Though you may be dreaming of a lavish vacation in Tahiti, your bank account may be suggesting a road trip to grandma’s will be the extent of your vacation for the season. How do families combat the expenses of traveling when they are no longer a duo but instead a trio or more? Simple, there are creative and family approved ways you can save on vacation and still enjoy your trip without sinking into debt.
1. Plan for the unexpected
You can quickly zap any budget if you have to continuously run out to grab little things you have forgotten. That pain reliever that costs you a few dollars at home may be triple the price at a resort this alone may have you reaching for a double dose when you get a headache from looking at the cost. Other items to consider, Band-Aids, medications for stomach upset (travel food will do that to you), shampoo (let’s face it, now that there are more than two of you, those cute little bottles don’t go very far). Always pack a small first aid kit too.
2. Budget for the high cost of meals
If you can swing it, stay in a condo or rental home while you are away and plan to have a meal or two there. A simple breakfast of cereal or even cooked eggs and meat at “home” will save you a significant amount. Also, if you will be going to a more expensive restaurant, let your children break the cardinal rule of no snacking before meals and allow them some snacks to fill them up a bit (and you too) before heading to the ultra pricey restaurant.
3. Carry cash
It is much easier to overspend on vacation when you are using a piece of plastic. It adds up so much more quickly that way, however, if you budget with cash, especially using an envelope system, (http://www.daveramsey.com/blog/envelope-system-explained) You may find yourself spending a bit less as you see the large pile of cash dwindling.
4. Travel off season
This is especially easy when your children are not yet school aged. If you do a bit of research into your desired location and plan your travel either the week before or the week after “high season” ends, you will likely cut your accommodations cost by a tremendous percentage. People have been known to save as much as half on that ocean front beach house by just waiting an extra week. It isn’t just the accommodations either; there are many other things you can save on such as rentals (Jet Ski, boats, golf carts, dinner theaters, etc).
5. Stop by the Visitor Center
When you arrive at your destination stop by the local “Visitor’s Center” these are establishments with their finger on the pulse of travel commerce. By visiting one of these locations you can often score coupon books or great advice on free activities that you may have not even given thought to.
However you do it, the family vacations are all about making memories, even the most outlandish, or seemingly catastrophic vacation can turn into a fantastic memory if given enough time, all the better if you can save money while doing it.