Family vacations can be pricey! You have to pay for lodging, transportation, food, and then there are all of the unexpected expenses before leaving and once you get there. Here are a few ways to make your family vacation a bit more budget friendly.
The Right Time
There are a lot of cases in which the timing of your vacation can really save you money. For instance, if you are going to the beach, the peak season is usually the month around Spring Break and then from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend. However, in many areas it is still warm enough to enjoy the beach before or after those dates.
You’ll find that if you go a little earlier or a little later in the year you can get off-season rates on lodging that could save you hundreds of dollars. Research the area that you plan to visit and find out if the local lodging has seasonal rates and plan your trip accordingly.
Budget Friendly Rentals
Major hotel chains and large condominiums are not the only way to stay when going on vacation. Here are a few options you may not have considered that could also save you a lot of money:
- VRBO – VRBO, or Vacation Rental by Owner, is a great site that has a large amount of rentals in popular tourist destinations. Most of the homes are owned and operated by a single owner as opposed to a property management company. Since they don’t have the management fees, often the rates are much less than those at a condo or hotel.
- Craigslist – Most vacation spots in larger areas have a section on Craigslist for vacation rentals. You can often find great rates this way.
- Hotels.com – If you are still set on using a hotel or if that better accommodates your needs, try booking online to save money. With hotels.com, you can get the 10th night free when you book through them, so that is great savings as well.
Cooking on Vacation
It may save you a lot of money in the long run to book a rental with a full kitchen. I know it may seem awful to have to cook on vacation, but just having a kitchen to bake a frozen pizza, quick dinners or even having a cereal breakfast on the go can save you so much money from eating out for each meal.
You may consider making a few freezer meals ahead of time to have dinners that don’t require cooking. Or if you are going with multiple families, each family could take a night to be in charge of dinner. It can get so pricey to eat out each meal while on vacation and that is a simple way to save.
Shopping on Vacation
If you are budgeting money for souvenirs, try getting away from the main tourist areas to shop. Try a local store or an antique store to get something truly unique that you’ll cherish. Not only will the prices be cheaper, but you will appreciate your vacation souvenir even more.
Also, there are some things that you may need to purchase once you arrive to your vacation destination, such as sand toys for the beach, or items you may have left at home. Look for local thrift stores to purchase those things used and save a lot of money.
Look online ahead of time for ways to save on dinners out, excursions with the family, and more. Check Groupon or Restaurants.com for local restaurant savings. Check websites to print coupons for excursions, theater tickets, or other vacation adventures. Call ahead of time to the museums, amusement parks, and other places you’d like to visit and ask if they have special discounts on specific days or any online coupons.
Even the most frugal people can tend to get lax on vacation and spend more on items than they usually would. Keep those frugal intuitions focused while on vacation and while your planning your vacation and you’ll find that you can save an incredible amount all while having the time of your life.
What are some things you have done as ways to save money on your family vacation?