While traveling, it is fairly easy for you to overspend and forget about your budget completely – because it’s a vacation after all, right? Honestly speaking, when you take a break from the real world, money can actually be the last thing you want to be worried about, which may lead to a bit of overspending. However, it is vital for you to consider what might happen if you come back home to find yourself with an empty walled and end up being completely drowned in debt. After all, you took that holiday to relax and de-stress, right?
There’s no denying the fact that things can get extremely expensive when you travel with family. But there is no need whatsoever for you to break the bank just to take a bit of time away with your kids. There are many different ways for families to avoid spending a fortune while traveling, and you should definitely learn about them to be able to save money on the move. Paying for your own travel can be expensive, but once you add kids to the equation, there’s a whole new set of expenses for you to worry about. Here’s how you can have an amazing family vacation without having to dread your next credit card bill:
6 Tip # : Don’t travel during school holidays and book off peak
Heard of supply and demand? It works here too. When most people are off work and on holiday, the prices are definitely going to rise. When you travel during school holidays, there is a good chance that you are going to pay double for everything. In order to avoid having to pay all those additional costs, it is highly recommended for you to avoid school holidays. Also, it is best for you to travel off peak. This means traveling to a certain destination while it is ‘low season’ for that particular destination. The best part about traveling off season is that hotels are often heavily discounted during this time. However, you need to be a bit careful considering that at times tourist attractions also shut down during this season.
Generally speaking, travel costs and air fare are fairly low during months when children are in school as people don’t usually travel during this time of the year. To cut your airfare costs even more, you should travel during off-peak days of the week like Tuesday through Thursday and at times even Saturdays. Also, you should buy your tickets at least two weeks in advance and avoid peak days like Monday, Friday and Sunday.
Consider shopping for your tickets online
A majority of airlines these days offer their ‘lowest available fares’ to customers to purchase their tickets online. To benefit from this offer, you should sign up for e-mail alerts and last minute specials from airlines. If you want, you can also set up an alert on travel sites through which you will receive notifications when airfare for a particular destination decreases by a specific dollar amount.
5 Tip # : Travel when your kids are little
When your kids grow up, you will have to pay an adult fare for them when traveling by air. For this reason, it is highly recommended for you to travel when your kids are little so as to avoid having to pay the adult fare for them. For most airlines, domestic fares tend to be free for children under the age of two. When it comes to international flights, you just have to pay a fraction of an adult. Also, if you plan on going on a trip that includes taking a few different flights, then it is best for you to consider flying before your child turns two. While you’re at it, don’t be scared of traveling with an infant – it really isn’t hard at all.
If it is possible, you should allow your kids a few days off of school around the breaks as this can have a significant impact over airfare. Just flying Wednesday to Wednesday or Tuesday to Tuesday has the potential to save a family of four hundreds of dollars in airfare during spring and winter breaks. You should also book your flights as early as possible to be able to save money on airfare. Yes, you can get a HUGE discount by just booking your flight ahead of time. So if you want to travel, it is best for you to decide where you want to go and get your flight reserved as soon as possible.
When travelling with your family, it is highly recommended for you to plan things out in advance. This is because planning in advance will help you take advantage of any flight sales that might come up, thereby making it possible for you to save a good deal of money.
4 Make a budget and follow it
If you’re finding it hard to afford a vacation right now, then you should consider adding a ‘for travel’ expense in your monthly budget. Believe it or not but this is going to go a long way in helping you save for your next big travel without having to get into debt by borrowing money from others or taking out a loan.
Now the one thing that you need to bear in mind is that this whole ‘follow a budget’ routine is not only going to help you save money at home so you can travel later, it will also help you while you travel. The best part about it is that it can assist in lessening the expenses that you could make as you enjoy the tourist attractions at your chosen destination. With a budget in mind, you will also refrain from making impulse purchases that may totally upset your travel budget plan.
If you are visiting a certain destination for the first time, there is a good chance that you’ll keep telling yourself and your family things like, “Oh alright, it’s our first time here – we’ll remember it forever”. Phrases like these are going to come up in your mind each time you or a family member becomes hesitant about making a purchasing. This way, your vacation is definitely going to be memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. This is because you will end up in debt for sure with all that impulse buying. In order to avoid such a situation, it is highly recommended for you to want determine the amount of money you are willing to spend on your vacation and then make your further decisions about conveniences and lodging based on your budget.
A little tip
In case you are interested in engaging in costly activities, it is best for you to choose a less luxurious place to stay. However, if you don’t want to stay at a budget hotel, then you should cut back on your expenses.
3 Choose the same hotel
It is possible to save up a good deal of money by staying at the same hotel each time you travel to a certain destination with your family. If you visit the same destination every other year, you can easily become acquainted with the reservations personnel and managers. When you get to booking your room, you should mention that you’ve stayed at the hotel previously. Hotels want to have you as a return customer – a repeat business – and may just offer you a better rate, or maybe even an upgraded room.
Also, if you can’t afford a hotel, it is best for you to consider alternatives to hotels. Most vacation destinations these days offer a variety of lodging options for tourists to choose from. These include options like inexpensive hostels that offer several conveniences that rival budget hotels. if you want to head out on an extended period of time, then you should plan a group vacation and get a furnished vacation home rental. This way you will be able to save a fair amount of money that you can spend on your kids during the vacation.
House swapping may work too
If you have an adventurous family, then you may consider house swapping. This is a fairly popular option in which you can search locations online and then ‘swap’ your house with someone else for the duration of your vacation. Honestly speaking, this is going to go a long way in helping you save quite a bit of money that cab be better spent elsewhere during your vacation.
2 Pack smart
Your kids are definitely going to get hungry between meals, but buying snacks every now and then when you are out and about is definitely going to increase your expenses. For this reason, you should consider keeping filling snacks on hand. This includes things like granola bars, dried fruit or nuts that won’t go bad or make a mess while you travel. You can easily carry snacks or other inexpensive food for your kids to have while you’re sightseeing in a large purse or a backpack.
Apart from that, you should also carry a reusable water bottle to be able to save money on drinks and beverages. There are plenty of reusable water bottles available these days with built-in filters that are meant for travellers. Also, for a bit of your caffeine fix, you should get a thermos and fill it up with coffee at your hotel in the morning before leaving from there. In case you are driving to your destination, you should also pace a portable grill and a cooler – and don’t forget to save leftovers. To save them properly, just get yourself Tupperware or plastic baggies.
Benefit from your hotel
When the hotel you’re staying at offers free breakfast, make sure that you eat smart. To avoiding getting hour an hour later, you should avoid sugary cereal for a filling combination of fruits, protein, and vegetables. Also, before you leave for the day, look for water, granola or fresh fruit in the fitness center and healthy snack at the spa together with coffee in the business center or lobby.
6. Pack smart 2
When it comes to packing for kids, less is always more. However, bear in mind that there’s more to it than that. Before packing, you should learn about the best travel-friendly products that can assist you in saving money while traveling with kids. For instance, hiring a car seat with a rental car can easily cost you an extra $5-$10 per day. Instead, it would be better for you to carry an inflatable car seat with you to be able to avoid these exuberant fees. Apart from that, you need to make sure that your suitcase matches the standard carry-on size so as to avoid having to pay for a checked-bag fee. Remember, your kids will get to have carry-ons too and considering that they will likely use less room than you, make sure that you use that extra space for things that may not fit into your own luggage.
Although you may have to look up the rules at the amusement and theme parks that you wish to visit, try to stock up on essentials from your hotel or vacation room on your days out. For instance, consider taking a refillable water bottle so as to avoid buying water. Also, bring sunscreen with you from home because sunscreen prices tend to go up in theme parks and on islands.
Give your kids options
If possible, it is recommended for you to pack lunch for your family every day. However, make sure that you offer several options to them. Don’t just give your kids peanut butter and jelly every day. Give them a bit of variety and things will just be fine – and you’ll be able to save money too.
1 Get the best seats for free
In case you are traveling with a lap infant, make sure that you get in touch with the airline after purchasing your tickets. On the phone, ask them for a bassinet seat for you and your infant. Although all flights don’t offer this facility, it isn’t going to hurt you to ask. In case you get a bassinet seat, you will get to sit at a bulkhead with lots of extra legroom and a crib for your baby is going to be attached to the bulkhead in front of you.
Also, when traveling with kids, you should check a car seat for use at your destination too. However, you should find out from the airline first if the checked car seat is free. Although the airline may offer you a courtesy bag for the car seat, you should use a car seat travel bag in case they don’t. Irrespective of the type of bag you use, just stuff most of your belongings in with the car seat.
You should get a free luggage cart too
Most airports offer free luggage carts, but not all. In case you are traveling with children, getting around your kids and your carry-ons can be extremely hard. So instead of paying extra money at each airport for a cart, it is best for you to use your kids’ stroller to good use. You can hold your infant in your arms and stack a few of those carry-ons on the stroller to save money. When traveling, just make yourself believe that strollers are not for your kids – they’re for your luggage!