Traveling on a Budget for Families

Loved writing this artcle for Forsyth Family magazine. Trust me, there are ways to travel on a budget with a family, no matter how stressful things get.

Things don’t go as planned; someone gets sick, or the weather doesn’t cooperate. Add in budgeting and all of the trip expenses involved, and your week of R & R might start looking like a Griswold family vacation. To ease your stress and worries, there are ways to take a family trip without breaking your bank account.

  • Start planning your travels by researching travel deals and packages online. Websites and apps for your phone help with comparing flight and hotel prices. It’s always a good idea to keep checking for deals up until the day you leave for the trip. If you find a better price, ask for it.
  • While in the early stages, talk with your children and other family members who are going on the trip and see what they want to do. Making the planning a family event will keep the prices down and the trip stay on budget. Also, it gives you a good sense of what everyone wants to do and where to spend money.
  • Another way to stay on budget is travel during the off-season. Holidays and summer are peak times for traveling and the busiest and most expensive. Take an adventure during Fall or Spring break.
  • If your family is looking to go to amusement parks, museums, or other attractions, it is best to buy your tickets before leaving home. Most of the time, there is a discount for advanced tickets and you get to reserve your family’s spot.
  • Schedule in free time on your vacation. Every minute doesn’t have to be booked with an activity. Leave some space in your planning for touring or going off the beaten path. Be a local for the day and go where the locals go, without spending much money.
  • Take an adventure and be a tourist in your own city for a day or two. Explore new places or surrounding towns. You and your family will be surprised at what you might find right near you.
  • Food can get expensive. A few tips include staying in a room or house where you have a kitchen and refrigerator. Make a trip to the grocery store at your destination or pack food with you to keep in your room. That way your family can eat breakfast before heading out the door and lunch can either be taken with you or you can return during the day. Eat one meal out per day, such as dinner, and save on the others.
  • Look for places where “Kids Eat Free” or “Kids Stay Free.” Most hotels will allow children 12 years or under to stay for free. Likewise with restaurants. In addition, some places will have “Kids Play Free,” “Kids Ski Free,” etc. deals for you to take advantage of. If you aren’t sure the hotel, restaurant, or attraction you are visiting has any of these type of deals, ask! You never know what you are missing (or where you aren’t saving money) if you don’t speak up.
  • Collect moments and things, instead of buying souvenirs. Budget to purchase special souvenirs that the whole family can enjoy, but also budget in time to spend with your family. This will help save money. At the beach, collect seashells. Collect pictures or literature from different attractions. Make it a game with your kids and have them be on the lookout for certain items, such as maps from the visitors’ center. Take it a step further and gather items with a special theme for the trip. More memories are made when you take home special items with a special meaning.

When it comes to a family vacation, you want to make the most of it. However, you don’t have to spend an arm or a leg to have a great time and make memories that last a lifetime.

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