8 Tips for Incredible Family Travel on a Shoestring Budget
Family vacation, although fun, can create a large dent in any annual budget. The trick is to still have an amazing family vacation while not worrying about how to afford next month’s mortgage payment. Here are some great tips to have an enjoyable vacation without breaking the bank…or your budget.
- Use Aggregator Website to find the Best Deals on Hotels and Airfare. It can be very time consuming to visit hotel and airfare official websites looking for the best deals. After awhile, you become tired and you pick the one you think is the best without knowing if better deals are floating around. Aggregator websites like Expedia and Traveolocity are great resources when it comes to hotels and airfares. You simply plug in all the pertinent details, and the aggregator websites will tell you what is available and the price.
- Do not Blow the Entire Budget on Food One of the places where people tend to lose the most money is on food. Eating out all the time can be extremely expensive. To save money, stock the hotel room’s refrigerator with snacks you got at the local grocery store. If there are hotel foods in it, ask the hotel to remove them. Always bring snacks when going on a sightseeing adventure or spending the day at a park. Amusement parks are notorious for upping the price of all their foods. While some may charge a small fee of $5 or so to bring in a bag with food, it is worth it in the long run. If you have young children, eat at places where children eat for free. Lastly, always ask the hotel if there are special discounts restaurants provide to those staying at a specific hotel.
- Visit the Online Visitor’s Bureau and Borrow Guidebooks Always check the location of where you want to go before going there and plan out what you want to do. If there are entrance fees, you will know ahead of time, allowing you to budget accordingly. Guidebooks and visitor bureau websites will even provide additional information on how to get the best deals while traveling around and seeing the different attractions. It also provides information on a number of free attractions you can visit as well.
- Book Flights Early or Late…Never On Time Book your flights early or book your flights late, but do not book within three months of your trip. Booking as early as possible means you not only get the seats you want, but you can get the cheapest seats available. Booking during peak time means you will most likely pay the top fee for the flight. To fill up seats on a flight, a few weeks before takeoff, airlines are likely to drop the prices to get all seats filled. There are a number of “last minute flight deal” websites online that will clue you in to these last minute drops in prices.
- Become a Local while on VacationWhen staying in a major chain hotel, you are often more tempted to eat at an overpriced restaurant because you are unsure of where to go. It is advantageous to stay at locally-owned hotels. Not only are they nicer and less costly, but the owners will offer you lots of information about the area, including local haunts to grab an inexpensive bite to eat.
- Use your AAA Membership Whenever Possible AAA (American Automobile Association) and other motor clubs throughout the world are great service organizations that provide members with not only automotive benefits, but also travel discounts as well. Members of AAA, for example, get discounts on hotels, flights, car rentals and cruises. AAA also has their own tour books to assist with travel planning and their TripTik online service offers members information including attractions and where to get the cheapest gas prices at your current location.
- Travel during Non-Peak TimeIf you are looking to take your children to Disneyworld, think about going in September just before school starts rather than the summer months. The package deals are much cheaper because September starts the off-season period. To save money on a family Caribbean vacation, think about planning a trip sometime between May and November as all-inclusive deals will be a whole lot cheaper. However, keep in mind that the time period does mark the Caribbean’s hurricane season, so select a resort that has a hurricane protection policy…just in case.
- Purchase Annual Travel Insurance Buying annual travel insurance will save you a lot more money than paying for travel insurance as you go. However, do not always automatically renew your travel insurance unless you know for sure that you will be taking a trip. If you will not be traveling for a good six or so months, do not renew your travel insurance, but just get a new policy right before you need it.
Kristy writes for Drive My Car Rentals a new peer to peer car rental community, where you can save up to 60% on the cost of traditional car rental companies. Whether you’re seeking car rentals in Melbourne or Darwin, DriveMyCarRentals.com.au have something for everyone.
This post was submitted by Kristy Ramirez.