Traveling with your family is a great way to spend quality time together. However, vacations can be costly; for many families, vacations can feel financially out of reach and impossible. Traveling with your family does not have to rack up credit card debt or strain the budget. These 15 ways to save money on a family vacation will help you have the vacation you want and not break the bank.
Easy Ways To Save Money on a Family Vacation
Family vacations are a way to create lasting and meaningful memories with your children. The time spent together on vacation is an investment of emotion and money. If you find suitable accommodations, plan for the right time to travel, and choose cost-effective activities, your family will have a lifetime of memories to treasure.
1 – Set a Budget
Start by examining your bank account and spending habits to find ways to build in a vacation fund. Creating a vacation budget can be challenging as the trips' costs vary based on the time of year and destination. However, estimating how much money you can set aside for trips will help you choose financially attainable goals.
2 – Be Flexible
You can save considerably on airfare, hotels, and attraction tickets if you have flexible travel dates. Planning a vacation during the “off-season,” during the week, or traveling at less desirable times, you can potentially save hundreds of dollars. Of course, this can be a challenge with young children or school schedules, but flexibility can save you money.
3 – Choose Alternative Destinations
Not all destinations are priced equally. More popular destinations like big cities and theme parks will be more expensive. Consider visiting a less expensive destination. It is possible to save a decent amount of money even by staying outside tourist areas in cities because you will not be paying downtown prices.
4 – Drive Instead of Fly
While finding good deals on flights is possible, you can save more money by choosing an alternative mode of transportation. A road trip allows you to set the pace to stop wherever you want. Traveling by car is a great way to stay on a budget since you won't be paying for airfare, airport parking, rental cars, and other possible fees.
Consider alternative transportation methods, such as the train, as they may be less expensive and provide fun new experiences for your family.
5 – Rent a House
Hotels have their perks, but renting a house or apartment is a family-friendly option. Larger families require two hotel rooms which can be costly. For about the price of a hotel room, you can often find a home to rent that will give you more space and a kitchen to prepare your meals.
6 – Consider a House Swap
Home swapping allows you can discover new places worldwide without spending a fortune. A house swap, or a home exchange, is when two families agree to stay in each other's homes for a specified period. By doing a house swap, you can save a significant amount of money without compromising the quality of your vacation. Plus, having the amenities of a home, like a fully stocked kitchen, can save you even more.
7 – Bring Your Food
Bring food on your travel days whenever possible to avoid buying meals at the airport or on the road. Staying in a rental house will allow you to use the kitchen to prepare breakfast or dinner. If you decide to eat out, consider eating out for lunch when meals are generally cheaper. Also, check for nearby restaurants that offer kids-eat-free.
8 – Find The Free Attractions
Many local museums and art galleries offer free admission on certain days. Visiting parks and exploring local neighborhoods is another inexpensive way to learn about the local culture. Visit the local tourism board or website for details on free and affordable things to do in the area.
9 – Take Public Transportation
Use public transportation when available. Only some cities have reliable public transport, so research before your trip. Book accommodations close to public transit to quickly get to attractions and dining. In many cities, renting a car won't be necessary if you pick a location with good public transportation options.
10 – Look For Package Deals
All-inclusive packages are only sometimes the best way to save money, but you can find good deals to save money. Deal sites often have package deals for resorts, including activities, meals, and accommodations. You can save money by traveling this way, especially if your children need constant supervision.
11 – Look for Membership Deals
Visiting a museum is a great way to introduce your child to a new area. An easy way to save money is by taking advantage of the reciprocal programs offered at many museums. Many major cities also offer attraction passes that will give you admission to multiple popular attractions at a discounted rate.
Likewise, an annual National Parks pass could save you money if you plan to visit multiple National Parks.
12 – Buy Travel Insurance
Travel insurance can save a lot of heartache and give you peace of mind. Purchasing travel insurance is an excellent idea, especially if traveling to a destination with weather issues. A canceled flight, lost luggage, or medical emergency can quickly become expensive. A small investment in travel insurance can help you save a great deal.
13 – Use Travel Rewards
You can reduce your trip's cost by using credit cards. When you use travel rewards credit cards, you usually receive generous sign-up bonuses and points that can be used for travel. Make sure you pay off your entire balance every month.
14 – Skip or Limit Souvenirs
The best part of a vacation is the memories you create. Souvenirs are often overpriced and add bulk to your luggage. Instead, take plenty of photos and purchase one special item. If souvenirs are essential to your family, set a budget beforehand, this will prevent children from constantly asking.
15 – Pack Light
Many airlines charge for carry-on luggage; it pays to pack light. Research the airline's bag policy because it may be cheaper to check one large back rather than carrying on multiple smaller bags. Investing in high-quality, lightweight luggage may be beneficial to avoid paying extra fees.
Jessica is a travel and lifestyle writer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. She is also a travel agent specializing in family vacations. Jessica started her website, B Honest Media, in 2008 to share her journey of parenting four boys. She now shares her knowledge on family travel, technology for kids, meals for families, and product reviews. Jessica loves helping families find unique and fun ways to connect. She enjoys reading sappy romance novels and going to the movies with her husband when she isn't traveling.