Whether you live close to family or far from family…chances are you are going to vacation this year. Either to see family or to go somewhere to relax. It is important to our family to set a budget for our vacations and to not overspend. Here are my 10 tips for getting great family travel deals.
Get Great Family Travel Deals
1) Determine your budget…..and stick to it! You cannot have vacation remorse afterwards if you stick to your goal.
3) Procrastinate. Yes, this is a direct opposite from my number two tip. Perhaps a better term would be “flexible.” Both my husband and my mother-in-law are extreme procrastinators…..to the point of sometimes driving me crazy. Each of them have gotten some fabulous travel deals by waiting until the last minute, much to my dismay. Being flexible with your travel dates may allow you to save some serious money. Businesses want to have full occupancy and often offer big discounts when they are in a pinch.
5) Check out Daily Deal sites. By taking advantage of sites like Groupon you will be able to get more for your money. There are Groupon and other daily deal site specials nearly every day of the week. If you know you are going to a metropolitan area sign up for that area’s email. You never know when there will be a good deal.
6) Use your rewards. If you have a frequent flier or hotel guest in your house you may have a bunch of free points accrued, just waiting for vacation. Also, you may have a credit card that has points on them. Go ahead and use them for your vacation. I will admit, we have signed up for credit cards just for the perks. In fact, using our Marriott rewards are how we plan on “paying” for our lodging at Disney next year.
7) Stay where there is a continental breakfast. Some continental breakfasts are almost restaurant experiences. Be sure you are awake in time to eat the free food that the hotel offers. Don’t think of it as free, think of it as part of the money you are paying to stay there anyway.
8) Pack a snack and/or lunch. By taking or cooler or utilizing a hotel refrigerator you are able to shop at the local grocery stores and purchase healthy foods to eat. Take coupons for the items that you normally purchase, but be open to purchasing new foods or generics.
9) Gate check your child’s car seat. This is a tip I wish I had known when my daughter was an infant. Most airlines allow you to gate check strollers and car seats at no extra cost. Even better, some airlines allow you to check the car seat when you check your baggage without any fees. My girls are getting too big for strollers, but I joke that I will stick one of them in the stroller when we leave from Atlanta because strollers get fast tracked through security and you don’t have to wait in the looooong lines. I love being able to start our vacation in the airport on a happy note immediately.
10) Bring souvenirs from home. While this may feel weird, there is such a high markup on goodies purchased on vacation that you can easily eliminate from your expenses. If you plan ahead you can buy your souvenirs for a fraction of the cost. My list for Disney World next year already includes glow bracelets and necklaces from the dollar store. When we went to the circus I packed our own cotton candy (and saved $7 per girl by doing so). Think outside of the box about things that will make your children happy.
In the end, doesn’t it seem like everyone is the happiest when doing basic things? Some buckets in the sand, bubbles at the lake, or snow balls at the park are often just what we need. Vacations aren’t all about spending money. Rather, vacations are about making memories and getting away. Even if you take a day trip, you are making memories! It doesn’t take a fancy trip to Disney to make families happy. The best thing you can do is to enjoy your time together. Throw your schedule out the window and go with the flow.
That being said, we would love to know how YOU save on your vacations!