Taking your family on a great vacation is a wonderful way to spend a week or two. When finances are tight, though, the idea may feel more like a pipe dream than reality. Many people think that they can’t afford to treat their family to a getaway. As a parent, you likely have many different things you need to pay for during the month. Saving for a vacation will not be top of your priority list. As such, you will find it difficult to plan a getaway for you and your family. It is possible to travel on a budget. Sure, you need to work at it, but there are many ways that you can save money when traveling. Here is the ultimate guide to planning a budget family vacation.
Create a budget
First thing’s first, you need to make a budget. It is no good trying to plan a budget vacation, without knowing how much you can spend. Take the time to sit down with your partner and decide how much money you can afford to spend. Be realistic about your finances and see where you can save a little money. Once you have reached your final figure, it is vital that you stick to it. Knowing how much money you’re going to spend on your vacation is vital. You will not feel like you are losing out at all as you have already allocated the money to the cause.
Plan well in advance
If you plan your vacation well in advance, you are likely to get some real bargains. The price of vacations changes depending on the time you are booking. That means that you can pay over the odds for the same vacation if you don’t book in advance. You may find luxury family holidays in Tenerife for half the usual price if you book far in advance. Alternately, you can get some great deals by booking last minute. When travel companies have spare vacations that they have not managed to sell, they try and get rid of them. That means that they will cut prices in half and offer you some real discounts.
Get the best exchange rates
When you are a tourist, you could be throwing away good money by getting a bad rate of exchange. When you want to get foreign currency, it is vital that you shop around and see what rates different stores have to offer. Doing so could give you an extra 10-15% on your travel money. That means that you will have more money to spend on your vacation. Compare exchange rates online before you get your currency. You can be strategic about when you get your currency, if you watch the currency rates online. Through the year, different currencies peak and fall. Getting your currency at the right time could make a huge difference to your purse.
Look for package deals
When you are traveling in a large group (or a family) it is often best to book a package vacation deal. Deals include everything from flights to hotels and sometimes even meals. You should make sure that you look out for great package deals online. You could even talk to a travel agent and ask them to find you the best deals. Doing so will mean that they do all the hard work for you, though they may take a commission for doing so. All-inclusive deals always work out well. Make sure you check on Tripadvisor so see whether the hotel food is good. The last thing you want is to pay for food that nobody will like.
Travel out of season
There is no doubt about it, traveling out of season is the cheapest way to see the world. When you have children, it can be almost impossible to travel out of the peak vacation season. That is because travel companies boost their prices in the children’s school break. That means that you could be paying around a third more for a vacation because you travel during peak season. Try and go just before the end of the school break or right at the start. In the middle of the school break, vacations will be most-expensive.
Find a room with a kitchen
When you are booking your vacation, ask for a room with a kitchen or cooking facilities. Eating out every night on vacation can get expensive. You can save yourself a great deal of money by cooking family meals in the hotel room. Of course, it is nice to eat out now and then, but having the option of eating in the hotel will save you money on a daily basis. Make a point of having a meal in your room for one or two nights during the vacation. You can get ingredients from local stores and feed the whole family on a small budget.
Avoid tourist traps
Tourist traps are ways in which people make money out of tourists who visit. Make sure that you avoid these traps at all costs. For example, someone might try and sell you a rose on the street. Often people buy these things because it is polite. If you weren’t planning on buying a rose from the stores, why do you need to buy one on the streets? Don’t be over-polite, just say no and avoid spending money for no reason.
Find free attractions
Wherever you decide to go, there will likely be free attractions. If you visit a coastal town, you will find that you can go to the beach for free at any time of year. Cities often have free museums or galleries that the children will adore. Find a balance. Take the children to a theme park one day, which will no doubt be expensive. Then, go to a museum the next day, which will be free. That means that you can have a fun and varied vacation without every day costing you a small fortune. Ask local people about free or cheap attractions. They will know better than anyone where to go for a bargain.