Cheap family vacations take some preparation. Shop ahead for travel deals, plan and pack carefully, and budget well to save money on vacations.
Save money on travel and make family vacations a source of fun and fond memories, not a cause of financial stress. Following are tips for saving money on family trips.
How to Save Money on Vacations
Explore All Avenues for Hotel Deals
Don’t settle for one travel website’s price on a hotel, check out Kayak.com, Expedia.com, Travelocity.com and the hotel’s own website for the best reservation deals.
Also, perform an Internet search on any major hotel before making reservations. Numerous websites offer frank user reviews of individual hotels.
Amenities are important: families can save big on dining expenses when their hotel room includes a refrigerator and a free breakfast is included.
Save Money with Vacation Rentals
For a stay in a big city or hot vacation spot that lasts over a week, consider renting an apartment or house. Visit Flipkey.com, Homeaway.com and VRBO.com and search for rentals throughout the world.
Rentals most often come with fully equipped kitchens, allowing families to save money on pricey restaurant meals.
Pack a Travel Medicine Bag
When a child has a fever or a parent needs a band-aid, having medicine and first aid supplies on hand will save travelers from paying sky-high fees buying these items in a hotel or resort store.
Find Restaurant and Attraction Coupons in Advance
The Entertainment.com site sells coupon books for nearly any big city or tourist location. Get one of these books before a trip and plan to take advantage of 2-for-1 deals and other discounts at restaurants and attractions.
Pack Food and Water for the Trip
Eating at new restaurants and trying different foods is one of the true joys of travel, but eating out for three meals a day adds to waistlines while costing a pretty penny.
Eat cereal and oatmeal for breakfast in the hotel room. Keep nuts, crackers, granola bars and other healthy snacks on hand during car trips and in hotels.
Always carry a water bottle for each family member. A small one fits in a purse or back pack and can be refilled quickly at a drinking fountain.
Check Zoo, Science Center, and Children’s Museums Reciprocal Memberships
Families who are members of a local children’s museum, zoo, or science center in the U.S. often receive free or discounted memberships at other zoos across the country. Check out the home institution’s website for more information.
Budget Ahead for Souvenirs
Kids can’t resist the call of kitschy items to take home. Keep them in line with a predetermined allotment for souvenir purchases.
Careful price comparisons should replace impulse buying when kids know they only have limited cash available.
Consider Camping, Park Cabin Rentals
Even near large cities, state and county parks and private campgrounds offer cheap digs for vacationers. Visit the websites of counties surrounding large metropolitan areas to find some surprisingly affordable camping options.
KOA Kampgrounds of America offer private campgrounds, some with cabins and lodges, throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Consider non-traditional accommodations and research, plan, and pack well for a fun, frugal family vacation.
Hopefully these ideas and tips will help you save money on vacation!
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