This is a guest post by Rachel O’Conner in collaboration with MJV media
Remember the good old days of traveling solo or with significant others? It felt like traveling on a budget was easy, but suddenly you’re spending thousands on theme park admission fees for five…
Having kids might seem like your holidays have turned into money drains, but that doesn’t have to be the case! For starters, keep in mind that road trips as a family are much cheaper than flying, so investing in a quality pre-owned SUV will save you money on family holidays in the long run as road trips are a far more affordable means of exploring as a family. Finding a reliable ride is especially important when you’re driving with children.
However, getting to your destination is just one avenue for saving…
Here are a few more ways to save when you’re traveling with the whole family
Tips for an Affordable Family Holiday
Travel during the offseason.
Many destinations have off-seasons where hotels and experiences are much more affordable. Why are they “off?” It could be several reasons, but a big one is the weather. Some travelers prefer to avoid rainy seasons, but that means there will be fewer tourists, shorter lines, and more space to yourself.
Check for discounts.
Discounts abound for everything from car rentals to hotels and experiences. You might not even realize that your company or an organization you belong to offers discount deals. Start scouring the options and remember that many organizations and companies have their own internal sites that feature deals. And don’t forget to ask – you might be surprised to find some places will answer with a “Yes!”
Make the most of your children’s ages.
You can often get discount prices based on age, and the younger the child, the steeper the discount. Take a look at adventures that are on your wish list and see which ones are kid-friendly—and which ones might offer big deals for wee ones. Although driving is usually the cheapest option, don’t forget that kids aged two and under can fly for free.
Set a daily cash limit.
Spending on cards is easy, but when you spend cash, you’re hyper-aware of where that money is going. When on vacation, set a reasonable daily cash limit and stick to it. This will force you to get creative while getting the whole family involved. Instead of a costly dinner out, head to a local grocery store and pack a picnic. Savings are everywhere when you are aware of spending out cash rather than reaching for a card to swipe for all of your needs.
Stick close to home.
A family holiday doesn’t necessarily mean going far from home. Many people don’t explore the vast destinations nearby. Think of your hometown or a nearby city like a tourist. What are the top sights, and when is the last time you saw them? You’ll save money not only on traveling, but also on hotels! A staycation in your home town or a neighbouring one can be a great way to spend a budget-friendly holiday.
Consider free museum days.
Many cities offer free museum days, and this is a great way to experience hot tourist destinations without spending a dime. Just steer clear of the gift shops that are designed to catch the eyes of kids in particular. Ask about museum children’s programs, and you might find the perfect guided activity just for little ones.
Download the right apps.
There are so many incredible travel apps available to help you plan your trip. If you’re opting for a tech-savvy holiday and the kids are old enough, you can assign everyone certain apps to make sure everybody gets involved. The Entertainer app is a great tool to download when planning a holiday in a city as you’ll save big on restaurants and activities with their amazing buy 1, get 1 free offers.
Maximize holiday freebies.
Maybe there’s a street nearby that’s known for its holiday lights or haunted houses. Holidays mean many celebrations and festivals, many of which are free or low-cost. Instead of letting “staple” attractions dictate your days, take a look at annual or holiday events. Many are culturally rich and offer unprecedented experiences.
Make it all about nature.
Planning a family hike, beach day or camping trip can easily be free or very low-cost. Instead of heading for an expensive man-built destinations, let Mother Nature be your grand getaway finale. It also sets a great example for the kids.
As you plan your next trip, get creative! With some flexibility and research, you can design a memorable family holiday and create new traditions and memories to last a lifetime.
Rachel is a freelance writer and a self-proclaimed “Travelholic”. She enjoys traveling to parts unknown, sampling local cuisines, and sharing her experiences with the world. In her free time, you can find her planning her next trip, running with her dogs, or heading to the closest farmers’ market.