Trying to Save on Family Travel can be a nightmare. Especially when you are planning a big trip there are things you just don’t want to skimp on. But you don’t want to waste money either. There are some simple things you can do that won’t affect the experience and might even enhance it a little bit!
Easy Ways To Save on Family Travel
Carefully Pick The Time You Travel
You know how in real estate it is “location, location, location?” In travel it’s “timing, timing, timing.” If you are flying try to fly at less desirable times or days. If you are going to a theme park try to pick less busy days of the week. When booking online, take advantage of the feature on many sites called flexible-travel-date search, which lets you compare fares for dates a few days on either side of your target. I use this all the time when I fly with Southwest.
Get Tickets in Advance
Almost everywhere you go tickets for events/theme parks are cheaper if you buy them ahead of time. Companies want to sell things online so they don’t have to pay labor to talk to you on the phone or at the box office.
As an examples I am always on the lookout for Busch Gardens Williamsburg Coupons. They have started a new policy with their daily tickets. The less people in the park that day the cheaper it is to enter- as long as you buy online! So online the ticket might be $55 but if you buy at the gate it’s $90 no matter what.
What they are doing is hardly revolutionary- that model is from many popular places around the US.
Know About The FREE Entertainment
If you are heading on a long road trip, visit your local library to stock up on DVDs and audio books for the car. Download some podcasts on family-friendly topics (and there are many about all kinds of topics). When you research your destination look for nearby parks or shopping areas that might have concerts or interesting things to see! On a recent trip to Florida we went to Disney Springs- it was crazy entertaining without spending a dime!
Stay Where You Can Cook Or Get Food Deals
Food is a huge expense when you travel- especially as a family. If possible try to stay somewhere that you can keep some food in the room so you don’t have to eat out. If not consider meal plans. On a recent trip the theme park offered an unlimited day of eating for a flat price and we took advantage- it saved us a ton. If you use a travel agent they can help you understand all the options available to you!
This is also super helpful if you have dietary restrictions. My parents are both vegan so when they travel out of town it’s necessary they have a kitchen to help with the food.
Let the Kids Save the Souvenir Money
When I was a kid we had a big jar in the den (I tried to find one online but everything looks like this now. When did piggy banks get fancy?). Every night when my dad got home he would take whatever change was in his pocket and drop it in that jar. When we went on vacation that was our souvenir money. Have the kids earn extra money around the house or collect change out of the car and couch cushions to use. That way when we went on vacation we knew exactly how much we could spend.
Consider Not Getting a Rental Car
If you are visiting an area popular with Uber or Lyft, or if shuttles are available skip the rental car. I don’t have many memories of our first trip to Disney as a kid but I remember waiting for the rental car. In five year old time it took FOREVER. More and more places are doing shuttles as well.
My mom and I just went to Orlando and used car services everywhere. It was much cheaper than a rental car.
Use a Travel Agent
After my last trip to Florida this is my new frugal travel advice I give you everyone. Travel agents are 100% free to you as the good ones are paid by the resorts and destinations.
Your travel agent has inside information. A good agent has visited where you are going and knows things that normal people might now. They also watch your reservations for future discounts that may lower your cost. If a discount is released that would apply to your vacation they automatically have it added to your reservation. They guarantee that you will get the best price available for your vacation. And you get the same person all the time. They will know you and your family.
While none of these things are mind-blowing they are all great to remember. Just the library and the piggy bank alone can save you hundreds of dollars- not to mention a lot of frustration!
Because you are frugal you need to use the right travel agent to find you all the best deals. Check out A Frugal Chick’s Favorite- Destinations in Florida.