Mountain flowers with family on a hike.

Nothing brings a family together like a vacation. It is an opportunity for everyone to take a break from their hectic lives and reconnect. Unfortunately, the holidays don’t come cheap. Americans spent $1.9 billion on leisure travel in 2019. The main expenditures on any vacation are transport, accommodation, and food. As a family, it takes a lot to stick to the budget you agreed on. Read on and learn how you can stay under budget for your next family vacation.

1. Shop Around First

Organizing any vacation requires a lot of planning. If you book the first hotel or flight that comes up, it may not be within the budget. There are always great deals hidden somewhere; you just need to know how to find them. As a parent, the first resource you have is the parent network. Ask around; chances are someone might know how you can get cheap tickets or accommodation. Your next option is to comb through travel websites, specifically keep an eye for family discounts. These sites have all consolidated information on all air tickets, hotels and the rental car should you need them. Take further and call the different companies directly to confirm you are getting the best deal.

2. Decide on a Suitable Destination

Your choice of destination determines the budget. Although traveling halfway around the world is everyone’s dream, you can still have a good time closer to home. What matters is the activities you have planned. The U.S is packed with wonderful destinations just waiting to be discovered. Start searching locally and expand your search radius until you find something. If you are looking for something outdoors, it won’t take long. There are national parks, beaches, hike trails and rivers all over the country. Consider trying white water rafting. There is no shortage of rivers in America. There are California white water rafting trips that take families through California rivers, such as the American river, the Yuba and the Klamath.

3. Timing is Everything

It is no secret that planning a vacation during high season is way more expensive than at other times of the year. It is how the law of demand and supply works. However, you can always escape the high prices by booking as early as possible. Families tend to travel more once schools are closed, so take the earliest flights. Another hack to consider is visiting in the middle of the week as opposed to weekends. Tickets tend to be cheaper on weekdays. The rules apply when you are looking for accommodation. Hotel rooms are cheaper during off-peak seasons. So, strategically time your vacations to take advantage of the lower prices.

4. Make Your Own Meals

Eating out on your family vacation can get expensive really fast. Depending on where you are traveling to, try to hit a local grocery store. Not only will this save your family money overall, but it is a much healthier alternative than eating greasy and unhealthy fast food. Nowadays, there are also many people who want to keep to their diet even if they are out of town. This is easier than it may seem if you can get to a grocery store and plan your meals. If you are on a Keto diet and are trying to save, you can easily pick up milk, eggs, vegetables, avocados, or berries and then plan accordingly.

5. Take Advantage of Coupons and Family Discounts

Although traveling as a family can be hectic, it has its perks. For instance, a lot of airlines offer discounts for families of four if you book 21 days in advance. In addition to the low prices, these discounts guarantee that your family will be seated close together. Something that is not possible if you are booking late. You can also take advantage of travel packages that offer flight, food and lodging at one low price. You can also use your kids to reduce costs. It looks for hotels and restaurants that let kids eat free or at half price. Others offer discounts for every A on the kids’ report card.

6. Minimize Transportation Cost

Transportation is one of the most significant expenses in any vacation. The longer the flight, the higher the costs. However, this cost doesn’t have to be high if you know your way around. The first trick is to avoid checked baggage fees. This cost can be higher if you are traveling as a family. You can try to pack as little as possible. Only bring the essentials to the trip. If that is not possible, consider shipping your luggage ahead of you to reduce cost. Alternatively, you can forget about planes entirely and use a car instead. A little road trip to the destination adds to the adventure. Of course, you will have to leave early, but it will save a lot of dough. Other techniques for reducing transport costs are using public transportation to move around once you get to the destination.

Bottom Line

Hopefully, these tips can help you stick to your budget. There is no need to take a vacation you can’t afford. You will enjoy your family vacation more when you are not worried about the piling bills. If you follow these hacks, sticking to a budget won’t be a problem.