Vacations are important for every family. Although family vacations can be expensive, not being rich is no reason to compromise bonding with your family. Luckily, there are many ways to make sure that you have a great time without breaking the bank. Listed below are some tips for planning a family vacation on a budget that will help keep your expenses low and fun factor high.
Set a budget
First of all, you need to review your credit score so you can come up with a fixed budget. Once you have a budget, you need to create a spending plan to make sure that you will have enough money to cover your vacation and to do the things that you and your family want to do.
Think about the airfare
If you’re trying to decide whether you and your family should drive or fly to your vacation destination, consider the ages of your children. Usually, airlines allow kids below the age of two to fly for free. Regardless of your children’s ages, if you do decide to fly, it is a good idea to schedule your flight during off-peak seasons and to choose time slots during off-peak hours – the airfare will likely be less expensive and you might even get to enjoy a less crowded and quieter flight.
Check carry-on allowances
Another expense that usually takes a toll on a family budget is the cost of having excess baggage. The cost of checking in extra luggage with airlines is becoming more and more expensive, but there are still carriers that allow car seats and strollers to be stowed for free. Also, parents travelling with children can take advantage of the extra carry-on allowed per child in addition to the standard allowance of two.
Avoid eating at airports
Waiting at the airports can make children (and adults) hungry, and airport items are extremely overpriced. To avoid unnecessarily spending money on expensive airport food, make sure that each and every member of your family has eaten a heavy meal before you leave the house for the airport. It is also smart to stock up on snacks and goodies from home so that you do not have to stop at gas stations and rest stops if anyone asks for food.
Leave behind unnecessary items
When travelling with children, you may find yourself packing more than needed. Your children might want to bring their toys, books, gadgets, and so on. However, if you let them take everything they want, chances are high that your combined luggage will end up exceeding the airline’s weight limit, which will require you to pay an expensive fee. Instead of bringing all of your children’s things, if you have a tablet or a laptop, you can make a compromise. You can ask them what games and applications they want installed on the device and allow them to play on it so they will be willing to leave their stuff at home.
Skimp on dinner
When traveling, some kids are distracted by their excitement, which results in rarely finish their meals. If your children are like that, avoid spending money on separate kids’ meals; instead, order entrées with enough food for the whole family to share.
Skip fast food
A lot of people decide on going on a road trip instead of flying so they can save money. If you decide to travel on the road, what you might not notice is the fact that stopping for food and snacks on the way can consume a significant part of your budget. Gas stops are unavoidable, but to save money on food, you can make portable meals at home and bring them with you. If there is really a need to stop for food, it is wiser and more budget-friendly to stop at a grocery store rather than a fast food restaurant or gas station. A lot of grocery stores sell pre-made meals and sandwiches to eat on the go at low prices.
Save on beverages
Pack a reusable water bottle for each member of your family. You can fill the bottles up with water from the water fountain when you arrive at your destination, and you can even take advantage of refills at restaurants. Simply by having your own bottle, you can save up to 10% on every meal.
Find activities on the Internet
Before you decide on a vacation spot, conduct an Internet search for places that offer a lot of fun, free activities. Many cities and popular vacation destinations offer free activities and discounted admission tickets for kids. Sometimes, by simply conducting a Web search, you will even discover restaurants that allow kids to dine for free.
Get cultured for less
Visiting a museum is often a big part of family vacations. Before you decide to spend money on a museum trip, look up the museums in your destination, paying special attention to promotions and entrance fees. Some museums will not require an admission fee, and some will offer free workshops for families with the price of admission.
Vacations are expensive, and they become even more expensive when you travel with children because of the increased costs – from travel expenses to food to activities and more. However, going on vacation is a good way to bond with your family, increase familial relationships, and experience new things together. Although having a tight budget can be a hindrance and might even make family vacations seem impossible, you can greatly increase your chances of having a fun, frugal vacation with your family as long as you follow the budget-friendly family vacation tips mentioned above.