Three Fantastic Frugal Family Travel Tips for Your Next Big Vacation
Every family wants to “get away from it all,” but doing so is much easier said than done when you’re on a shoestring budget. When traveling with a family, even the smallest details such as a going out to lunch or going to a museum can quickly eat through your cash.
Just because you don’t have the deepest pocketbooks in the world doesn’t mean that you should sacrifice the memories and bonding of family vacations. In fact, there are tons of ways that frugal families can enjoy their adventures without overspending. While it does indeed take some planning and a bit of creativity, both you and your kids can have a blast on a budget.
So, what are the must-do’s for parents looking to keep their spending under control while planning a vacation? Keep the following three tips in mind for starters.
Rethink Your Lodging Options
The biggest boon of any family trip is lodging. This often results in families taking the same vacation destinations over and over where they can stay with relatives or family friends. While this means of lodging is of course cost-effective, it severely restricts where you can go.
Staying somewhere totally new doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg, but you’re going to need to do your homework and rethink traditional lodging. For example, consider the following ways you can avoid ever paying hundreds of dollars for a hotel room even when visiting a must-see tourist town:
- Embrace the great outdoors: campgrounds and national parks cost a fraction of the price of a hotel and represent their own adventures: meanwhile, even small cars and SUVs can haul teardrop trailers which boast all the comforts of home
- Scour the web for deals: sites such as Hotwire can save you big money on hotel rooms, granted you don’t book too far in advance
- Stay in the suburbs: staying off the beat and path in a suburb between 15 and 20 minutes away from your main destination can keep hundreds of dollars in your pocket
Embrace Daily Deals
Deal sites like Groupon and LivingSocial run regular, steep discounts on everything from local attractions to restaurants and beyond. For those times when you do decide to go out and about rather than enjoy the free amenities of your lodging, half-price deals are most certainly the way to go. As a rule of thumb, make sure to read the fine print on such coupon sites.
And beyond daily deals, don’t be afraid to enjoy some free entertainment with your family. Exploring local parks and downtown districts can be just as much fun (if not more) than paying money for a museum depending on your family’s tastes.
Timing is Everything
Not all times of year are ideal when it comes to travel. If possible, try to avoid summer and holiday trips if you’re trying to mind your spending. Besides, most tourist destinations are absolutely slammed during these times of year and that’s why the off-season is the bread and butter of frugal travelers.
The added bonuses of traveling during months such as February or October are the fact that attractions and destinations are generally less crowded. Meanwhile, many of the top off-season tourist destinations run deals and discounts during less crowded months to entice travelers, which spells good news for those looking for a bargain. Simply put, you get to stretch your travel dime much further during the “dead” months.
Frugal family travel is more than possible when you plan properly and understand how to keep more money in your pocket. Keep these tips in the back of your mind next time you start talking about your next trip.