Summer is vacation time! The kids are out of school, the days are longer, and the summer sun beckons you to get away and relaaaaaax. But the costs of a family holiday can add up quickly. Worry not, traveling families. You CAN take the kids on a fabulous summer getaway without going broke. These tips will help you save money on your family retreat this summer!
- Set a budget for souvenirs.
Rather than constantly fielding pleas to buy tchotchkes in every gift shop during your travels, set up a budget for souvenirs before leaving home. Tell children exactly how much they will be allotted before your vacation begins and then stick to it! This will help children understand the value of money and how to budget properly. If they spend all their dough on the first trinket that catches their eyes, they will need to learn from the consequences.
- Bring your own snacks.
Buying travel snacks like ice cream cones and funnel cakes can be tough on your pocket book and your waistline. Instead, pack your own healthy snacks like protein bars and trail mix. You can also stop at a local grocery store or market after you arrive at your destination to buy some fresh fruit, nut butter, bread and whole grain crackers or cereals. Stock up on some bottled water, too, rather than throwing away cash in vending machines to stay hydrated.
- Cut transportation costs.
Vacation transportation costs can add up quickly. If you’ll be staying somewhere close to attractions, you may be able to avoid the expense of renting a car by walking, renting bicycles, or using public transportation. Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft can get you to farther destinations, too. Of course, planning an affordable road trip is often more affordable than flying, especially when buying air tickets for many family members.
- Look for free things to do.
Many destinations offer free activities for families. For example, public beaches and local parks don’t cost a thing and are super fun for families. Museums and other attractions will often offer free entrance one day per month, so check ahead and plan accordingly. Do a web search for “free things to do” in your destination before you go.
- Hit up happy hour.
Many family-friendly restaurants offer happy hours in the afternoons with discounted drinks and appetizers. Children often need to eat early anyway, so take advantage of affordable happy hour menus.
- Choose a nearby destination.
You need not spend tons of money on airfare for a vacation from the ordinary. Instead, choose a destination within driving distance. You could even check in to a local hotel and act like a tourist in your hometown. It’s amazing how separating yourself from nagging household chores and errands can bring a family closer together.
- Collect things instead of buying things.
Hunting for specific items—maybe it’s seashells from each beach you stop at, or maps from tourist information offices, or door handle do-not-disturb-signs from hotels—gives kids a mission and keeps them engaged in a trip. Collecting souvenirs along a certain theme sure is a lot cheaper than buying them.
Sources: Travelmamas.com & Tripadvisor.com