Travel can be one of the most rewarding experiences we have with our kids, but if you don’t plan carefully, it can also be extremely expensive. Most families are already on a budget, looking for ways to cut costs on everyday expenses. Still, the occasional vacation is a necessity so that you can all relieve stress. So here are some tips, courtesy of Go To Awesome Places, to make a family vacation more affordable.
Save on Your Stay
Along with the cost of plane tickets or gas for a road trip, the cost of accommodations is one of your biggest travel expenses. That’s why it’s worth digging up the best deals on a place to stay. For family travel, it often makes sense and is more cost-effective to stay in a vacation rental rather than a hotel or resort. Renting a home usually comes at a lower price than hotels, plus you can save even more by preparing some of your own meals. On top of the savings, kids enjoy having a home away from home. This also makes it easier for them to adjust to being in a new place, which is especially important for little ones. Another benefit of renting is that you can usually find something affordable that’s convenient to the sites you want to see. Look for rentals that put you close to the area’s best attractions.
Small Savings Add Up
Along with the major savings on accommodation costs, look for every opportunity for small savings, too.
Slash your airfare.
This can actually be a pretty big savings tip on its own if you have some time and flexibility. There are many websites that now let you search for flexible travel dates, and some even send you updates when the cost of a flight goes down. If you can be flexible on timing or location (or both!), you can often snag a great rate on airfare.
Don’t pay to check bags.
Many airlines now charge to check even one bag. When you fly, prepare ahead of time with tips for packing light so you aren’t hit with those checked luggage fees. As an added benefit, you won’t have to lug as much stuff around!
Protect your tech.
Investing in protective cases for your gear can save you a bundle in the long run. Look for travel cases for anything you’ll be bringing with you -- from your phone to e-readers to laptops. Screen protectors are another great investment. Fifty or so dollars now can save you the much costlier expense of replacing your screen after dropping your phone at the airport or at a rest stop along the way.
Always ask for discounts.
If you travel frequently, and especially if you take many road trips, it may be worth the investment to join AAA. Not only do they provide roadside assistance, but AAA membership also gets you all kinds of travel discounts. If you have a favorite hotel chain or destination in mind for an upcoming trip, sign up for emails so you get notified about special deals. And if you have the stomach for last-minute travel with kids, going spur of the moment can pay off just as much as planning well in advance.
One of the best ways to broaden your children’s minds -- and make sure that the whole family is having a great time and making memories to last a lifetime in the process -- is to really stretch your legs and travel outside the country. That way, the whole family gets to experience a different culture, and there’s no shortage of fascinating things to see. For instance, in the post-pandemic era, China offers everything from Chengdu (the city of cute giant pandas) to the stark, pristine beauty of Tibet. And planning ahead is a great way to save money by finding tours and special airfare deals!
Considerations for SBOs
If you run a small business, taking a vacation can seem impossible. But with proper planning, you can actually enjoy your trip and leave your business at the office! Make sure to notify your employees and clients about your vacation ahead of time, and wait to launch any big projects until after you return. Also, in case something goes wrong while you’re away, ZenBusiness points out it’s important to train your employees on various scenarios before your vacation. Once everyone has the right information, you can move forward with your plans with peace of mind.
Some families feel like they need to cram in every second of fun on vacation, but the reality is that simply exploring the destination is often all the fun you need. Plus, you’ll probably avoid some meltdowns (and save your own sanity) when you don’t try to do too much. After all, family vacations are all about the memories—not the price tag.
Go To Awesome Places is a travel blog offering extensive tips on traveling around Europe, America, and Asia, as well as reviews of travel gear.