Family vacations are such fun. They’re a chance for you to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and spend quality time together as a family playing on the beach, attending amusement parks and checking out the local landmarks – if you’re lucky you may even get to spend some time lazing by the pool with a tasty cocktail or two!
Of course, family vacations can also be pretty expensive with the average cost of a trip for a family of four coming in at a huge $4,580 – that’s a big chunk of change! The good news is, there are lots of things you can do to ensure that your next family vacation is far less expensive than the last…
The earlier you book your family vacation, the more likely it is that you will get a better deal. A lot of companies offer some really great incentives like money off your flights and accommodation if they can guarantee that you will vacation with them in the future, and you can use sites like AccorHotels and Insight Vacations to Find them.
Or Book Really Late
Conversely, there are also a number of travel companies who offer highly discounted deals on last-minute bookings. The only disadvantage is that you will have to take what’s available and what’s available might not be exactly what you want. But, if you aren’t fussy and you just want to get away without spending very much money, it is definitely worth considering. Maybe it’ll add to the excitement a little if you don’t know where you’ll be going or what you’ll be doing until you’re actually getting ready to go?
Set Up Alerts
If you’re looking to go away for less, it makes perfect sense to set up price alerts via companies like KAYAK. Then, all you have to do is select your chosen itinerary and whenever the price comes down, you’ll be sent an alert, so you can book that dream vacation for far less than you might have done.
Vacations aren’t typically something you think you can negotiate a better price for, but if you do it the old fashioned way and visit a travel agent face to face, you may well be able to get the cost of your trip down, at the very least, you should be able to convince them to throw in a free excursion or two to sweeten the deal and ensure that they get your custom, especially in these days where so many people are deserting them in favor of online booking.
Stay in an Apartment
When you’re traveling with the whole family, it is often more economical to rent a house or apartment than it is to stay in a hotel. Just look at this property for rent Singapore and you will see that there are some very good deal to be had. Another benefit of doing this is that you will have your own space so you won’t have to worry about the kids throwing tantrums and disturbing the other guest, or the guests waking your kids up in the middle of the night. Oh, and since you’ll have your own apartment with cooking facilities, you’ll be able to prepare cheaper homemade meals should you want to save even more money by doing so.
Consider Booking a Tour
Guided tours make for great family vacations because you do not have to worry about organizing your own itinerary, which can take lots of time if you’re planning to see lots of attractions rather than spend every day sitting on the beach. Not only that, but when you book with a family-oriented tour guide like Intrepid, the vacation including the activities often works out much cheaper than it would be if you booked each and every element separately.
Choose an Indirect Flight
You probably aren’t going to want to do this if you have young kids who let’s face it find even the shortest of flights difficult to deal with, but if you’re flying with older kids or teens, you could save as much as 15 percent of your flight’s cost by choosing an indirect route with one or more stopovers. If you aren’t flying too far, this will really help you to keep costs down.
Use a Fuel Mileage Calculator
Before you hire a rental car for your trip, input the data of several available hire vehicles into a fuel mileage calculator and it will tell you exactly how much each car will cost you to run on your family vacation. Then, you can choose the one that is likely to work out cheapest for you.
Instead of taking everything but the kitchen sink with you, get strict and tell the kids that they can pick out just a couple of their favorite, smaller toys to bring along and ensure that you all pack capsule wardrobes that will last you the whole time you’re away without being too bulky – this doesn’t apply if you’re traveling with a bay for obvious reasons – and you won’t risk having to pay more for excess baggage.
Go to the Grocery Store
You’re probably going to want to eat out at least some of the time to experience the local cuisine and to give you a break from the mundane tasks n life while you're on vacation, but if you have a family to feed and you’re looking to save money on your vacation, you should probably hit the local grocery stores and prepare at least some of your meals yourself, even if that means packing a lunch before you head out for the day.
Dine Out at Lunch, Not Dinner
If you’re looking to save money on eating out, as well as scouring the internet and local media for discount coupons, you may want to think about eating out at lunchtime rather than dinner. Most restaurants have a cheaper a la carte lunch menu that lets you sample their fine cooking for a fraction of the cost of dinner, and of course, lunch is a far more laidback meal than dinner, so you won’t have to worry as much about ensuring the kids are on best behavior.
Hit Up Those Fabulous Free Attractions
Pretty much anywhere you travel to in the world you will find no end of free attractions that are every bit as amazing as those attractions you have to pay for, and if you plan your trip around seeing them, you will get a far greater bang for your buck. Some examples of free attractions across the globe include the Natural History Museum in London, The Alamo in San Antonio and the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. Whatever you’re into, you’re sure to find lots of free things to do and you know what, the kids will love them.
Use a Travel Rewards Credit Card
If you use a credit card that rewards your spending with air miles or other travel-based offers, then you can drastically cut the cost of your next vacation by using your card for all of your purchases throughout the month, and as long as you pay off the balance in full at the end of the month, it won’t cost you a single penny. It doesn’t really get much better than that, does it?
Don’t Go in the Summer
Okay, so vacations and summer go hand in hand, but if you want to save yourself some serious money – we’re talking upwards of 25 percent – you might want to think about heading off at another time of year. Obviously, not all families will be able to do this, but if you can vacation in May, October or even November, you will avoid the peak season and not only spend less, but have a less crowded vacation too.
Have a Staycation Instead
Probably the best way to save heaps of money is to have a staycation. This is a vacation where you stay in your own country, state, town or even your own home if you want to take it to extremes. Obviously, when you don’t have to travel quite so far, you can easily save lots of money, and if you spend your vacation exploring your own or nearby towns, you can stay at your own home, which means you won’t have to fork out for accommodation and you can cook in your own kitchen, for even bigger savings, too.
This might seem kind of a bore, but if you think about it, how much of your hometown have you explored? Have you been to all of the museums, galleries, beaches, diners, forests, parks? Chances are you haven’t and you and the kids will have as much fun exploring those things locally as you would far away with the added advantage that if you find an attraction you really love, you can visit it again and again and again. If money is really tight, this is definitely the option I would be choosing.
Do you have any money-saving travel tips for families? Please do share them.