Amy Tara Koch (style expert, author, journalist and travel aficionado) recently sat down to answer some questions we had about busy moms planning family vacations.

Here are just a few of the tips Amy suggests:

  • Set fare alerts on your computer or phone. Airfare Watchdog is one of her favorite sites. She also loves Hotel Tonight which can discount your hotel room up to 75%. Sites like Living Social, Jetsetter, and Groupon have gotten into the travel game with discounts on flights and trips.
  • Be flexible. Travel midweek or take a layover to save big money.
  • Think about where your family likes to go and consider renting a house instead of a hotel room. Check out VRBO or HomeAway for incredible options. The advantage for busy moms is that you can do laundry, cook at the house, and save money for the big events.
  • It’s never to early to start planning for next year! Earmark money with a travel fund that you contribute to every month. Also, use travel rewards with your credit cards.
  • Do your research to find discounts. Use all the websites and apps at your disposal. And ask! When you call to make reservations, ask for any specials the airline or hotel may be having.

Amy is an expert for Life & Style, USA TODAY, Vogue and Parents magazines. From humble “eco-chic” hostels in the jungles of Tulum to luxe villas in Provence, Koch’s wanderlust knows no bounds. Passionate about food, culture, interior design and, of course, cost-cutting tricks and tips, Koch documents her globetrotting travails (often, family in tow) for a variety of publications. Amy Tara Koch lives in Chicago with her husband and two daughters.