Family Travel Tips On A Budget

Many people assume that they have to max out their credit cards in order to enjoy unforgettable family vacations. In reality, it’s perfectly possible to enjoy time on the road as a family without breaking the bank. Whether traveling overseas or simply heading to a neighboring state, there are plenty of ways to slash a family’s travel budget. A handful of the best ways to spend less while traveling as a family are highlighted below.

Top Money-Saving Travel Tips for On-the-Go Families

  1. Hit the Road – Flying may be fast and convenient, but there’s a lot to be said for driving too. Most notably, it’s considerably cheaper. Even when today’s high fuel costs are taken into consideration, it’s possible to spend a lot less by simply hitting the road. With a reliable vehicle, a family can easily reach many exciting vacation destinations.
  2. Use High-Quality Auto Insurance – It’s important to maintain valid auto insurance at all times. It’s even more important to do so when on the road as a family. Nothing can increase the cost of a family road trip quite like a car accident. Without decent car insurance, a family can be saddled with exorbitant out-of-pocket expenses. By maintaining decent auto insurance, a family will only be responsible for a deductible in the event of an accident. Check your vehicle insurance coverage before heading out–if it’s too high, get a quote.
  3. Travel During the Off Season – To get away from it all without paying a premium, savvy families hit the road during the off season. In addition to paying less for hotel stays and many attractions, a family that travels during the off-season won’t have to contend with as many crowds. Beaches will have more open spaces, and museums won’t be jam-packed with people. It’s a simple way to spend less while on the road.
  4. Invest in City Passes – In many major cities, it’s possible to buy a single pass that provides access to several popular attractions. In New York City, for example, there are passes that provide access to places like the Museum of Modern Art, the Empire State Building and the American Museum of Natural History for dramatically reduced admission prices. Families that plan on visiting several popular attractions during one trip should consider buying these passes.
  5. Do-it-Yourself Tours – Walking tours are nice, but they can be pretty pricey. With a small amount of advance planning, a family can embark on its own tour of a city or neighborhood while still enjoying nearly as many perks. For example, there are smartphone apps that can be used to learn more about specific parts of many cities. Important sights are highlighted on maps, and up-to-date information about various attractions is automatically provided. Apps like these are also available for many museums, and there is always the option of simply looking various things up on mobile search engines as well.
  6. Slash Food Costs – Without being careful, a family can spend far too much on food during a vacation. By being conscientious about what and where it eats, a family can easily stick to its budget and avoid overspending. One great way to do this is by keeping healthy snacks on hands at all times. A well-stocked backpack can be a definite lifesaver. When hunger strikes, people can reach for quick snacks instead of splurging on random food purchases. As far as dining out goes, the best thing to do is to avoid extremely touristy places. A little extra searching may be necessarily, but it is sure to pay off in the long run.
  7. Try a Vacation Rental – Instead of booking two or more hotel rooms, which can really add up, a family might consider booking a vacation rental instead. Doing so provides more space, and it also allows a family to prepare many of its own meals, which also slashes costs.

By planning a few basic things ahead of time and being careful while on the road, a family can easily stick to its budget while still enjoying the vacation of a lifetime. Instead of arriving home with huge credit card bills, a family will return home with many amazing memories.

6 thoughts on “Family Travel Tips On A Budget”

  1. #6 is the easiest variable to slash in my opinion. We usually buy milk and cereal, fruit, and such so we can put it in the hotel fridge and eat breakfast and maybe even lunches there. I think a lot of people just eat out for every meal when they’re on vacation, but I’d rather have more money for the cool sights I want to see!

    • I agree, not to mention that we get sick of eating out at a certain point. Every meal out gives you a little less pleasure, so spread it around and you’ll enjoy them more (as well as save money)

  2. It’s easy to do vacation time when kids are not yet in school, otherwise, it will be hard to find off season getaway. Maybe the best way to cut some expense is to bring some food rather than buy everything from the resort. Also, if staying for a couple of days to a week, it is best to rent a house or room rather than stay in a hotel. This will ensure some great savings. Good post, helpful and informative. Thanks.

    • True. You can pull the kids out of school for a time if that works and if they won’t miss too much. That’s probably not advisable for many though, or to do too often.

  3. City passes are great! We had a trip to San Francisco a few years back and did the City Pass there. This one was cool because it included unlimited rides on the buses and trolleys around the city – no worrying about cabs or parking our car in the very expensive parking garages/streets.

    As for food savings, when my hubby & I last went to Las Vegas we saved a TON of money by splitting meals when we could. American society always gives you a lot of food for one person, and we did not have a fridge in our hotel room, so we did not really want leftovers. Plus, while out and about even if we did have a fridge, we wouldn’t want to run back to our hotel to put leftover food there then go back out. We hate wasting food too. So we split as many meals as we could – we had plenty to eat. We saved so much money on food (almost half our food budget for the trip) that we ended up seeing a few shows that we didn’t originally budget for.

    • That’s awesome. I know some places will charge you for a second plate, but that’s probably still a better deal if you get enough food. I’d probably make sure to leave a tip based on what you would have paid with two meals, because likely the server is doing just as much work.

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