4 Affordable Vacation Ideas for Families on a Budget
With summer just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start planning your family’s next vacation. Whether you have a big budget or a small one, there are affordable vacation ideas out there that won’t break the bank. If your family is anything like ours, your tight budget may mean that an extravagant vacation package with flights and hotels isn’t an option this year. But that doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking moment stressing about where you’ll go on holiday as a family. With a little bit of forward planning and some creativity, you can plan an affordable trip for your family that won’t cost too much money and won’t break the bank account either.
Drive to Your Destination
Driving might be a hassle and it might take longer than flying, but it also means you’re in charge of how much you spend. We’ve driven from North Carolina to Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Florida in the past, and each trip cost us about $200 for gas, food, and accommodations. You also get to enjoy the journey and spend quality time together as a family. If you do decide to drive, make sure you research your travel route, the best times to travel, and road conditions so you can plan your trip accordingly. Sitting around a computer with Google Earth pulled up can allow the entire family to have a say in how they want to craft a fun vacation. You can also take advantage of apps like Waze that tell you about traffic, construction, and give you tips on where to take your next pit stop. Not to mention, driving also gives you the chance to have some family fun, listen to your favorite tunes, and learn about where you’re headed.
Extra: Best Road Trip Atlas For Kids and Adults
Plan a Foodie Trip
If your family loves to eat, a foodie trip is a great affordable vacation idea. Whether you plan an eating tour of a specific city, or a more general culinary trip, you can eat your way through your dream vacation while staying on budget. You can find foodie trips all over the internet, and there are even a few websites that plan your culinary vacation for you. If you’re into planning your own, head over to TripAdvisor and search “things to do” to review the food, wine & nightlife for the location(s) you plan to visit. The key is to find a tour that fits your budget, develop a plan by day and location (accounting for travel time), and then stick to the plan. If you’re planning your own culinary vacation and want to keep your costs down, start with where you’re going to go.
Again, TripAdvisor is a great start point to plan some fun within your budget. And with the TripAdvisor App downloaded to your iPhone or Android, you can have a handy reference while you’re on your trip in case you need to reference hours, location, etc. Once you have your locations identified, the next step is to compile a bucket list of foods you want to try while you’re there. Finally, keep an eye out for deals and discounts on food and travel while you’re planning your culinary trip. Many restaurants have By One, Get One (BOGO) free nights, kids eat free nights, and coupons you can snag while out on the town.
Batching and Bundling
Batching and bundling are two ways to save big on travel expenses by reducing the number of trips you take. Batching is when you plan two or more trips in a row to take advantage of reduced rates, especially during off-peak seasons. Bundling is when you combine a trip to visit family and a trip to see friends as one trip. Bundling is how we were able to keep our destination drives to under $200. You can also use this technique by combining vacations with work-related travel. If you’re planning to batch or bundle your trips, start planning early so you have enough time to find good deals. Make sure you book everything for your trip as soon as you can to take advantage of those reduced rates. You can also look into traveling during the shoulder season, when rates are lower than they are during high and low seasons.
Finding the Best Deals
When you’re on the hunt for the best deals, make sure you’re not only looking at the best price but also at the best value. A cheap vacation that leaves you broke and broke is of no value to anyone. When you’re looking for the best deals on flights and accommodations, keep an eye out for discount codes and promotions. WayAwayoffers promos and discounts on flights where you can compare different rates at various times to find the best deal. You can also subscribe to airline and travel newsletters so you can be the first to know about their latest deals. Another great way to find deals is through online travel forums. These forums are great for travel tips and advice, but they’re also a great place to find out about current deals and promotions.
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While it’s true that an expensive vacation can be memorable, an affordable one can be too. A budget vacation doesn’t have to be a vacation where you’re constantly worrying about money and how you’re going to pay for everything. When you’re planning your next family vacation, keep these affordable travel tips in mind so you can enjoy your next trip while staying within your family’s budget.