Our family enjoys traveling and exploring new places. However we’re a family of six, so even a simple vacation can add up quickly. I value our time away and make it a goal to take a trip or two yearly. It’s how we create lifetime memories and recharge. But I also don’t want to hurt our finances in the process. So how do we travel and still stay within budget? Here are some of my favorite ways to save:
How To Save Hundreds On Your Next Vacation
1. Don’t eat out.
Food is the number one budget buster. Even while we’re on vacation, we create a meal plan and cook the bulk of our meals. We love exploring local restaurants, but we always limit this because it can add up quickly. Find a local supermarket and stock up on food to cover the length of your stay. Keep the dining out for days you are out exploring and can’t make it back to the hotel. Of course, this also requires booking a room that has a kitchen. When you do decide to go out to eat, check out sites like Groupon to score local deals.
2. Keep your schedule open.
Ever go on vacation and feel like you need a vacation afterwards? You’re probably creating some of the stress by not slowing down. We allow the kids to choose a few things they want to do, and the rest of the days are left open for our leisure. This enables us to have the time to truly enjoy our break and unwind. I like to read, lounge by the pool and simply connect with my family. Nothing is worst than feeling overwhelmed with a full schedule when you should be enjoying yourself. You also won’t have to worry about spending tons of money since you’re not jamming your schedule with trips to various attractions.
I know this may not work for everyone since kids are typically back in school. But if you can make it work for your family, traveling offseason is the way to go. Hotels and vacation rentals will be deeply discounted. I’ve booked hotels well over 50% off during the offseason. You don’t have to go in the middle of winter to get a great deal. Even going shortly after school begins or right before school lets out for summer break, will yield huge savings. This also enables you to avoid the busy crowds at popular attractions.
4. Create a budget for the kids.
Leave it to kids to kill your travel budget. Between souvenirs and overpriced food, it’s easy to spend more than you bargained for. One simple solution is to give the kids a set amount before the trip begins. I find that my kids are more selective about what and where they spend their money. They also learn to appreciate the value of money since they see how quickly purchases can add up.
5. Stay outside the popular locations.
If you plan to drive or will have access to a car rental. Stay a little bit further away from your destination. You’ll find that this will significantly drop the price of the hotel. I also find that areas like these are less packed and even the store items are not as overpriced. I also like that it’s typically quieter and a lot less busy than the more sought out places. You might even be surprised and find a few hidden gems in the area.
6. Keep a frugal mentality.
In my opinion, this is by far one of the most important things you can do. Even if you’re very disciplined at home, it’s easy to overspend when you’re enjoying yourself. Set a budget and allow yourself some “fun” money, but don’t lose sight of your financial goals. Now is not the time to rack up credit card debt or blow your savings. Have fun, but don’t create a financial mess in the process.
How do you save money while on vacation? I would love to hear your tips and tricks!