Are you dreaming of a vacation but worried about the cost? You’re not alone. Family travel can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little planning and some insider tips, you can take the trip of a lifetime without breaking the bank.
Here are 10 tips to help you save money on your next family vacation:
1. Travel during the shoulder season
For many people, the summer months are the only time they can take a vacation. Kids are out of school, and adults have a few weeks of vacation time to use. As a result, demand for travel is always highest during the summer. However, this also means that prices are typically higher as well.
If you’re willing to travel during the shoulder season – typically April, May, September, and October – you can often find better deals on flights, hotels, and activities. The weather is usually just as good (if not better) during the shoulder season, and you won’t have to fight the crowds.
2. Do your research
Use sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp to read reviews of hotels, restaurants, and attractions before you book anything. This will help you avoid any surprises later on.
A perfect example is when I planned for our family vacation to Egypt. I remember booking a hotel for our trip, thinking that it was a 4-star property. However, when we arrived, I quickly realized that it was more like a 2-star hotel. The rooms were small and cramped, the furniture was old and worn, and there were no amenities to speak of.
If I had done my research ahead of time, I would have known what to expect and could have saved myself a lot of disappointment. Instead, I ended up booking another hotel once we arrived in Egypt, which cost me an extra $100 per night. Lesson learned: always do your research before bookings hotels!
3. Set a budget and stick to it
Travelling can be a great way to spend time with family and friends, but it can also be a major strain on your budget. Before you start booking anything, sit down with your family and set a travel budget.
Determine how much you’re willing to spend on flights, hotels, food, activities, souvenirs, and more. This will help you avoid overspending and getting into debt.
Once you have a budget, try to stick to it as much as possible. This may mean making some sacrifices, such as eating out less often or staying in cheaper hotels. But in the end, it will be worth it when you return home without any financial worries.
3. Look for package deals.
Anyone who has ever tried to book a vacation knows that the process can be tricky- and expensive.
Airfare, hotels, and car rentals all need to be coordinated, and the costs can quickly add up. However, there is a way to save money on all of these elements: by booking them together as a package.
Sites like Expedia, Priceline, and Kayak offer package deals on airfare, hotels, and car rentals, and many airlines and hotels also have their own package deals available.
The key is to do your research and compare prices before booking anything. Make sure to read the fine print so you know exactly what’s included in the price.
By taking the time to find a great deal on a vacation package, you can end up saving hundreds- or even thousands- of dollars.
4. Sign up for loyalty programs
If you’re a frequent traveller, sign up for loyalty programs with your favourite airlines and hotels. These programs often offer great perks like free upgrades, early check-in, and discounts on future travel.
In addition, many loyalty programs allow you to earn points or miles that can be redeemed for free travel or hotel room.
Loyalty programs are free to join, and they can end up saving you a lot of money on your travel expenses.
5. Use credit card rewards
If you have a credit card that offers rewards, put it to good use when booking your vacation.
Many credit cards offer points or cash back on travel expenses, so you can rack up rewards while paying for your trip. Then, you can use your rewards to offset the cost of your travel or get cash back after you return home.
Just be sure to pay off your credit card balance in full each month to avoid interest charges.
6. Book flights early
It’s a common myth that the best time to book a flight is right when the tickets go on sale. However, this isn’t always the case. Airlines typically release their flight schedules about six months in advance, so it’s usually best to book your flight around that time.
You can also sign up for fare alerts from websites like Kayak or Airfarewatchdog, which will notify you when flight prices drop.
However, don’t book your flight too far in advance. If you book more than six months out, there’s a chance the airline could make changes to its schedule that could affect your travel plans. And, if you need to cancel or change your flight, you may be charged a fee.