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Discount California Travel: Saving Money on Your Orange County Vacation

May 18, 2008
Thanks to Disneyland and other family destinations, Orange County is now a hotbed for vacationers. Like any tourist destination, the prices have risen along with the number of attractions, but it's definitely possible to fund an Orange County vacation without breaking the bank.

Before you get started planning your vacation, it's best to set a budget. This way you know exactly how much you have to spend, and how much you need to save in order to go on vacation. When you have a budget, it becomes easy to make choices on where you should save and where you should pay full price. For example, if you can save money by driving to Orange County, rather than flying, it will allow you spend more on accommodations or vice versa.

One of those important choices is which amusement park you are going to visit, and how much money you plan to spend at each. With Disneyland, California Adventure, LegoLand, Magic Mountain, Knottsberry Farm and several other smaller parks within driving distance, trying to hit them all will cost you a lot of time and energy. It's best to choose one or two. That way you can really enjoy each park and not stretch your budget too far. Some parks even offer 2-for-1 deals, such as Disneyland and California Adventure, which allow you to visit two parks for one price.

Check for discount tickets for tours and attractions before you go. You may be surprised at the discounts available for savvy travelers who check around for prices online ahead of time. You may also consider purchasing an Entertainment coupon book for the zip code you plan to visit. That will save you on dining, and it may save you on lodging and attractions as well. If you belong to AAA or other groups, check the group's website before you go to see if showing your card will save you money on attractions.

If your vacation time is flexible, consider traveling in the fall or the early spring. Crowds tend to be thinner during these times of year, and the weather is still nice enough that you'll enjoy your stay. The prices drop around these times of year as well, so you'll pay less than you would if your visit were during peak times. The large travel sites may, throughout the year, offer various coupon codes for their more popular destinations, such as Orange County, so get on the email list of your favorite sites so you can monitor any new deals.

There are a wide variety of hotels and motels surrounding the major Orange County attractions. You can stay at a smaller motel with fewer frills and be within the same traveling distance as you would if you stayed at a high priced hotel. If you plan early and travel in the off-season, staying at the Disneyland Hotel is very reasonable. You'll also save money on travel because there are free tram services to and from the park.

Balance your visit to an amusement park with some free activities, such as visiting the beach or strolling down some of Orange County's beautiful parks and natural areas. Since the weather is pleasant during most of the year, take advantage of simply being outdoors and taking in some nature during your visit. The beach and mountains are within driving distance of most Orange County towns and Southern California boasts some of the country's most gorgeous national parks.

Traveling to Orange County doesn't have to cost as much as you may think. With a budget in hand, a plan for your activities and an open mind to taking in some of the natural beauty in the area, you'll be able to travel without spending your entire savings account.
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