luggage in car save money on family vacation

6 Ways to Save Money on Family Vacations

There is something appealing about getting away as a family. I think we all want to but sometimes it doesn’t seem like it is in the budget. That is why I have come up with six ways to save money on family vacations.

Often when we hear the word vacation we immediately think– vacation=expensive. Maybe it depends on how you define the word “vacation”. We have gone on many family trips, some long, some short, but we call them a vacation no matter what.

If we are getting away, even for just a long weekend, in my book, it’s a vacation.

Changing the wording from “trip” into “vacation” is a surefire way to get everyone more excited. It’s all in our mindset. Maybe redefining what you consider to be a “vacation” will help you decide that this is the year your family will go on a vacation, no matter the size of your budget.

There is a FREE Vacation Planner at the bottom of this post, and a bonus Travel Journal for Kids, so be watching for that. Or skip to the bottom if you just can’t wait. 🙂 Yippee for vacations!

Here are 6 ways we save money on family vacations:

1. Drive instead of flying

Sometimes you are headed somewhere where you really must fly (hello, Hawaii!), but most of the time that isn’t the case and you may save money by driving. Do some figuring to see if driving is the better option for your vacation.

If you don’t want to put extra miles on your car, look into renting a car for your trip, ahem…vacation. Sign up to be an email subscriber on a few different car rental websites and you will get discounts and offers in your inbox. Wade through the offers until you find one that will work for you.

2. Stay with family or friends

If you are going somewhere and have friends or family nearby, see if you could stay at their place. This will definitely save you some money. Bonus–you will get to see your family or friends.

‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’ applies here. Be respectful of their space. Clean up after yourselves. If you eat meals with them, help prepare the meal or offer to wash the dishes. Making sure that you and your kids follow those common sense rules will make it a more enjoyable stay for all.

3. Find a good hotel or Airbnb deal (if you are not able to stay with family or friends)

If you don’t have family or friends nearby, be sure to check different websites to find the best prices for places to stay. Try Expedia, Airbnb, other similar websites, or check directly on hotel websites to find the best deals (example: Marriott).

4. Take and make your own food

Eating out can be so expensive. If you are staying with friends or family you should have a kitchen available to use. Some hotel rooms have kitchens in the room, most have at least a fridge and microwave. Take advantage of these!

Plan out the meals you will eat on your vacation. If possible, buy as much of the food ahead of time as you can and take it with you. Look over your vacation plan and try to make a way to eat where you are staying (hotel or house) for as many meals as possible. See if you can be creative and just eat out once a day or every other day.

5. Plan ahead

If you have a plan ahead of time that will help save money in a number of ways. You will be able to make an estimated budget. You will know about how much you will spend and that will help you watch your spending to try to match with your budget.

It will also give you an idea of what you plan to do so you will be less likely to splurge on spur of the moment ideas.

6. Be creative about souvenirs

There are different ways you can handle souvenir purchases. Be super creative about souvenirs. You can look for rocks, etc. to take home as souvenirs from your vacation. You could take pictures in each place and have your kids write in their Travel Journals (hint: you can get a FREE one down below). Then after you get back home you can put it all together in a memory book of the vacation.

Souvenirs don’t need to be purchased in a store to be special. If you do decide to buy souvenirs, plan out how much you want to spend ahead of time and stick to it. Your kids can even use allowance money or birthday money to buy their own souvenirs.

Planning a family vacation doesn’t have to be stressful or expensive to be memorable. Following these six tips will help you save money on your next family vacation.

Grab the FREE Travel Planner (& Travel Journal) below to help you plan your vacation.

How do you save money on family vacations?

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