10 ways to save big money on family vacation
I don’t know about you but I am always ready for a vacation!
Being on a pretty tight budget means that if we are going to take a vacation, we need to do it as cheap as possible. There are tons of great ways to save big money on your family vacation. I’m going to share with you some of the ways that we save.
The biggest thing we try to remember is that we are taking a vacation to create memories and have experiences. We don’t need a fancy place to stay with every extra amenity or to eat at 5 star restaurants every night. Being able to relax, spend time together and see some new sights is what it’s all about. So here are the ways we do that!
1- Find a cheap rental.
We don’t ever stay in a hotel room, simply because it is never what is the cheapest. I’m not saying that it will never be the cheapest option and I certainly don’t exclude them from my search right from the start but it never ends up being where we stay. VRBO.com is my all time favorite site for finding vacation rentals. They always have lots of pictures and reviews and I have never had a single issue with an owner. Although I go cheap I still have my standards and won’t stay in a dump. The place we stayed in last year at Hilton Head Island we a cute little one bedroom place with just enough room for us and little man. So, do your research and check around until you find something that works for your family and your budget.
2- Get a place with a kitchen.
If you have kids there is never enough room in a mini fridge for baby food or juice or snacks. Having a place to keep those necessary things makes everything so much more convenient! Plus being able to make yourself that cup of coffee and drink it out of a real coffee mug is so much more relaxing. Some hotel rooms have great kitchenettes now with plenty of space.
3- Plan on cooking.
I know, I know. You’re thinking you’re on vacation and you have to cook? I promise it won’t be as bad as you think. I actually do a lot of my prep for meals before we even leave. A couple of my favorite vacation meals are spaghetti and chicken quesadillas. I can cook the spaghetti sauce ahead of time and freeze it so it keeps perfectly until we’re ready to eat. Then all I have to do is good some noodles and warm some garlic bread. Chicken quesadillas are just as easy, I cook the meat and veggies beforehand and when it comes time to eat all we have to do is put it on a tortilla with cheese and warm it all up. Pop open a jar of salsa and some chips and dinner is done! A simple breakfast and sandwiches or leftover for lunch makes it super simple. We do usually plan one night to go out to eat and treat ourselves! It’s amazing how much money you will save cooking while on vacation.
4- Know what’s in walking distance.
Chances are that there is something fun to do right under your nose if you are on vacation. We went exploring last year and found bike rentals right on our resort that were not advertised and it opened up a whole day of exploring for us! If you want to, you can even look for a rental or hotel that is close to attractions or shops.
5- Don’t go on a peek week.
Going on vacation while everyone else is can not only be a pain but it can cost you. Anywhere you stay will jack up your rates during these times because they are in high demand. If your little one isn’t in school yet, look up your local school schedule so you can know what times to avoid(like spring break or teacher workdays that provide a 3 day weekend). Avoiding busy times will give you more options on where you stay and save you money.
6- Know your gas prices.
If you are driving through multiple states know which ones have to cheapest gas and try to plan accordingly. We live in NC and it never fails that once you cross the border to SC the price of gas always drops, so we usually plan to fill up somewhere in SC. The gasbuddy app is also a great way to check and compare gas prices.
7- Know what you will need.
This one may be a little obvious but it is another way we save money. If we need some more towels for a beach trip I shop around well in advance and find a better deal. If you need new beach toys for the little ones I can almost guarantee that you can find them cheaper before you leave than you can a the beach shop once you get there. Sometimes ordering online will save you money. Plan for things you will need and find the best deal on them before you leave.
8- Plan your activities.
Know what there is around you to do and plan for it. Sometimes you can find great online deals for activities or places on sites like groupon. If you plan ahead of time you can get a better deal on what you are going to do as well as save money on planning meals and snacks to go with you if you are going to be out. I know I’m beginning to sound like I plan my whole vacation in advance and there no time to relax and do whatever you feel at the moment but I promise that’s not the case. If we are going to try to get some extra activities in that cost money I just want to make sure that we save the most money possible while doing so.
9- Look for the freebies.
Part of this comes down to just enjoying your destination. If you’re at the beach enjoy the beach, go for walks, build a sandcastle, or go swimming. If you’re in the mountains enjoy the sights, go for a hike or go for a drive. There may also be other free things to do where you’re going. Check the cities website to see what’s going on. Catching a free street fair or festival can add a whole day of activities to your vacation!
10- Stick to your budget.
Establish a budget for you vacation and don’t sway from it. Knowing how much you will be spending on lodging, gas, food and extra activities will keep you from possible going in a little debt from one vacation.
Are you ready for a vacation now?
I know I am. Being able to enjoy a family vacation without draining your wallet makes that time together even better! Using these great tips will help you do so. How do you save on vacation? Make sure to drop your tips in the comments below! I’d love to hear them!