Traveling As a Family Can Be a Challenge
Let’s face it: Traveling as a family is difficult. Often, the bigger the family and the younger the kids, the more challenging it is. In any case, anybody who has ever planned a trip and/or traveled with their family will likely attest that it is not an easy process. Coordinating schedules, making sure everybody has packed appropriately, keeping an eye on everybody to make sure they’re safe, and planning activities that everybody will enjoy are only a few of the tasks that are involved in planning a family trip.
There is one more task that is almost always one of the most difficult ones: Making a budget for the trip. The cost of the trip depends on a variety of factors, such as how many people are going, where you’re going, and what you plan on doing while you’re there, but in any case, you should know that your family trip will be a costly endeavor. For many people, the cost of traveling is what decides when and where the trip happens, as well as if it happens at all.
You Can Travel on a Budget as a Family
But here’s the good news: It is totally possible to travel with your family on a small budget. You can get the best of both worlds if you take advantage of a few simple tricks that will keep your finances to a minimum and the good times to a maximum. Here’s everything you need to know to take a family vacation on a budget.
- Travel during the off-season. Every travel destination has an “on-season” when it is a popular destination and an “off-season” when fewer people are traveling there. When you go during the off-season, every aspect of the trip—from airfare to hotels and tourist attractions—will be significantly cheaper. This way, you get the same experience for a lower price. And there won’t be as much of a crowd, either!
- Save money on food. When you’ve arrived at your destination, food will be one of your biggest expenses. There are, however, a few ways to drastically reduce how much you spend on food, which will save you a pretty penny.
- Rent a hotel with free breakfast. This way, you’ll eat one meal for free, you can pack something light or get a quick snack for lunch, and you’ll only pay for a large family dinner.
- Use grocery stores. Eating out, while a fun cultural experience, is always more expensive than visiting a grocery store and getting all of the ingredients you need for an at-home (or, in this case, at-hotel) meal and snacks for the day.
- Avoid hotels. While not always the case, vacation rentals are usually cheaper than hotels. Of course, you’ll probably miss out on the benefits that hotels offer, such as room service, free breakfast, and swimming pools, but you’ll save some money and still have a great time.
- Travel with another family. If you’re planning a weekend getaway or any other trip, if you can get another family to tag along, you’ll be able to split the cost of food and lodging. This way, you’ll save money and you’ll have more children to entertain yours. That’s a win/win!
- Avoid shopping too much. Of course, shopping is often part of the vacation experience, but it is also one of the fastest and easiest ways to break a budget. Try to stay away from gift shops and shopping centers to avoid random spending and maybe decide on a date and time that you will dedicate to shopping.
- Ask the locals. The locals will know better than anybody where the best deals are. Whether you’re looking for a delicious local restaurant, fun tourist activity, or a great place to shop, someone who is native to and/or familiar with the area will be able to point you in the right direction.
- Take advantage of free attractions. No matter where you go, there will be plenty of activities that will be fun and free. Usually, these activities will be outdoors, but that’s a good thing more often than not. Whether you’re hiking, biking, or driving around to see the scenery, those free activities can literally be a priceless memory.