Vacations are a time for the entire family to come together and spend some quality time with each other. Even though it is a lot of fun, money can be a huge question when it comes to paying for an entire family’s trip so here is a list of ideas you can use to save money on some of the expenses:
Make your plans in advance:
The smart thing to do would be to plan your vacation months in advance so that you have sufficient time to look for discounts and fare concessions. A trip planned in a hurry won’t leave you with a lot of options for saving.
Book round trip air fares in advance:
Booking the air fares months before the trip is a great idea because the it’s usually cheaper at that point of time. Also, when you book tickets on the internet for a round trip, the combo costs lesser than individual tickets to and fro a destination.
Carry the basics from home:
Don’t waste money by buying medicines, ointments, creams, etc outside. These are some basic essentials that you can carry with yourself before you leave for your trip.
Consider the option of home exchanges:
A great alternative to staying in a hotel is a home swap. If you can find a family that’s interested in seeing your city and is open to the idea of a home exchange, you can save up on all your hotel bills.
Cook your own meals:
Cooking a meal is a cheaper option as compared to eating out. You can eat lunch outside everyday as a part of your cultural experience and cook dinner in your hotel room/ guest house. Ask for hotel rooms that have microwaves in them.
Be a local:
Try to live like the locals. Interact with them and ask them about restaurants where you can sample the local fare such as small bistros that stay hidden from tourists. Stay away from restaurants frequented by tourists because they are usually very expensive.
Book a bus tour:
If you really want to see all the major attractions of the city/town, the best way to go about it would be by getting tickets for a tour bus. Not only will you save on cab fare and gas money but you will also cover more ground in a day.
Consider the option of renting a house:
At times, renting an apartment for an entire week or two weeks turns out to be cheaper than living in a hotel. You can check this option out and save some more money.
Go to a place where the dollar has a higher exchange rate:
If you are planning to go abroad for your vacation, consider going to a place where a dollar has more value than their local currency. That way, you will be spending less money for eating outside, buying clothes and gifts or even for your stay.
You can also stay in hostels:
The concept of a hostel has undergone a massive makeover and they have become more hygienic. They are not the abodes of smelly backpackers any more. A hostel or dormitory costs less than your average hotel so if you can find something for your family, it will be worth it.
Try to plan an off season trip:
Going to a place during off season is always more affordable. Consider going for skiing towards the end of March because the resort prices generally go down by then.
Give your kids their own spending money:
Instead of buying everything for your kids, give them some money and let them buy their own things. You will end up spending more if you buy things for them. Let them be responsible for their own purchases and decide what they want to spend on.
Use your credit card wisely:
If you are going to a foreign country, don’t use your credit card frequently because credit card companies usually charge a foreign transaction fee. Whenever possible, use cash instead of your card.
Look for cheap package trips:
Some travel companies provide all inclusive affordable packages so speak to a travel agent to see if he can give you a discount on a package or get you something in your budget.
Most of the hotels serve complimentary breakfast so eat as much of it as you can. If you eat sufficient breakfast, you won’t feel the need to have a heavy lunch and you can save up on lunch money.
Rent a car that suits your needs:
If you are considering a rental car, rent a vehicle that suits your needs. There is no point in renting a really big vehicle if you are a family of three.
Drive the distance:
If your destination is close by, calculate the cost of driving there instead of catching a flight. Driving to nearby places is more affordable than flying.
Look for places where ‘kids eat free’:
You can save a lot of money on food by booking a hotel where the kids don’t get charged for their food. Enquire about this option before you book your hotel.
Stay with family:
If you have family or friends who stay close to your vacation destination, rather than looking for a hotel, stay with them. It’s a great money saver for a family vacation.
Pack food before you leave:
If you are driving to the destination, make some sandwiches at home and take them along with you. That will help you to save some money on your way to the destination because you won’t have to make pit stops for buying food.
Use the public transportation system:
The fun of a vacation lies in blending with the locals. Instead of taking a cab or a taxi, use the public modes of transport like buses, subways and trains. They will help you to save a lot of money.
Shop like the locals:
Don’t shop from places where the tourists usually go because those places are always more expensive. Instead, talk to the locals to know about some secret shops and places they go to for shopping.
Take old clothes when you leave home:
You can take old clothes (clothes you don’t plan to wear for long) with yourself if you are planning to shop during your vacation. On your way back, you can leave the old clothes there and bring back the new ones thereby saving the money you would have had to pay for the extra baggage.
Buy souvenirs from duty free shops:
Duty free shops are a great place to buy souvenirs from when travelling abroad. Even though there isn’t much variety in the products available, you will not have to spend money on paying unnecessary customs duty.
Check your bill before you pay:
Before you pay your hotel bill, look through it carefully to make sure you don’t get overcharged. At times, they charge you for cancelled orders or services.
This post is written by Steve. Check out more money saving tips by him.