Family Vacations should be an exciting time filled with wonderful memories and shared experiences. It should be a time of joy, and not worrying about the financial side of things. To get the most out of your vacation, try some of these money saving tips!
1. Set a Budget and Give Yourself Wiggle Room
-The first thing you’ll want to do when planning a vacation is to set a budget. This should be a budget for everything, not just the travel and lodging expenses. You’ll want to make sure you plan on the cost of meals, gas, and souvenirs. If you max out your budget on the hotel, you’ll stress out every time you go to dinner or have to tip someone.
2. Start Planning Early…and Keep Checking
-For our last vacation, I started planning about 4 months before our travel dates. I kept an eye on airfare and hotels for several weeks before booking anything. I looked for lodging coupon codes on Retailmenot and looked around for seasonal deals. We purchased a travel package when I was convinced the price was at its lowest, about 3 months before our travel dates, but purchased the additional insurance for our trip in case we found a better deal. I’m glad we did! About 6 weeks before our vacation, I repriced the entire package and it was $500 cheaper. So I canceled and rebooked. It was a bit of a hassle, but we saved $500 that would pay for our meals while traveling.
3. Find a Hotel with Free Breakfast and Pack Lunches
-Whenever we travel, we look for hotels that offer complimentary breakfast, then purchase lunch items–such as lunch meat, bread, chips, and water at Costco when we arrive and store them in the room mini fridge. Then we’re only paying for one meal every day. The savings really adds up.
4. Look for Local Coupons and Check Online Reviews
-Before you go, check Groupon or Living Social for any local restaurants or activities you can save on. You can also check Yelp or other review sites for out-of-the-way restaurants that may charge less than touristy areas, and local favorite activities that aren’t overpriced.
5. Consider Souvenirs Carefully
-Souvenirs can really eat away at the budget. And usually, these little trinkets end up broken or misplaced, being little more than wasted money. One of my favorite souvenirs is to take lots of pictures, then create a photo book when we get home. It’s something the kids can look through over and over again, and we can relive the memories without wasting any money.
Finally, Enjoy Your Family Time, No Matter Where You End Up
-The point of a family vacation is to enjoy the time together no matter what your budget is. By planning ahead and giving yourself wiggle room in your budget, you can enjoy your time without worrying about how much you’re spending, since you’ve already planned on the expense. And when you’ve removed the stress, you’re free to create wonderful, lifelong memories.
What is your favorite way to save on vacation? Let me know in the comments!