Here's some stuff I learned on my vacation this year. I did the Adirondacks but it's applicable to just about anywhere. Perhaps you already know this, but I wanted to share the love.
-Sign up for Groupon and Living Social emails (or visit the web sites often) for the closest big city (or cities) you're going visit. This didn't click for me until about a month before our visit. In our case it was Albany. It didn't pay off but I'll try again next year and start looking when we decide where we're gong.
-Buy the Entertainment Book for closest big city (again or cities) you're going to visit. This was money for us. I bought it in March when it was on sale for $15 (which included shipping). We used it for two attractions and a restaurant (and missed another). In our case we bought the Albany and got the Adirondack region with it. I'm sure it pays off even more for some of the bigger vacation spots and cities. I think you can also buy a nationwide online account.
-The coupon books you get at the hotel lobbies can be found online. This can help you plan your vacation if you know you're getting 10% off a restaurant X. But you probably already knew this.
-If you're going on a toll road know how they take the money. I saved up some change only to find that I-90 in New York charges an outrageous amount and only charge you when you get off or it's at the end of the toll (they got quarters anyways).
-Pack that small fan. It keeps you cool, but more importantly it cuts out the noise from the freeway, hallway, and that drunk guy outside your window (true story on all three accounts).
-Put the sleep mask in the suitcase. Our unit had wimpy curtains. We could have thrown the spare blanket over the window, but we liked seeing the mountains in the morning (wow that made me sound lazy).
-Don't trust that the big tourist attraction is going to be on your GPS. Make sure you add it before. Man, that made me feel stupid. Thank you Iphone for bailing me out.
-When looking at Tripadvisor reviews look at the number of reviews the reviewer has done. If a local guy has only one review and it's scathing I take it with a grain of salt; it might be the competition. The same goes for a glowing review; it may be the owners cousin. If an out of towner has done quite a few reviews in different cities I tend to trust them more and I'll sometimes read their other reviews.
-Check Facebook. Seems obvious. Sometimes a small mom and pop operation doesn't run a website, but they will have a Facebook page. Even if a company has a web site they will sometimes use FB to to post daily specials, additions to their menu, publish events, etc.
-Ask for the discount. Some are obvious like AAA and AARP. Some places will give military, police, and firefighter discounts. This year we used a veteran's discount for the first time. I wouldn't be surprised if some educational attractions gave teacher discounts.
Those are some things I've learned. What are some tips you have?