The holidays are fast-approaching and for you, that might mean a family trip to visit your loved ones. Travelling can be quite expensive and no matter how you plan, things always seem to crop up that cost more than expected.
Whether you’ve had something on your calendar for months or you’ve just started planning, there are always ways to save. Use these ten tips to reduce the money you spend on your next family vacation.
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10 Ways To Save On A Family Trip
1. Create A Budget
Having a budget helps you avoid overextending yourself on your family trip. Before you book your vacation, sit down and decide how much you will spend per person on everything—travel, food, entertainment, etc.
Use this free travel budget worksheet to estimate how much your plans will cost.
2. Don’t Travel
After you have completed the assessment of how much travelling will cost, decide whether you can afford it or not.
The easiest way to save on a family trip is not to go at all. It’s not the most fun solution but it is what it is. When you are travelling, unexpected costs will arise, especially when taking kids along.
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Do not go into debt to accommodate your travel plans. It’s just not worth it when you factor in the stress of paying it off.
If money is tight, consider a stay-cation instead of a trip out-of-town or overseas. Take advantage of discounts offered to locals for attractions in your area or use free services like Ebates to get cash back on any purchases you make.
To find out more about Ebates, read 5 Ways To Save Money While Shopping In Your Pyjamas.
3. Avoid Peak Times
If you can afford your travel plans, then great! Let’s move onto other ways to save you money.
Be aware that it always costs more to travel at peak travel times of the year e.g. when school is out during summer and around special holidays like Christmas. Airlines and hotels capitalize on these occasions and there are far less deals to be found.
Avoid taking your trip around peak travel times and try to book flights mid-week when prices are often cheaper.
4. Find the Best Deal
There are many travel websites e.g. Priceline that allow you to compare prices and find the best deal for airfare, hotel, cars and even cruises. Use one of these websites when booking your family trip as they can help you to save on travel.
On some websites, you can even sign up to receive alerts if the price of your intended trip drops. This is a great feature if you are not ready to purchase right away.
A cruise is a lovely alternative for wrapping travel, food, entertainment and accommodation together with a big bow. You get to visit several locations within a short space of time and it’s a whole lot of fun. Taking a cruise can be a great way to get a big bang for your buck.
5. Drive If You Can
If you won’t be leaving the country, driving to your destination can be a good option when you want to save on a family trip. You’ll eliminate airfare and you can take as much luggage as can fit into your vehicle. (No weight or size restrictions, yay!)
A road trip might take longer than a flight but it can be quite fun. Plan stops at various attractions along the way to break up the monotony of the car ride. Take plenty of snacks, water and activities like dvds or books especially if you have young children.
6. Stay With Family Or Friends
If you are going to visit family or friends, see if they have space available in their homes to accommodate your entire family. This is a great way to save on pricey hotels.
Offer your host compensation for staying in their homes. This will help to offset the cost of water, electricity and extra groceries that you will use during your stay.
While there, be considerate and helpful. Make your bed, help to cook or at the very least, clean up after yourself. Remember, this is someone’s home and not a hotel with a cleaning service.
7. Compare Hotel Amenities
If staying with family or friends is not an option, you will need to book a hotel. Hotel amenities can vary quite a bit so it’s important to know what you are getting for your money.
When selecting a hotel, compare the ones in your preferred area and price range to see which offer the best amenities for less. Does your hotel include a pool, free shuttle service or breakfast?
If your trip will last longer than a week, you may also want to have laundry services available at your hotel. Doing a load of laundry can help you to cut down on the amount of clothing you need to pack.
8. Bring Food
Purchasing meals from restaurants or hotels can add up fast. It’s much more economical to get food from a grocery store and make your own meals.
Items like cereal, crackers, canned meats with an easy-open tab, fruit and juices are great for breakfast. Purchase bread, sliced deli meats and cheese to store in your room fridge and make sandwiches for lunch or even dinner. If you don’t have a fridge available, you can find packaged meals and pre-cooked meats, all ready-to-eat.
Make sure to take reusable water bottles along with you on your family trip. Fill them up before you venture out to ward off dehydration during the day. This is one way to make sure your family stays healthy while travelling.
9. Pack Appropriately
One sure-fire way to avoid unexpected costs while travelling is to pack everything you need. Create a packing list for every person going on the trip and start packing early so you’re less likely to forget items.
Be aware of the weather of your destination. Just because a place is known for being hot and sunny doesn’t mean it is year round. You don’t want to arrive in shorts and a tank top to find it’s freezing outside. If that happens, you’ll have to go buy appropriate clothing that suits the temperature. This is money you could have avoided spending had you planned accordingly.
10. Save On Entertainment
Of course, you’ll want to go out while you’re on your family trip. What’s the point of travelling if you don’t have fun?
Planning goes a long way to help you save on entertainment. Book tours with tour guides and ask for group discounts. Even if your family isn’t large enough, you may be able to join another group to cut down on costs.
As with travel, visiting attractions during off-peak times will be a lot cheaper so book then, if you can.
A family trip is a great way to spend the holidays. You get to create memories with loved ones in a new and exciting location. Just plan wisely and use these ten tips to save money on your holiday travel plans.