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18 Money Saving Tips For Domestic Adoption Travel

 

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The costs for domestic infant adoption in the U.S. can be overwhelming – especially if you have to travel to another state.

Once you are matched and know where you are traveling to, you can save money with some research and preparation.

My wife and I have adopted twice – both times from other states. We made some mistakes and learned from our travel experiences. Here are the 18 Tips that will save you money on domestic adoption travel:

Adoption baby bag tips.

  • Carry it on with you. Most airlines will allow you to carry on a diaper bag in addition to your normal carry on items – even if you don’t have the baby yet. This will allow you to save money on extra checked baggage.
  • Buy most of what you need when you get there. If your baby bag is full after you finish packing – ask yourself, ‘Do we really need to travel with all this stuff or can we pick up what we need when we get there.’ This may not save you money, but bringing less with you will save your arms from lugging it around the airport.

Airfare tips.

  • Book it online. The competition between airlines is fierce. All major airlines offer internet fares at a discount to drive customers online where booking is cheaper for them. Take advantage of this. You can also check out discount booking sites such as Hotwire.com or Orbitz.com. Just be sure your tickets allow you to change your flights in case you have to later.NOTE: It may be cheaper in the long run to spend more on a ticket that can be changed.
  • Book on a Tuesday or Wednesday (if you can). In my experience, booking on a Tuesday or Wednesday is better – the airlines tend to offer better rates on those days of the week.
  • Call the airline directly and ask for a discount. Be sure to tell them you are in an adoption situation. If the first person cannot help you, ask to see if there is a manager that could help you. It never hurts to ask – the worst they can say is “no”.
  • Use your or your spouse’s airline points to book your airfare. Even if you have to book it ahead and change the ticket later – you save money by not having to buy full fare tickets. 

Hotel tips.Hotel

  • Go with the name brands – or at least a hotel you know. Here’s why: on our first adoption, I thought I would “save some money” by going with a hotel chain that we haven’t stayed at before but it looked good online. We also prepaid to get a discount. BIG MISTAKE. We stayed there one night and my wife said “there is NO WAY we are staying here with a baby.” We left and stayed at a Holiday Inn – where we knew what kind of room we would get.
  • Call hotels to ask about unadvertised specials or a talk to a manager that may be willing to make a last-minute deal to fill an empty room. If you didn’t have time to book a hotel online or if you just couldn’t find a good price, a phone call will get you a better rate than just by walking in. 
  • Confirm your reservation. Any time you put a third party between you and the hotel where you are staying, you increase the potential for having your reservation lost. Before you leave the house, call the hotel directly to confirm that you are registered in their computer system and your room will be waiting for you when you arrive. You don’t want any surprises when you get there or you could spend more money at another hotel.
  • Make sure the hotel has onsite laundry facilities. Coin-operated machines will save you $$ and you won’t have to pack so many clothes.
  • Get a room with a kitchen (preferably on the 1st floor) – Having a kitchen or kitchenette will save you money because you can buy groceries and cook some meals rather than eating out. A sink in a kitchen is much nicer when you are cleaning bottles. Having your room located on the first floor gets you closer (hopefully) to onsite laundry facilities – and it is easier to carry a baby with a car seat to/from your car.
  • Learn from our experience (after adopting three times). Here’s one of our experiences in getting a good hotel at a reduced price…
    • We researched hotels that offered suites. This is important for space, because they have a separate sink (for washing bottles), they have a king size bed (nice to have), and a couch to have a more comfortable place to hold the baby in your arms for hours.
    • We called hotel general managers. We told them that we were adopting in their city so we would have to stay there for a week or two and we were hoping they could help us with a discounted rate on their suites.
    • The Holiday Inn General Manager did this for us: 1.He discounted the suite by 30% (saved us $50/night). 2.We reserved 10 days starting on the first day we thought we would get a call – and then they allowed us to call EACH DAY and cancel that day without penalty, which moved the 10 day reservation back a day.
    • The General Manager was happy to help us as much as he could – we stopped by his office one day while we were there so we could thank him.

Car rental tips.

  • Find car rental discounts by booking with a wholesaler. While you’ll still ultimately be renting from a national chain, if you book with a wholesaler, you’ll save considerably. Going to a chain directly doesn’t always give you the best rates. Try CarRentals.com and Kayak.com that compare rates for all the major rental companies at once.
  • Call the car rental companies at the airport and ask to speak with the manager on duty. Tell them that you are adopting – just like you did for the hotels. Ask them if they would be able to offer you a discount – especially given the number of days that you will be renting.

Packing tips.

  • Paperwork protection. Keep your paperwork with you in a carry-on bag. Also you should scan documents and keep them where you can have online access (we use DropBox) just in case something happens and you lose your paperwork.
  • Don’t bother bringing a pack-n-play or bassinet. Save on checked baggage fees by calling ahead to see if the hotel has a bassinet or pack-n-play. Or you can do what we did and go buy this amazing bassinet.
  • Pack fewer things. If you can swing it and everything fits in your carry-on luggage, then there are no extra baggage fees. Follow the advice of travel experts who have learned to whittle down their packing list. Check out websites like Onebag.com and Travelite.org.
  • Ship it instead of packing it. Even if you are able to fit everything into your carry-on luggage, there are still certain items you can’t carry through security. Those items you can use the USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate box. You can fit a lot of clothes and travel kit items in the 12″ x 12″ x 5-1/2″ flat rate box. The cost of 2-3 day shipping is less than $15, which is less than the cost of checking that extra bag. Just make sure you’re not shipping anything the USPS prohibits and that your destination will hold packages for you.

For more domestic adoption travel tips, check out 10 Domestic Adoption Travel Tips.

QUESTION FOR YOU: What tips do you have that could save money when traveling? Click here to share your comment.

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