Vacation Season is Right Around the Corner!
Spring break is just around the corner and just after that is the summer. This is when most families decide to take a vacation. The kids are out of school and it is the best time of the year to travel. However, the cost of going on a family vacation can be quite expensive. For this reason, finding ways to save money on a family vacation can be crucial for most of us on a limited budget.
Finding a way to take a cheap family vacation will take some legwork. You are going to need to do a bit of research in order to find the best deals on hotels, restaurants, and other necessities for your time away. There are several ways to go about your research, but the most important thing to remember in order to save money on a family vacation is flexibility.
Why Flexibility is a Must
Some of the best family vacation spots will be resorts or campgrounds. Many resorts offer all inclusive vacations that can greatly reduce the cost of your trip. Look for online specials to find great savings on some of the best resorts around. Some of the best sites to check out are:
Here’s a nice discount I found from Sandals: Companion Flies Free to ALL Sandals Resorts Destinations!
Places to Stay
There are many options for places to stay no matter where you go. One way to take a cheap family vacation is to visit family that may live far away from you. Visiting family and staying with them can greatly reduce the cost of your vacation. However, this may not be the ideal family vacation that you are looking for.
Another option, which is one that many thrifty families prefer, is cabin, condo or vacation home rentals. These typically have partial to full kitchens, which allows you to save money by giving you the option to cook while on vacation vs. spending a fortune at restaurants. You can find great cabins and vacation homes that offer multiple bedrooms and are located in close proximity to the attractions you and your family are interested in and it is often a lot cheaper than a hotel room that will have you all squeezed into two beds or two rooms! Here are a few great sites to help you locate these types of vacation rentals:
- HomeforExchange (Exchange homes and save on accommodation costs.)
Compare prices of different destinations. You will also want to compare the cost for several different time frames in which you are available to travel. Being flexible with both the time and the place that you travel is the best way to get a great price on your family vacation.
There are always hotels as well and some hotel chains offer free meals included in the price of your stay. Typically this will include breakfast and dinner and you are on your own for lunch. Always check to see what the hotels that you are interested in offer before booking so that you can budget accordingly.
Entertainment – It’s not a vacation without it!
Of course, entertainment should not be overlooked. Did you know that there are several services that offer entertainment options at a discount? Seriously! You can save money on a TON of the hottest spots in the world, like Universal Studios Orlando, Disney World, Sea World and more! Here are a few links to give you some ideas on how much you can save, but there are lots of other great sites out there that specialize in these types of discounts as well. Always check the destination city’s tourist information site to see if they have any sites like this listed and you’ll save a small fortune for a ton of fun.
- NY SkyRide
In addition, don’t forget to take advantage of any free attractions, such as parks, hiking trails or beaches while you and your family are on vacation. These can often be the best part of the trip!
Review Your Budget and Plan, Plan, Plan!
Entertainment, transportation and lodging are going to be the biggest expenses of your trip, but food costs can be very steep as well. Take the time to plan and budget for these things and take every opportunity that you can to save money on vacation. Take advantage of rental car deals, airline discounts, train discounts and cruise discounts whenever you get the opportunity. It is often best to plan six months or more in advance to get the best prices on the latter three, but rental car deals can pop up at any time. The only thing to remember is that if you choose to travel using a rental car, make sure you have unlimited mileage.
If you have the opportunity to rent a condo or vacation home that has a kitchen, you can save a lot on dining. Of course, if you can manage to plan a trip with multiple families (it’s not unheard of for adult siblings or friends to take their families on vacation together) and split a larger rental property, you’ll often save even more money. Not only can you split the lodging costs, but all parties can contribute to the meals, making it a cheaper trip all around. Even better? If you can get a group of 20 or more (generally 4-5 families), you can often snag bigger discounts on entertainment because you’ll qualify for the group discount!
The important thing is to make sure that you stick to your budget so that you can have a fun and cheap family vacation that you’ll all remember for a lifetime. Isn’t that what it’s all about anyway?
Have a favorite site that you like to visit when planning your family vacation? Let us know!
Image Credit: Roger’s Eye