Do you contemplate giving your kids the vacation of their lifetime? No doubt, family holidays are in an investment of memories and emotions as much as money. However, as a family, even short trips can cost a fortune. Reasonably priced journeys don’t just fall from the sky! You have to scout the net for deals and do some meticulous planning ahead.
We’ll help you organize an inexpensive and fully-packed holiday without putting unnecessary pressure on your budget. Read our thoughtful ProMoneySavings hints and strategies to get the most of your next holiday for every dollar spent.
Table of Contents
- 1 How To Save On Flights And Transport?
- 2 How To Save On Hotels?
- 3 How To Save On Food When Traveling?
- 4 Saving Money On Activities and Attractions
- 5 Takeaway
- 6 FAQ
How To Save On Flights And Transport?
Flights and transportation, in general, take up a considerable proportion of your vacation budget. Imagine saving up to 30% on travel costs. Meaning, you can later use the money to enjoy day excursions and savor delicious food. Read our thoughtful ideas on how to save money on transport and get ready to set off.
Check Prices On Multiple Search Engines
Befriend websites specifically designed to compare prices and offer you the best available offers. This is one of the top travel tips for saving cash. Apart from flights and car hire, they also offer travel insurance and package vacations. However, be aware of any additional fees and services not included in packages. Occasionally, if airlines don’t add seats and baggage in the base fare, this can increase the final price to a great extent.
Furthermore, dedicate some time to exploring travel means on your own. Check as many search engines as possible and in the incognito mode. Sites like Skyscanner and Google Flights will most likely offer you the most affordable airfare, but don’t underestimate less-known pages, too.
Compare Transport Options
Unless your dream destination is transatlantic or several thousand miles away, take all transport options into consideration. Calculate the additional costs for meals and overnights to get the full picture of what the entire trip might cost you.
Traveling by train, particularly in areas with breathtaking scenery, will be an excellent experience for the whole family. Coaches are another option that can save you a couple of hundred bucks if you can renounce some travel luxury. Also, consider flying to the nearby city if the offer is way cheaper for the family, and the airline offers airport transfers.
Finally, think about traveling with your vehicle or even better, a camper. Exploring by an RV is a fantastic opportunity to which no kid will be indifferent. Nowadays, many companies rent out campers, so if you have a soul of an adventurer, make sure to give it a go. Above all, you’ll set aside a sizable amount of cash by sleeping and cooking in it.
Book Flights Early
When you settle the final holiday destination, don’t procrastinate booking your flight. The earlier you reserve, the better rates you’re likely to get. Meaning, if you have a clear plan and schedule ahead, don’t hesitate to book even three months before taking off.
Booking a last-minute flight is a viable option for inexpensive holidays, too. Even better, you can find whole arrangements for a half-price just because someone had to cancel their all-inclusive vacation. Therefore, consult the airlines directly or call several travel agencies to ask for canceled packages.
Also, consider flying in the off-peak season as the likelihood to spot exceptional flight deals increases. Airfares always depend on the month and even the day and time of travel. Another useful tip is to focus on flying during weekdays since weekend flights are usually more expensive. Unwanted hours tend to be cheaper and less crowded, too.
Choose Local Transport
Avoid breaking the bank by carefully planning the way you’ll move around once you arrive at your desired destination. When your car or camper is not an option because you left them back at home, study the remaining transport means.
Paying for package excursions to the most popular attractions in the vicinity can be quite pricey. Sometimes booking a taxi to the same places, and arranging the tour on your own can cost you half the price. Even public trains and buses are more cost-efficient since most public transport systems allow kids to travel free of charge.
Finally, if your vacation spot is not a metropolis, try walking and exploring on foot. It won’t cost you anything, and you’re bound to discover many local hidden gems. You’ll be fascinated by the small cafes, sandy beaches, and foamy waterfalls that suddenly come your way.
Look For Special Deals
Scavenge the Internet for unusual deals long before you choose a holiday spot and set off. Exclusive deals and discount websites are one way to locate top travel offers. Also, travel companies, booking sites, and hotel chains circulate price reductions by email, so make sure you subscribe.
Error fares are another way you can grab unusually cheap deals. These occur due to human error or as a technical glitch. To find error rates, you must check the websites of airlines or transport companies regularly. Also, open web pages that display mistakes in travel fares. Once you spot an exceptional package, don’t wait long before booking, as it might go away in a second.
Use Budget Airlines
Traditional airlines can cost you an arm and a leg for a four-member family. Instead, why don’t you consider low-cost air companies? Today, they offer the same lines as their more expensive counterparts and also service long-haul routes. On top of that, budget airlines offer high-quality aircraft that guarantee safety in the air.
Be aware of the fine print and check what services get included in the initial price. Most often, budget airlines make money by charging additional fees for bags, seats, meals, and movies. However, if you’re ready to give up a few perks of these, your savings can be sizable.
Budget airlines are not always part of popular flight search engines. Sometimes this is because they refuse to pay high commissions to get advertised and offered on third-party pages. Therefore, we encourage you to check the rates directly on the websites of low-cost airlines.
Check Local Airports For Cheaper Price
Instead of directly heading to the primary airport in the country, explore the fares offered by minor, local airports. Besides being closer to you, they may be providing much cheaper flights. Not only domestic but also international travel. The reason is apparent, their infrastructure is less developed, and the services of local airfields are not all-encompassing.
As a result, they either reduce administration and airport fees or grant free parking. Plus, most budget airlines fly from low-cost runways, and that’s your opportunity to snitch an exclusive deal. Overlooking small airports when hunting down lower prices can increase the overall travel cost by nearly 20%.
Park And Ride
Finding decent and inexpensive parking is a real challenge, particularly when you need to leave your vehicle for more days. First, if you plan to park your car at the airport, book ahead and check prices at cost comparison websites. An even better option is to strike a parking deal along with your airport hotel reservation.
Consider renting a cheap parking spot with the help of sites like ParkLet. Conversely, you can always park out of town and then use local transport to reach the airport or the city. Parking in the suburbs is still cheaper and sometimes even free of charge. However, always check twice before leaving your vehicle unattended.
How To Save On Hotels?
Are you hooked on the latest and most popular hotel chains? Do you splash out on accommodation, and then you realize you don’t have any money left to survive the way back? Honestly, there is no need to overpay hotels and use the room only to spend the night. Either way, your primary aim was to explore and enjoy nature and not get addicted to hotel amenities and perks.
As with flights, the same rule goes for accommodation. Traveling during off-peak times is a number one hack to save on hotel rooms. The interest in hotels drops beyond popular times of the year, and managers strive to keep the capacity to a satisfactory level. To do so, most often than not, they reduce the rates or offer complimentary meals.
Imagine staying is a perfect nature-surrounded ski resort somewhere in the French Alps during spring. It can’t get any better, right? Still, if off-peak times are impossible for you to make it, think about staying midweek. Even in the high season, midweek rates tend to be lower since most locals hit the road on weekends.
Embracing the lovely, sunny weather when most people avoid going away is the best gift you can give to your kids. Fewer crowds, mild sunshine, and a fraction of the real cost are only some of the benefits of off-season holidays. A shower or two won’t ruin your dream holiday but stay away from heavy rain seasons. An insider hack is to travel during the “dead week” (after New Year’s Day) as this is absolutely the cheapest vacation period.
Book Ahead Of Time
Reserving a room before demand fluctuates and prices start to rise is a prudent travel strategy. Also, if you’re not a gambling type and want to keep things neat and straightforward, take care of accommodation early on. Never underestimate the power of promo codes and price aggregators like Trivago.com to land superb first-minute discounts.
Of course, there is no need to book separate beds for each child, especially if they’re very young. Most hotels allow kids for free if you require no extra beds. Squeezing in the king-size bed will cost you less since you won’t be spending much time in the room. Plus, some managers agree to bring in another mattress for the kids for free. So, always ask for any kind of discount before offering to pay the full accommodation price.
Find Last Minute Hotel Deals
Booking last-minute doesn’t have to mean you’re paying through the nose. Booking.com is a popular site where you can grab exceptional last-day accommodation. Plus, you won’t bother about any change of plans and eventual cancelations. The only downside to booking last-minute is that the best deals might be long gone.
Moreover, always ask for an additional discount or free breakfast if you are booking a couple of days before departure. Hotels are eager to see their capacities full, so they’ll most likely approve your request. Hotels concerned with their popularity across the net might even offer you a room upgrade.
Use Budget Hotel Chains
Five-star hotels are not a guarantee that you’ll have a whale of a time. If you can neglect the luxuries that renowned and multi-perk hotels offer, your wallet will be grateful to you. To be honest, there are many budget hotel chains worldwide that give guests a lovely experience for reduced prices.
For instance, hotels like Days Inn and Ibis offer satisfactory accommodation for less money. Though they might lack character and amenities, low-cost hotels are usually clean and efficient. Finally, in case you’re not ready to give up your lavish styles while on holiday, at least use budget hotels for stopovers.
Use Airbnb And Hostels
Most times, hostels are your ultimate extra-cheap option to stay in for your holiday. Remember to check the rates of hostels, motels, guesthouses, and Airbnb before setting off. The truth is they all have their upsides and downsides.
For instance, the best thing about hostels is that you can find them in perfect locations. Yet, the noise and per-head prices might not be so appealing for a family with small kids. With Airbnb, on the other hand, you can book a house, an apartment, or just a room. Set filters depending on your preferences, and there you go! You have everything at your fingertips for a fair price.
Lastly, don’t forget to check the exact location of the place you book. If the room is too far from your planned day trips and visits, it might not be worth the sacrifice of splendor. Or even better, save the cost for one night during travel days. Organize your holiday so that you travel overnight to economize on hotel rooms.
Undoubtedly, the cheapest alternative would be to opt for camping. Taking up a tent is a flexible way to explore and enjoy nature. What you should do is look for conveniently priced campsites and watch your projected budget drop. Bear in mind that when camping wild, you must make sure it’s a legal thing to do.
Camping in a tent may not be the ideal holiday for some families, but RV camping is something utterly different. You have all the necessities such as beds, a kitchen, a toilet, a shower, and a car in one. Staying in a camper in countries known to be expensive like New Zealand, Australia, and Europe may save you decent cash.
Campervans are also advantageous when you want to be on the move and often change locations. However, consider the cost of renting a camper if you don’t have your own. Plus, while camping you can always try our cheap family dinner ideas and save even more.
House Swap Or Sit
Increasingly popular, house swapping is a creative approach to having the holiday of your lifetime. The Internet is packed with websites offering home swapping services, and the entire arrangement can get settled from home. However, use a renowned agency to guarantee and lead the procedure as a whole.
Have you ever thought of going local and paying less? Why not stay with locals or at a small guesthouse? Not only will you support the local inhabitants, but they’ll also help you in getting around and discovering local attractions. HomeStay is a database of local hosts who offer cheap accommodation. Lastly, consider staying with a friend who has a free room and will be glad to give you sound local advice.
Stay Overnight At The Airport
In some cases, your flights will be taking off in the evening or extremely early in the morning. So, why would you pay for an extra night in the hotel if you abandon it at 10 p.m.? Kids might find it entertaining to sleep on airport couches or wander through the endless stores. It’s good to know that airports such as the Dubai Airport offer sleep pods.
Conversely, if you opt to sleep at an airport hotel, call it directly and avoid intermediary sites like Expedia. As of late, many hotels claim to offer the best rates and even match prices. An extra free night or a gift card for future stays is not a rare sight either. On top of that, you can add loyalty points to your travel card to use later on.
How To Save On Food When Traveling?
Planning meals ahead means you can make significant savings when traveling as a family. Your best shot is to go for hotels that include breakfast or provide a kitchenette where you can prepare light meals. If this is not the case, feel free to rely on local stalls and kid-friendly restaurants for tasty low-cost food. Remember, it’s possible to eat healthy on a budget, you just need to know how.
Try Street Food
Trying local food on the street is an excellent hack to both keep within budget and explore new tastes. Yet, you might want to be extremely cautious when savoring new dishes with kids. First, the ingredients and spices may be odd for their palate. Second, their bellies may not be accustomed to the cooking ways.
Moreover, why pay exorbitant prices for a table and several chairs in restaurants when the local good is so affordable and inviting? Buy from busy stalls to make sure the food is fresh and well-prepared. On hot days, it’s better to stay away from meat and seafood. Finally, street food vendors around the corner are always much cheaper than those in the vicinity of main sights and beaches.
Junk food may not be a smart step to take when traveling with kids, for sure. Nevertheless, breaking the rule once a day for several days won’t change their eating habits. To compensate for the unhealthy food, and keep up with your eating routine, bring some bananas or carrots along.
The good thing about fast food is that you can find well-known brands wherever you go. No need to experiment with tastes when in a hurry, right? Apart from saving money and avoiding troubles with food-picky kids, you are also saving a lot of time.
The battle between home-cooked food vs. fast food mostly ends up with the first type winning. Still, in this case junk food is the one that saves the day.
Restaurants will not bring your wallet to the edge if you know how to use them to your benefit. One idea is to share all the meals after ordering one dish less. Or the kids can share their lunch as they won’t finish it anyway. Instead of separate packs, order family-sized water or soda bottles to save on drinks.
If you don’t want to lose sight of your expenses, visiting a kids-friendly restaurant is a must. Even places that give family discounts can be a real money saver. Here, you either get kids menus for free or for a small fee. However, if you don’t want your kids to end up stuffing on fries, stick to the adults’ menu.
Bring Own Plane Food
The golden rule is to pack as many snacks as you can. These may include dried raisins and cranberries, almonds, rice cakes, and fruit, depending on what your kids like eating. If water bottles are not allowed, buy a few at the airport as onboard prices are always higher. There is no such thing as too many snacks packed as you can use them later on during day trips.
Other onboard meal ideas that kids would like are peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and oatmeal. Once you arrive, make sure you dedicate some time to doing the shopping in a local supermarket. Make a list of needed items and keep your food and meals organized. Also, refrain from impulse buying and opening the minibar in hotels.
Picnic and Camp Fire Cook
Taking care of your home-prepared food for the day may be time-consuming, but at least you know what you’re eating. Why forking out for hefty appetizers and hamburgers on the beach when you can enjoy a carefully home-made meal? Plus, you can always grab a bite on the go without wasting time looking for reasonably priced and less crowded restaurants.
Packing picnic lunches such as ham and cheese sandwiches and light sides based on fruit and vegetables are both fun and healthy. Whenever you feel like eating, find the nearest park or bench and have the perfect family picnic.
When camping, there is nothing more fairylike than cooking on an open fire. Whether meat, soup, and vegetables, everything is way tastier when cooked under the star-sprinkled night sky. Last but not least, always have extra water bottles with you to stay well-hydrated and avoid making frequent stops.
Saving Money On Activities and Attractions
Popular attractions are a money drain, so look for cheap entertainment for your family while on the road. Travel is always about spending valuable time with family and not overpriced tourist highlights. Consider out hints to organize memorable activities on a budget.
Look For Free Tours
Arrange tours without biting off more than you can chew. Look for local museums and gardens with free entry or at reduced seasonal rates. Even renowned museums like the Louvre fit open entrance hours for families in their schedule.
If you’re flexible enough and know where to look for, there are always free things to do. For instance, light shows, street performances, and stunning fountains are free of charge and equally mesmerizing as some costly attractions.
Visit The Tourist Information Center
Find free local events with the assistance of tourist information centers, local guides, and newspapers. Tourist bureaus will equip you with valuable information about places you can go and enjoy with your children free of charge.
Even better, ask if the tourist information point can give you promo codes or a discount book for significant attractions. Adventure parks and playgrounds are a real hit among small kids. If there is a local zoo, make sure you purchase tickets for less crowded days and hours as this can lend you a discount.
Keep An Eye Out For Deals on City Passes and Discount Cards
Purchase city passes and discount cards custom-made for the city or area you’re visiting. When you’re touring a capital, multi-passes can make a huge difference. Moreover, a city card might grant your family free admission to certain attractions.
Likewise, some city passes in Europe entail discounts for popular restaurants and cafes. Above all, you can enjoy hop-on-hop-off buses and other local transport for free if you opt to purchase a multi-pass card.
Ask The Online Community
Go online and ask straightforwardly for honest opinions. TripAdvisor is a real treasure when it comes to detailed reviews and information on any tourist spot you can imagine. There, you can find the best rates and summarized costs of any city you like to tour.
Moreover, appreciate the real active experiences over posh attractions. Dedicate a whole day on city walks and a picnic instead of visiting a theme park. The online community is a never-ending source of budget-friendly ideas for your next holiday on a budget.
During holidays, we all get out of control and extend the planned budget to dangerous limits. Therefore, ultra-careful planning is the first prerequisite for experiencing a mind-blowing yet inexpensive holiday. A little cutting back on non-essential items can grant you an extra night or access to top attractions.
We sincerely hope you enjoyed reading our all-inclusive guide on planning a family holiday on a budget. So, what are you waiting for? Get a pen and start drafting your next journey. Refer us back to your close friends and subscribe to our newsletter for more smart saving ideas.
And yes, happy family-time touring!
Where is the cheapest place for a family holiday?
The truth is there are lots of places where you can enjoy your time for cheap. Depending on your interest, Spain, Malta, and Croatia are great hits among beach-lovers. If you’re keen on domestic travel, consider Myrtle Beach, San Diego, or Destin. If you’re more the National Park type of traveler, don’t miss Acadia National Park, Colorado Springs, and Asheville.
How do you travel the world with a family on a budget?
Early and detailed preparation is the key to a more affordable journey around the world. Therefore, have the travel plan ready before booking anything and then start with flights and accommodation. Select destinations and duration of stays very carefully as this impacts the final figure. Be flexible in terms of local transport and food, too. Or cook your meals and rent your house while away for extra savings.
What is the best destination for a family holiday?
If you’ve set your eyes on Europe, Tenerife, Portugal, and Cyprus are the best-rated family destinations for 2020. Morocco and South Africa are high on the list of recommended holiday spots this year, too. Finally, Shri Lanka and Jordan spark growing popularity within the travel community as of late.
How to have a good Christmas on a tight budget?
Tourism jewels like Puerto Vallarta and Cancun in Mexico are the perfect Christmas escape for your family. Furthermore, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic will spoil you for choice as there is an excellent range of affordable all-inclusive deals. Finally, if you decide to stay closer to home and spend less, think about going to South Carolina, Missouri, or Hawaii.
23 thoughts on “Family Holidays On A Budget”
There are always unexpected expenses on holiday. So having a safe fund for these kind of expenses would be a good idea.
There are travel agencies that can organize your holiday in detail. And the prices are affordable.
I enjoy going on holiday with my own car. This way I can stay wherever I want and have a vehicle for sightseeing.
Nice article with useful tips.
When going on holiday with small children you have to take a lot of stuff with you. And usually you have to plan ahead and book where you will stay.
I enjoy tropic islands and destinations where you can enjoy the nature. And for a few past years I discovered that they are not that expensive quite interesting most of them are even cheaper than staying in the States
When on vacation I stay away from busy cities. Small towns offer best holidays
For family vacations it is best to rent a house or a private room with kitchen. That’s my opinion.
Off peak season is the best way to travel. The prices go down and you can enjoy the peace and tranquility
The tours and other things not included in the price of the stay are often the most expensive that will burden your holiday budget
When in foreign country it is a must to try their local cuisine and the restaurants and cafes. This can be pricy
European destinations are nice. But they are not cheap.
Greece is one of the holiday places that is not expensive and they have beautiful places and beautiful beaches
I usually go on skiing for a vacation. I tend to pick the off season, and it is not expensive
If you eat healthy at home, it will not harm you to try some fast food while on vacation
When going with friends on holiday and renting a room or a house it can split the expenses so it doesn’t have to be that expensive
Every year I go for a holiday in different places. Some cheap, some expensive. But I agree that everyone should be careful and not to spend beyond the budget
When you go alone on a vacation or with friends you don’t have to plan ahead, but when going with kids you need to make preparations months ahead.
Sometimes the agencies offer you a dream holiday and when you go there, nothing is as promised.
Camping is an interest solution for a family vacation. The kids will be happy and try something new
Like for the article. You always consider all the facts and ways to save money
Yes, yes and yea for a cheap holiday. Thank you for the tips.
Thanks for the article, can you make it so I receive an email sent to me every time there is a new article?