A little bit of preparation and research will help your next vacation fit into your budget without sacrificing the fun! Let’s take a look at a few practical tips for family vacations on a budget. Here’s how to meet your money spending limits while getting the most out of your vacation.
How To Save On Your Next Vacation: Tips for Family Vacations On A Budget
Research Your Vacation Destination
It’s important to know as much as you can about your family vacation destination. Look at the city’s official website to find information on local events, like upcoming community festivals. That will add a little spice to your trip without burning a hole in your budget. Often you will find coupons for savings around the city as well. Research, make some calls, and do your homework well in advance. Choosing the right area of town can offer big savings. Choosing the free or less expensive attractions can also save you big. Ask friends and family members for advice or ideas if they have been to your destination recently. You may pick up some good ideas.
Consider a Discount Travel Club
If you don’t already have a vacation membership to discount travel clubs like the ones offered by AAA, AutoVantage or AARP, you should consider it. There’s a small upfront fee, but the potential savings for your family vacations on a budget can really be worth it. Be aware, however, that the savings aren’t automatic. You have to make sure to mention your membership and see what deals are available to you. Look online or call ahead to find out how you can save a little more green. Working in advance to do a little more homework can literally save hundreds on the same vacation.
Plan Your Packing
Purchasing your sunscreen, sandals, sunglasses, and toiletries at home and toting them along can save you a bundle. The proprietors of your hotel or vacation hot spot know they can charge extra and that people will pay it. To avoid this, make sure to plan your packing ahead of time. There’s something about vacationing that makes people feel justified in spending 3 or 4 times more for a simple can of pop, even though they could have brought a cooler full of them for less.
One of the biggest expenses people pay while vacationing is for dining. There are plenty of tourist traps that will be happy to charge you double or even triple for your steak or spaghetti dinner. Visiting quaint little restaurants off the beaten path can often be more fun. They can also be less expensive than the larger, more touristy chains. Of course you will want to eat out a few times on your vacation, but by limiting eating out can save you a ton! When you do go out to dinner while on your family vacations on a budget, look for local websites that can tell you if there are special deals, like places where kids eat free.
Staying in a hotel room that features a a fully equipped kitchen can save you bundle over eating out. Being that I am a Residence Inn ambassador, I happen to know that Residence Inn offers spacious suites with a fully equipped kitchen, separate living and sleeping areas, free hot breakfast, free wifi, and laundry facilities- perfect for family vacations. Take advantage of the kitchen and bring a couple of meals with you in a cooler ot stock up at a local grocery store.
Save on Entertainment
Be sure to check out and join other online communities that leverage group buying power like Groupon (affiliate link). Living Social, Google Offers, and Amazon Local are a few that can leverage the buying power of the masses to help you save big on vacation. Groupon also allows you to subscribe to deals that are in remote cities. By doing some research and subscribing weeks in advance, you may save 50% or more on dining and some entertainment, perhaps even doubling the amount of things you can do on the same budget.
You may want to check out an Entertainment book. There are hundreds of pages of coupons in these kinds of books, and you can usually make your money back on your first attraction. Do some research on buying a coupon book like the “Entertainment” book for the particular city where you will be traveling, or split the cost with a friend who lives near that area. Being creative with coupons can go quite a long way in saving money without sacrificing the quality or experience of a nice vacation.
Check with museums to see if they offer a free day or try these tips from Money Magazine to get free admission.
Take Advantage of the Amenities
By now, you can see that a well-planned trip can save you time and money. Do you get a free continental breakfast with your stay? Eat up before heading out. Does your hotel have a pool? Take a day to swim and sit by the poolside to enjoy what is freely available. It can be just as much fun to stay in and relax as it can be to be to go out and about. Besides, aren’t you taking a vacation to get away from the hustle and bustle? Don’t forget to give yourself downtime, as many people come home needing a vacation after their vacation. You will not only feel more relaxed, but it might keep you from making some of those impulse purchases.
All in all, tips for family vacations on a budget are all about being informed, preparing well in advance, and taking advantage of all the discount options available. If you know where to look, you can find discounts on just about everything. I hope you enjoy your vacation and these tips for vacationing on a budget! Share your own savings tips in the comments!