Traveling with kids is stressful on its own. But it becomes more so if you have to stay on budget — especially if it’s tight. Still, ensuring you and your family have a great time on your next trip isn’t impossible. However, it does require you to learn how to save money while traveling with kids. So, if you’re planning your next family vacation and want to ensure it’s as wallet-friendly as possible, here are the best tactics to make that happen.
Pick the Right Time to Go
One of the best ways to save money while traveling is to visit your desired destination during the shoulder season. According to data by NerdWallet, airfare is 23% cheaper (on average) when booked for shoulder season. And if you can travel just before or after the holidays, you can spend up to 50% less, which is a super-smart way to get more out of your budget.
Moreover, finding affordable accommodation is also easier if you don’t try to travel during peak times. A study from Hotels.com found that hotel rates drop around $50-$100 per night during cold shoulder season, showing how much more sensible it can be to take your vacation before Christmas or after New Year’s.
It’s also worth noting that saving money isn’t the only reason why traveling off-season is the better choice for parents vacationing with kids. The less busy months are also more family-friendly due to fewer crowds. Plus, you’re less likely to be bombarded with tourist traps when traveling in late fall, winter, and early spring — especially if you’re planning a visit to Europe.
Learn How to Book Cheap Flights
The second most important strategy you must embrace to save money while traveling with kids is to learn how to find plane tickets that won’t break the bank. Generally, the best tips for scoring affordable airfare for you and your family include:
- traveling during the off-season
- being flexible with your dates
- considering budget airlines
Stay at the Right Kind of Place
No matter your destination, accommodation can range from eye-wateringly expensive to dirt cheap.
But here’s the deal. Booking the best accommodation for traveling on a budget isn’t about how much you’ll pay per night. Instead, finding the best deal means booking a place that will prevent you from spending excessive money on necessary amenities like laundry, entertainment, and food.
For example, staying in an apartment or studio with a kitchenette won’t just allow you to save on eating out. More importantly, a food prep area can make it easier to prepare lunch and snacks for an entire day spent exploring. And that means you won’t have to pay for overpriced, low-quality junk food just to get your kids through a day at the beach.
Similarly, it’s not a bad idea to book accommodation that is well-connected by public transport to the sights you want to visit.
Don’t Feel Like You Need All New Equipment
One of the biggest mistakes families make when traveling is thinking that they need to invest in all the necessary equipment — no matter how expensive.
But consider this. While a big tent or high-quality suitcase may serve your family for years, children’s travel equipment won’t. So don’t waste your family funds on snow and beach gear, cheap collapsible strollers, or other items your kids will only use for one vacation.
Instead of unnecessarily spending your hard-earned money, figure out if you can borrow or rent some of the equipment you’ll need for your vacation. Alternatively, you could also purchase items second-hand. Or you might even get them for free on Facebook Marketplace and Freecycle. Also, don’t forget to ask family and friends if they have some of the items you need. You’d be surprised how much stuff people tend to hold on to.
Consider Alternative Travel Arrangements
Finally, if you’re looking to save money while traveling with kids, consider making alternative travel arrangements.
For instance, a camping trip, though affordable, can be a great way to spend a couple of days or even a full week with your family. Similarly, you might be able to visit family and book a one or two-day trip to a nearby destination.
And if you’re really trying to spend as little as possible, you could even plan a staycation. Find nearby activities that will allow you and your kids to experience something new without having to spend any money on travel and accommodation.
Being a parent unavoidably comes with some financial strain. Nevertheless, good planning and some creative thinking can allow you to give your kids some unforgettable experiences this holiday season.
So, don’t hesitate to explore possible destinations for your next adventure. With a good strategy and a bit of luck, you can book your dream vacation without breaking the bank.
By Sarah Kaminski