How to Save Money on Family Travel
School’s almost out and families across the country are starting to make their summer travel plans. If you’re itching to get away but are on a tight budget, there are ways that you can save on summer travel. Here are my top 4 tips for how to save money on family travel.
How to Save Money on Family Travel
The biggest chunk of a family vacation budget is, no surprise, transportation. Depending on where you plan to go, you’ll need to make several considerations. Flying during the summer months can be prohibitively expensive and the price of gas might make you want to stay close to home. Do some comparison pricing to see where you can save money. Sign up for fare alerts from your city or travel deals sites such as Travel Zoo. Keep in mind that many airlines have fare sales that sell out quickly - sometimes in an hour or two - so be ready to purchase an amazing deal immediately if you see it.
Look beyond the obvious choice of staying in a hotel and consider other accommodations. Websites like AirBnB allow homeowners to offer their homes or vacation properties to rent. This can save you a lot of money and give you a more comfortable base with a kitchen and other comforts at your disposal. Does your family like to camp? Renting an RV is also an idea. While the initial cost is more than renting a car, you can save significantly in other areas by cooking for yourself and paying small fees to park in campgrounds. If you don’t mind a more rustic experience seek out cabin rentals at campgrounds or along lakesides. You won’t need to have your own camper or tent, but be sure to see what is and isn’t included – like sheets and towels.
Food is always one vacation budget category that can easily spiral out of control with even the best laid plans. Small snack purchases and impulse buys quickly add up. Take some time ahead of your trip to carefully plan each day, making sure to have a good mix of homemade meals and those eaten outside. On the days you know you’ll be busy or tired, make plans ahead of time to dine out at an affordable venue near wherever you will be. For a more low-key day, dine in. If you’re able to have a plan, you’ll be more likely to stick with it. Also, be sure to always carry snacks for the adults and kids to avoid impulse buys. Get everyone involved with planning and preparing so that all the pressure and work doesn’t fall on one person’s shoulders.
Your first stop on any vacation should be to the local tourism office. Many people overlook this resource, but you will be amazed at what you can find. Many attractions, restaurants, and accommodations give the tourism office coupons and even free tickets which they are happy to share with you! If you know there are certain attractions you don’t want to miss, they can give you the inside information about the best times to go as well as other things that are similar that you might like. Remember, their job is to support tourism in the area – they’re there to help you!
How do you like to save money when you are traveling?
Ari Adams is an Atlanta-based blogger who has become the go-to person for money-saving and money-making tips especially appropriate for moms. Ari is a happily married and very busy working mom of two. She understands the need moms have for easy access to discounts on products and events they actually want without wasting their day looking for them. Her blog Saver in the City as well as her e-book Save Money, Savor the Day features money saving tips, tools, and freebies for everyone to enjoy life on a budget.