Planning an affordable family vacation
Remember: timing is everything
Last-minute deals don’t tend to exist during the school holidays, and those that do are usually to undesirable places. If your kids are in school then you’ll know their term dates far in advance; use this information to book months or even years ahead, when prices are still relatively low due to the lack of demand. If your kids aren’t in school yet or you educate them at home, make the most of travelling outside the peak periods, when costs are low and crowds fewer. Planning an affordable family vacation…
Use your parenting networks
Baby groups may have kept you sane through the newborn haze – but that collective wisdom extends beyond moral support and nappy-changing techniques. Quiz fellow parents about trips they’ve taken, how much they cost and what they would do differently to save money next time. Likewise in the online world there are plenty of forums and family travel bloggers ready and willing to give you their budget tips on destinations they have visited.
Take your family far from the madding crowd
It’s basic economics: the higher the demand, the higher the price. One solution? Get off the beaten track. Avoid tourist hotspots and opt instead for somewhere less trendy or famous; think rural Lazio over Tuscany, Adelaide over Sydney and Maine over California. With a bit of research, you’ll find fun things to do with the kids and enjoy the luxury of not having to battle through masses of other people to get an ice cream or a family selfie. Plus, you’ll acquire the kudos that comes with being just that bit more adventurous. Planning an affordable family vacation…
Turn the journey into an adventure
Save money on a night’s accommodation and create memories you will all treasure by travelling to your destination (or between two points on your itinerary) in a different way. Taking an overnight train or ferry (or even bus if you’re brave enough) is a huge event for kids and a story they will retell again and again when back home. Alternatively, a family road trip using your own vehicle avoids the cost of hefty air fares and rental cars.
Embrace the great outdoors
Kids tend to love spending time in the fresh air, which is great news for penny-pinching parents. Plan day trips that involve nature walks rather than expensive attractions; find the local playground so your little ones can meet other children; and take a picnic to avoid restaurant prices. Another great way to save money while exploring the great outdoors is to camp. It allows kids to be truly immersed in nature while also getting involved with some basic chores (e.g. post-BBQ clean up) so it’s a win-win really – and worth trying at least once, even if you think you won’t like it.
Family discounts are your friend
While you can’t necessarily take advantage of big group discounts, there are many little ways families can use the power of numbers. You may be able to get a discount pass for local transport, find family coupons online for the attractions you want to see and take advantage of marketing campaigns such as kids-go-free weeks for theatres or big exhibitions that don’t charge entry for children.