New York — Going to a theme park this summer may be fun for the whole family, but it doesn't come cheap. The cost of tickets, food and souvenirs adds up. But by doing your homework, you can save.
From Liz Pulliam Weston of MSN Money, here are some tips for saving on your next trip to the amusement park:
¢ Do your research. By getting maps and brochures from the park, you can mark down the attractions you must see, and the ones you can live without. Some parks offer "planning guides" free of charge. Make sure to check their Web sites. You can also consult unofficial Web sites that will provide you with any other tips and tricks that might help you navigate the park more easily. Here are a few: MouseSavers.com, amusementpark.com and themeparkinsider.com.
¢ Buy your tickets online. You're bound to get at least some discount for buying tickets online on the park's Web site. Many parks also offer promotions that you may be able to use.
¢ Look for discounts. If you live close to a park, you may be able to land a discount. Disneyland regularly offers cheaper tickets to residents of Southern California. Sometimes companies located near a park can get their employees deals. Make sure to check with your human-resources department if you work near a park. Schools can also be a good bet. If you are student at a college near a theme park, your school may be able set you up with discounted tickets.
¢ Check your memberships. Organizations such as AAA and AARP may offer their members discounts. You might also be able to trade frequent traveler points for tickets.