When you have a family to take care of, going on a vacation might seem like a distant dream. But it’s quite an attainable goal! With a little bit of careful budgeting and planning, you and your family could be on your way to a dream family vacation before you know it.
Just take a look at the tips below to learn more about making this possible.
Save Up Your Miles
And have your kids start saving up their own, too! The more people you have earning free flight miles in your family, the sooner you’ll be able to build up enough to take free flights. You’ll cut down a huge portion of the cost of your trip if you don’t have to worry about shelling out full costs for the tickets to get there.
When making your travel plans, be sure that you’re always keeping an eye out for the best deals. Can you bundle your accommodations and flight to save money? Do it! Is there a cheaper route to take to your destination? Look into it! Check for coupons or discounts to events in your destination of choice, as well. The more you can save, the more money you’ll have to spend on fun things during your vacation.
Make Plans In Advance
The sooner you start booking things, the better. Prices for hotels, airfare, and most other methods of transportation will only continue to rise the closer you get to your intended date of departure. If you want to save as much as possible, try booking at least half a year in advance. Many experts suggest aiming for a year in advance or even earlier for the absolute best deals.
Look For Free Entertainment
Once you get to your intended destination, you don’t have to be dropping money on expensive entertainment. Take a look at the paper or online for local events that are going on. Many of these things like craft fairs, park gatherings, farmers markets and more will have either a very minimal entrance fee or will be entirely free. You’ll be able to capture a unique and fun experience without breaking the bank.
Avoid Baggage Fees
Baggage expenses can add a pretty big tab onto the costs you’re already dealing with. Make sure that you’re avoiding unnecessary fees by packing wisely. Ensure that your luggage fits the TSA standards. If possible, get a scale at home so that you can weigh your bags in advance. That way, there won’t be any unpleasant surprises once you get to the airport and start loading your suitcases up onto the conveyor belt.
Cut Down On Dining Expenses
If you can, try to get a place that has its own kitchen. This will save you quite a bit of money in the long run. Most people don’t realize just how much it costs to eat out for three meals – or more! – a day, every single day, for a week or longer. And when you’re feeding an entire family instead of just one or two people, the expenses can stack up even higher. You don’t have to cut out your nights on the town entirely, but even just being able to make breakfast or lunch in your hotel room will help you save money off of your daily expenses.
Avoid Tourist Traps
These are the areas designed to drain your wallet dry. Prices in tourist trap areas are hiked up as high as possible, with extra fees tacked on left and right. If you want to avoid spending excessively on your knickknacks and memorabilia, go to areas that the locals shop at. You’ll be able to shave off the tourist tax that way, and you’ll probably find more exciting things to boot.
Look At Off-Peak Seasons
Your idea of a perfect vacation may also involve the ideal timing: for example, going to Disney Land in the summer. But did you know that you can save a lot of money by traveling in the off-peak seasons? Since business isn’t as booming during these times, many airlines, hotels, and big attractions will offer discounts to get people more interested in coming. Look at the off-peak seasons for your destination and see what times will be cheapest to travel!
Be Good About Your Budget
Looking into budget tips before you go can really help you out. You’ll need to start getting serious about your budget if you have a big ticket item like a trip coming up. Set a budget and stick to it. Put aside a certain amount of money for a trip savings account and don’t touch it. It helps to set a savings goal, as well. Decide how much money you need at the absolute minimum to be able to enjoy the trip you want to go on. Continue adding to it even after you reach that goal, and the excess money can be used for more fun things.
Budgeting during the vacation itself is also important. Don’t start splurging on expensive dinners and shows just because you can. Try to set a daily limit and don’t go beyond that. It may seem like a lot of hassle, but it’ll keep you from burning through your vacation funds too quickly.
Research Your Expenses
Before you leave, you should have a rough plan for your vacation expenses outlined. Include things like travel, lodging, and food. A budget for possible emergency situations. Try to get a good idea of where you want to go and what activities you’d like to do the most, and then budget those in, too. You don’t need to plan out every single thing you’ll be doing over the course of your vacation, but having a reasonably solid idea will help you save up exactly what you need.
Don't Forget Electronics
Will using your phone cost you roaming charges wherever you’re going? Does the place you’re staying at have any television or Wi-Fi? In this day and age, electronics are a huge part of our daily lives. Make sure that you factor in what you’ll need to bring, what could save you money, and what you should leave at home before you go.
If you give these tips a try, you’ll find yourself saving up money and being better prepared to take a fantastic vacation - and all without having to worry about breaking the bank.