Life can be chaotic—from putting in late hours at the office to juggling after-school activities for the kids, there’s never a shortage of things to check off on the to-do list. And while everyone’s a little guilty of losing track of the days and falling into routine, it can be a nice boost of motivation to have something to look forward to together as a family. So, what better way to cross off those bucket list trips you’ve been pushing aside than to treat the family with a budget-friendly vacation?
Planning a trip for the whole family can pull you in a million directions but budgeting your vacation should be of top priority. With the average vacation costing $1,145 per person, your destination, accommodations, places to eat and sights to see are all things to consider in your budget. With a few small changes, you can still indulge on a memorable vacation without the dent in your wallet. Here are a few pointers to consider next time you embark on your next family adventure.
Pick Your Priorities
What tops your family’s experience when it comes to vacations? Is it dabbling in unique, cultural foods or diving into an adrenaline-rushing excursion? Maybe you value the convenient location of your stay or the level of comfort your accommodations has to offer. Prioritize one preference that your family values the most, and budget the rest of your vacation accordingly. You’ll find that splurging on your must-have could be a make or break in the experience of your whole trip.
Travel with Snacks
Before you catch yourself at the hotel lobby checkout line with a $10 snack in hand, prepare your family for those inevitable stomach growls with easy and on-the-go snacks that will hold the kids over until the next meal. Avoiding miscellaneous food expenses can not only save you hundreds of dollars during your trip but it can also save you the stress of feeding a hungry crew during inconvenient times.
Earn Travel Rewards with a Credit Card
Don’t let money come between you and your dream family vacation. Start earning points with a travel card and offset the high prices of flights or hotel bookings. Travel reward cards allow you to easily earn points with everyday purchases in exchange for discounts on everything from transportation to accommodations. Plus, many travel cards offer a sign-up bonus—some as high as 60,000 points, which can be enough to afford a free round trip to Europe!
Travel During the Off Season
Planning the right time for your family vacation can be one of the biggest challenges itself. While most families plan their trips during the long summer break, a smart family plans around this busy travel season. Peak season for your destination only means an influx in prices, heavier crowds and longer wait times. Travel during off season for a more affordable getaway and less hustle and bustle, so you can enjoy the views without the rush.
Take Up Public Transportation
What better way to get acquainted with your destination than by learning the routes of the public transportation system? This alternative to renting a car can save you hundreds during your stay and offers a new perspective of your temporary home. Plus, this can be a great opportunity to teach the kids how subways, buses and train systems operate. There’s no better way to get to the full experience of your destination than making your way around like a local.
Never Pass up Free
Not everything comes with a price tag—in fact, sometimes the best experiences are the ones that are free. From famous parks to free museums, every destination has something to offer that doesn’t touch your budget any more than the small cost of transportation it takes to get there. With a little research during your planning stages, you could plan an entire day of freebies that the whole family can enjoy.
Above All, Do Your Research
There’s no better money saver like being prepared. Family vacations are a long-term project, not a book-and-go deal. Travel blogs, booking websites and even your own social media following are some of the best resources to get guidance on how to build your vacation itinerary, including where to go, what to eat, and most importantly, how to save money. So, next time the travel bug is itching, treat it with a budget-friendly family vacation—and be sure to support it with a solid budget and a few money-saving alternatives.