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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.