Want to take a family vacation but don’t want to break the bank? Booking sites galore promise to save you money on your vacation, but what about the costs after you’ve booked your hotel room or airfare. From staying close to home to packing meals, scoping out deals, and not paying for freebies, here are some of Trekaroo’s best tips for budget friendly family vacations.
Note: While researching for this budget-travel article, my family had the pleasure of staying at an Extended Stay America near Griffith Park in Los Angeles to practice these budget tips. Thanks to the great location close to home, the hotel’s numerous free amenities, full kitchens in rooms, and other great family-travel perks, it was a great location to call as home base for a budget getaway.
Featured Photo (above) by: Bigstock/lightkeeper
Pin this handy reference guide, and then explore the details on budget friendly family vacations below.
Budget Friendly Family Vacations: Make it a Staycation
Although there is something magical about whisking your family off to a far-off destination, airfare is not cheap. Even while searching for the best fares (I like to use kayak.com to find rates from all the discount providers– I also sign up for their price drop email alert if I have a specific destination in mind!), the cost of of flying to your destination is definitely greater than if you drive or stay close to home. If budgeting, consider a close-to-home (100 miles or less) destination you’ve never experienced.
Heading out for a family road trip? Check out our top 10 tips for saving money on the road.
Budget Friendly Family Vacations: Ditch Your Hotel
If you aren’t married to the idea of a hotel, consider alternative lodging instead. Great accommodation options for various types of families include campgrounds (typically the least expensive lodging type, although some gear & effort is typically required), vacation rentals (great for longer or multigenerational stays), home away swaps, and even family-friendly hostels. Often, you can stay at timeshare destinations for a great rate, even without making a huge investment, but you might be forced to sit through a lengthy (and sometimes manipulative) presentation.
Tip: When calculating your lodging, don’t forget about taxes, which vary from region to region. They can add a significant price hike to your budget. Consumer Reports notes that taxes can go as high as 17% of your total bill in cities like Houston, Texas and Indianapolis, IN.
Budget Friendly Family Vacations: Don’t Pay for Free Stuff in Hotels
Budget Friendly Family Vacations: BYOB
Budget Friendly Family Vacations: Go bargain hunting for attractions
Budget Friendly Family Vacations: Search out local freebies