Traveling can be expensive, and the larger the party, the higher the toll on your budget. However, the cost of traveling shouldn’t keep you from taking your kids on holiday. There are tons of ways that you can easily cut down on your travel expenses and get more bang for your buck. Here are 9 easy ways to save on your next family holiday. We’ll focus on practical advice anyone can follow.
Travel to Off Season Destinations
Airfare and hotels will be more expensive during the peak season, though this will vary based on the destination. For example, many family-friendly destinations cost more during Christmas break or school breaks.
Many other vacation destinations are more expensive during peak seasons like the summer, but you could find cheaper rates during the spring and fall. Of course, parents with children may be limited in their ability to travel off-season since your child can’t miss school except during exceptional circumstances. However, there are still great deals to be had on many destinations during half term breaks.
If you book in advance, you’ll pay less for your lodging than if you book only a few weeks before you go. Many hotel chains offer very low prices early in the year.
This doesn’t eliminate the potential benefits of looking for last minute deals, since you could find a cheaper rate this way. However, you may not find a last-minute deal, or it may not be what you want; this is why we don’t want to rely on last minute bookings to save on your next family holiday. Conversely, if you’re flexible on your destination, it could be the way to go.
Another thing you could do is plan your logistics before you leave home. If you pack a spare bed such as a child’s ‘readybed’, you may be able to have your entire family sleep in one room instead of having to pay for a family room. This also helps when there aren’t family rooms available. Ask before you bring the spare beds, since not all accommodation will let you do this. Some hotels may simply charge you more for the extra breakfasts.
Compare Accommodations Based on the Total Package
You really need to compare accommodation before you book your reservations. One option is booking an all-inclusive resort that provides food and entertainment as well as your lodging. Another is looking for hotels that offer free breakfasts or let kids eat free; accommodation that costs the same but shaves some money off your food budget is probably the better choice, if everything else is the same.
Plan Free Activities
Travelling to another city does not mean you have to pay for activities when you get there. Look for cities that offer a lot of free activities like parks and museums. Visit the beach or historic sites that don’t cost you much. This doesn’t mean you can’t see attractions that charge admission. In fact, prioritising free and cheap activities may free up more money for other events, or you’ll have more money for souvenirs and food.
An affordable way to go on holiday is to go camping. It lets your family get back to nature, and children enjoy the freedom it brings. Pitching a tent on a farm is incredibly cheap, while those who want more facilities can pay a little more for a campsite with amenities.
You could find campsites with a heated toilet, shower block and electricity for less than you would pay for a hotel. Another option is to rent a caravan or recreational vehicle. You can camp inside the vehicle and drive it from place to place. If you decide to buy a caravan, you may have to pay for storage if you aren’t using it full time.
Save on Food Costs
One way to save on food is to pack snacks. This lets you save money over buying snacks at the venue or eating out. Pick snacks that don’t require refrigeration and can survive a trip like trail mix, crackers or breakfast bars.
Make your own breakfasts and pack lunches instead of eating on the go. Conversely, the hotel that provides free breakfast to residents may be worth paying a little bit more for versus trying to provide your own breakfast.
Have a Souvenir Budget
A good way to save money when travelling with children is to have a budget for souvenirs. If your children understand that there is a limit to what they can buy, they’ll be more selective in what they buy and won’t demand you buy nearly everything in the shop.
You can also remind your children of the souvenir budget as you visit locations so that they don’t blow all their money on the first one or two stops. You could also suggest that your child collects keepsakes instead of purchasing souvenirs. For example, your child could take sea shells from the beach instead of buying a keepsake. Or your child could pick up a branded item from the hotel. Just be considerate. Taking a bar of soap is probably fine, but the hotel will mind if you take all the towels.
Be Flexible on Choice of Airport
You could save a lot of money by being flexible on your choice of airport. You could save money by arriving at an airport other than the big names, and you may save significant money by staying in an airport hotel.
If you were thinking of visiting Birmingham for instance, look for Birmingham airport hotels with parking on a site like birminghamparking.com before you leave. You could save quite a bit of money if you’re staying overnight at an airport hotel, since you could choose from many more flights. There are other benefits of being flexible with regard to which airport you choose, since you could find cheaper hotels affiliated with a less-congested airport.
Staying in a hotel by the airport is always a wise decision. There’s far less hassle trying to catch your flight, since you’re staying so close to the airport. If you arrive at the airport and then stay at a local hotel, you’ll be able to crash at the hotel almost immediately and may not need to arrange transportation from the airport to the hotel. Just show up and get a full night’s sleep. Then your family is ready to hit the destination’s attractions rested the next morning. If you arrive at the airport closest to your final destination, you could save on total travel time, too.
Visit an Emerging Destination
Emerging destinations are locations that are starting to develop a tourism industry. Because they aren’t popular yet, your money will go farther in places like Eastern Europe and North Africa. And they typically don’t cost a lot of money to reach.
Cities like Sofia in Bulgaria and Krakow are among some of the most affordable and have tons of history and beautiful sites to visit. Just take your time to do your research.
With a little advance planning, you’ll be able to get the most out of your family holiday without breaking the bank. Flexibility in accommodation, activities, and travel arrangements could yield significant savings. Involve the whole family in the holiday planning process and see what you come up with.