Save Money on Your Next Family Vacation with These Tips

I love vacationing and taking trips, all while doing it on a careful budget, and write about that a lot here on this blog. Here are some more tips from a reader on how you can save money on your trips.

Some of the best family memories are made while on vacation. With everyone’s little league schedules, dance recitals, work obligations and social engagements, it can be challenging to find the time and money you need to pull off the vacation of your dreams. 

Fortunately, family vacations don’t always have to break the bank. Read on for handy tips to help you save some serious money on your family’s next big adventure. 

Keep Your Plans Flexible

Most destinations have on and off seasons, and some airlines or hotels have deals when you travel on certain days during the week. If you can swing it, plan for a midweek departure for your family’s next Mediterranean cruise or theme park excursion. It is helpful to take a look at price trends for your intended destination to ensure that you’re getting the best deal on the trip as a whole. You’d be surprised at how much money can be saved on the same five-day trip if you just shift the time frame forward or backward by a few days. 

Look For Deals

While travel is notably costly, there are deals on flights, rental cars, hotels, short-term rentals and tours all the time. Sign up for newsletters, set up email alerts or check periodically for price drops. It’s helpful to follow travel companies on social media for up-to-date deals and discounts, and there are also designated websites designed to gather data from a variety of sources and display the current lowest prices for your chosen destinations. 

Check Nearby Areas

It’s always nice to have a convenient home base when you are on the road, but you could leave some more room in your travel budget if that home base is outside of the city center or in an adjacent town. Take transportation needs into account, and look at accommodations that are away from tourist attractions, but located near public transit or within driveable distance of the sites. 

Book Things in Advance

As a rule, the earlier you can book your big ticket travel expenses, the more money you’re likely to save. Hotels, flights and rental cars all increase in price anywhere from three to six weeks before your departure. This is especially true for travel on popular holidays or three-day weekends. Plan ahead to avoid getting caught with higher costs as it gets closer. 

Look For Amenities

One of the most expensive aspects of travel is food costs, but you can take measures to cut your meal bills down by booking smart accommodations. Look for a hotel with a kitchen or kitchenette or consider renting a short-term stay at a home or apartment with a fully outfitted kitchen. This doesn’t mean you have to skip eating out entirely. Rather, try to prepare at least one to two meals in your temporary kitchen, and pack snacks to curb hunger before you eat a nicer dinner out as a family at night. 

Plan Itineraries Strategically

If you’re visiting a popular attraction, look for discounted days or atypical ways to visit. Many museums, historical sites and popular galleries have free or discounted ticket days each month, which can be especially helpful if the regular ticket costs are high. As well, look for free or inexpensive ways to enjoy your destination. A self-guided walking tour or a public, natural wonder can provide your family with entertainment, history and cost-free enjoyment. 

Skip Expensive Souvenirs

Souvenirs are a fun aspect of family vacations, as they give each of you something to remember the trip by. Rather than shell out for costly trinkets that will just sit on a shelf at home, consider buying a single family souvenir to be shared. You can also skip souvenirs entirely and opt for a special photo book, a ticket stub diary or a special frame to hang a park map or museum leaflet that you naturally accumulated during your travels. The time you spend together on your vacation will matter more in the long run than any souvenir. 

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal

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