniversary, birthday etc.) – $600
Cashback websites – $88
Grocery cashback – $10
Total cash: $1685
I took $10 of that to open my Disney Vacation Account. (Again DVA has been discontinued.)
I took another $255 to take advantage of the discount Target gift card deal that is run during the holidays and turned it into $300.
I took most of the rest of it – $1120 – and using the methods I explained in another post turned that into $1300 in gift cards.
So the total I have is $2280 in gift cards which will pay for my trip and give me more than $150 leftover.
And that was our April 2016 trip in a nutshell. But what if you don’t carefully plan? More on that in my next post.