Family vacations can be expensive and stressful if you don’t plan ahead and manage your finances wisely. Fortunately, there are some simple rules that can help you save money on your family vacations. Here are four rules that people who are good at saving money on family vacations always follow.
Rule 1: Choose a Cheaper Destination
The key to saving money on family vacations is to find a destination that is less expensive. For example, if you want to visit Europe, you can save money by choosing Eastern Europe over Western Europe.
Instead of France, head to Poland. It offers a lot of value and history. You can visit impressive castles and historic cities- all at a more affordable price compared to other European cities.
Portugal is also another hidden gem in Europe that offers a lot of value for your money. You’ll enjoy the milder weather, UNESCO World Heritage sites, indulge in the wine and the seafood for less.
If you want something more exotic at an affordable price, Turkey is a great option. You can visit the iconic Hagia Sophia, the ancient ruins of Ephesus, enjoy Turkish coffee- all at a more affordable price.
Rule 2: Consider Cruising as an Option
Another rule that can help you save money on your family vacation is to consider cruising as an option. Cruising can offer a lot of benefits and value for your money.
When planning your family vacation, always compare it to a cruise option. Cruising can save you money because it is all-inclusive. That means there are no additional hotel, restaurant and entertainment expenses.
If you live near a cruise port, then you save even more money because you don’t even need to fly to your destination. You just drive and park.
I live near the New York cruise ports and we usually just take an Uber to the cruise port. It’s so convenient and saves me a lot of money because I don’t have to buy plane tickets for the family! Check out my Pros and Cons of Cruising from New York.
I also like cruising as a family vacation because it allows you to visit multiple destinations without the hassle of packing and unpacking, checking in and out, and traveling between places. You can explore different countries in one trip!
Cruising is also family friendly because it caters to the needs of different family members from kids, teens to seniors. There are kids clubs, shows, excursions- it’s easy to go on a cruise if you are traveling with a big group.
Rule 3: Use Loyalty Rewards to Save Money on Family Vacations
Another rule that can help you save money on your family vacation is to use rewards from credit cards and loyalty programs to save money on your travel expenses.
The key is to stick to one travel rewards credit card and use it for everything, every day– that way you are earning reward points for your family vacation throughout the year. If there are sign-up bonuses, definitely take advantage of that for your upcoming family vacation.
Also, when you redeem hotel rewards, know that many big hotel chains such as Marriott, Hilton and IHG will give you the fifth night free for every 4 consecutive nights you book with points.
I always take advantage of that offer and will only redeem hotel rewards when I have saved up enough hotel points to get the 5th night for free.
Rule 4: Travel Off-Season
The final rule that can help you save money on your family vacation is to travel off-season. I know it’s not always realistic when you are traveling with kids since you are stuck with having to vacation during the peak school holiday season.
However, you can still save money with off-season travel even with school holidays. For example, in the summer, go on a family vacation at a ski resort since summer is off-peak travel times at ski resorts and you should be able to get great deals on hotels.
Head to Vermont to one of the ski resorts. I did that one summer with kids, check out my Guide to Summer Vacations with Kids in Stowe.
You can also get great deals if you travel to places that are really hot in the summer. For example, if you go to Orlando in August, you can save more money than if you go in July.
You can also save money if you travel on weekdays (let the kids skip a few days of school!) The weekdays are usually cheaper and less crowded than the weekends.
Traveling off-season can help you save money on your flights, hotels, and activities.
Saving money on your family vacation doesn’t have to be hard. By following these 4 rules, you can plan a budget-friendly family vacation. Happy travels!