Saving Money On Family Vacations. Keep Within Your Budget!
No matter where you go, it’s costly to travel as a family. Yet, it really doesn’t have to be! As parents, we can sometimes build up a family holiday by thinking that everything has to be perfect. As parents, we might insist on filling every minute of the day with activities or sight-seeing so our family doesn’t miss out. The reality is though, kids can really enjoy vacations regardless of how eventful they are. Saving money early could be a good strategy to alleviate stress and let you do those couple extra activities while you’re on your family vacation.
To help you start saving money on your next family vacation, Jacaranda has broken down some suggestions into three parts. This way, you can cut back costs before you go, when you’re in transit and during your trip!
Part 1 | How To Plan A Cheap Family Vacation
1. Book Your Flights In Advance
We recommend you plan at least 9 months to even a year before you leave. So, if you were planning to go away in the summer, you should start to plan for that trip in the autumn. Once you have a time in mind, begin looking at flights as they become available on air carrier websites. Sometimes you can even call ahead, even if they’re not posted online, to different airlines and just see if they have priced out yet for whatever month you’re going away. Generally, the further out you book your flights, the better the deal. So you want to get them locked in as soon as you can!
2. Do Your Research
When it comes to booking flights, don’t lock yourself into one way of booking. Check online, go on the air carrier websites and call. It’s worth having a price in mind of what you want to spend so you know what you’re looking for.
Another little tip is if you’re going somewhere you’re not familiar with, somewhere you’ve never flown to and you don’t know what’s standard pricing, see if there is a Facebook community for your area. Facebook groups can be a phenomenal wealth of knowledge from true locals. You can post a comment or question and within a couple of minutes, people will answer with some great insights!
3. Take Advantage Of Points
If you have them available to you, make sure you take advantage of any air miles or points that you wrack up on your credit cards. They can really help to offset the costs of flights and car rentals.
Part 2 | How To Limit Costs When You’re In Transit
1. Pack Your Own Snacks
When you’re travelling to a destination, it’s always a good idea to pack snacks for the family. For the little snacks, especially drinks, you can save big bucks by bringing your own. The handy thing about a water bottle too is that the airline stewardesses will often fill it up for you so you have a drink for after the flight.
2. Pack New Kids Entertainment
It’s also worth packing some new entertainment items for the kids as well. So, think crayons, colouring, cheap little books, new apps – that sort of thing. You don’t need to splash out, but having new things to play with is key. Otherwise, you get up to the gate and there are lots of shops full of things for them to look at what they might nag you to buy. If you have something that’s new to them they’re less likely to be distracted by other things.
3. Reduce Your Luggage
For a family, the cost of checked luggage can quickly add up. If you can check just one or two large pieces of luggage, you might save considerably. What you can do to offset the cost as well, is pack a small carry on luggage with clothing. Between a family of five or so it works out well, so you won’t feel like it’s too cumbersome in travel.
4. Take Your Own Stroller & Boosters
While on the other end you can always purchase rentals for these things, it’s another added cost. Some airlines will allow you to take boosters as an essential so you won’t have to pay for it. So, if it works out to be cheaper to take your own stroller, car seats, and/or booster – it’s worth the effort of lugging them around.
Part 3 | How to Save Money During Your Holiday
1. Give The Kids An Allowance
Before you go away, start saving money for your kids so that they can have a little allowance. So if you sell their toys or clothing, put it away and then divide it up for each child for the vacation. That’s not to say that you won’t buy things in addition to what you give them but there’s a novelty for them in having their own money.
The other thing is, it’s a way to divvy it up between the days. So, say you’re going away for 10 days and give the kids $100 each, they’ll have $10 a day. With that money, they can either save up a few days to buy something more expensive or stick within the $10 range. It’s ultimately up to them! It also really curbs spending all the time, especially when you’re going to amusement parks.
2. Eat One Big Meal Out A Day
Another way to save significant money is to be very mindful of what you’re eating and how often. To save money, try eating just one big meal out per day. We recommend you make it supper or dinner. You can always bring some food out with you and eat a light lunch on the go, picnic-style. Or, maybe just purchase some small things to share during the day and enjoy a bigger meal in the evening. Whatever you decide, having a big meal out later is usually best since the kids’ energy will have come down and they’ll be more likely to sit still for a longer meal.
3. Share Meals As A Family
Instead of buying each child their own kids meal, why not purchase food for the family to share? Often, kids won’t eat all of their meals and a lot will just go to waste. So, for three kids you might consider purchasing two kids meals and dividing those up between all three. It’ll save on money, the kids will have more variety and it works out on the whole!
4. Always Book Attractions Online
For certain attractions, you can really save money by booking them online rather than going to the ticket counter there. You could potentially save $10 to $20 on tickets and if you know you’re going to go to an attraction anyway, why not give yourself the added convenience?
5. Saving Money By Travelling With Coupons
Having coupons handy could help you save considerably on a lot of little things. If you don’t want to deal with all the spam, try setting up a separate email for all the shops you shop in. There all your deals will collect over time, so prior to leaving you can check that email and print off any of the current deals. It’s all just a little bit of a bonus.
6. Make Time For A Few ‘Down Days’
Having down days are another important way to save money and give yourself a break from the holiday rush. What is a down day? Basically, its when you take a day to just relax without any real plans. So, hanging out at your accommodation and just enjoying the facilities there or wandering the streets for a few hours.
Down days are also just so beneficial for spending time with family and ensuring you don’t burnout. Ultimately, it will help you appreciate the big days too!
7. Take In Free Attractions
You don’t have to spend money every day to have a wonderful vacation! Sometimes, you can enjoy taking in the surrounds of where you’re travelling without it costing you anything at all. So, have a look online to see what free attractions may be worth checking out wherever you decide to go.
How Can We Help?
Jacaranda Finance is an online Aussie lender that gives everyday people a fair go at personal loans valued at $300 to $10,000. If you need a financial boost click here to find out more.
For other finance tips on credit scores and money hacks, check out our blog!
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