Ways to Keep Family Vacations Affordable

family vacations affordable

Planning a family vacation that won’t kill your budget can be very difficult, especially if you have a large family. Does that mean that you should simply stay home all the time? Nope. It just means that you need to plan fun family vacations that you can afford.

How to Keep Family Vacations Affordable

Travel During Low Season

Christmas holidays and spring break are some of the most expensive times of the year to travel if you want to fly and stay in a hotel. When looking for affordable family vacations consider choosing another time of the year when prices will be lower. It may mean taking your kids out of school for a week. But for the money you save, it may be well worth it.

Drive or Take the Train

The more family members you have the more your trip will obviously cost if you want to fly to your destination. An affordable, yet fun alternative may be to drive or to take a train. Driving a long distance may get frustrating, but your kids may really enjoy taking a train, if it is an option. In fact, the Mississippi Gulf Coast is a great option for those that prefer to travel via train or car.

Travel During the Week

The price of hotel rooms sky rocket on Friday and Saturday nights. The same room that may cost you $100 per night during the week will go for 3 or 4 hundred dollars on the weekend.

If you plan to stay in a hotel, consider leaving for your vacation on Monday morning and returning on Friday. That way you can take advantage of the lower rates.

Book a Condo or a Hotel Room with a Kitchen

Dining out can quickly eat up a good junk of your travel budget.

If at all possible, book a condo or a hotel room with a kitchen for your vacation. This eliminates dining out all the time. Choose one meal a day for dining out and make other meals in your kitchen. Nothing extravagant. Toast, cereal and coffee for breakfast and sandwiches for lunch. Buy sodas and snacks at a local convenience store instead of the hotel.

Look for Kids Menus and Kids Eat Free

Are you traveling with a number of kids under the age of 13? Do some research online before you leave for your trip. Search for family friendly restaurants that will be close to your vacation spot and check their websites to see if they offer a kids menu or a kids eat free at some time during the day.

Choose Activities Wisely

Instead of visiting every amusement park, zoo or aquarium during your vacation, choose to only visit one or two this time. And the ones you do not visit this time you can visit next time. It gives your kids something to look forward to for next year’s family vacation.

Limit the Souvenir Shopping

I remember my first big vacation with my parents. We bought way too many souvenirs and most of them sat around the house for years collecting dust. Instead of doing that, talk to your family about only buying key items that you will really enjoy. It is always nice to have a token item from your vacation as a keepsake, but when you overdo it you tend to appreciate it less.

Do you look for ways to save money when traveling? Please share a tip in the comments.


    • CarolB

      CarolB 10/11/2013 1:05 p.m. #

      Great tips Sicorra! On the souvenir shopping comment - to keep my kids "in line" I let them have a pre-set amount of money to spend on souvenirs. When it's gone, it's gone. No more "mommy bank" for them. It's worked pretty well for us. No more begging for stuff at the gift shop. I'm not a souvenir shopper so I love that I'm not dragging home more stuff than I went on vacation with.

      Another budget tip I do is I search 2-3 different destination possibilities, and choose the one that's less. I've found some pretty good bargains this way. I usually track several options, and as soon as one drops to a price I like, that's the one I book. But this only works if you are flexible - which is one key to saving money on travel.

      • Sicorra

        Sicorra 10/12/2013 4:33 p.m. #

        Carol, you guys travel a lot so having a pre-set amount of money for souvenirs is very smart.

        And I really like your idea of scouting out the cost of 3 different places. So often we get our hearts set on a certain location and end up spending whatever it takes to do the trip.

    • Krista

      Krista 11/29/2013 6:26 p.m. #

      I also suggest, if you're flying, to fly on Tuesdays and Saturdays. That may not match up exactly with the best rates in a hotel but my aunt who's a travel agent says Tuesdays and Saturdays are usually the cheapest days to fly. Thank for the post!

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