Money-Wise Family Vacations

Trips don’t have to cost a fortune. If you think ahead and think outside the box you would be amazed at the savings that are awaiting you. While every kid equates the word vacation with Disney World, a trip like that can cost you anywhere between 5 and 10 grand…and honestly that is not the only way…it’s not the do all end all family vacations there is a whole world and other options to explore.

Recently our family was in this situation: Where to go? What to do? How much to spend? As a family of 6 you can imagine we need to play this game smart in order to not break the bank and frankly we don’t want to be paying for this for the next 5 years but we want to create a vacation of great times and memories! After much time and investigation we uncovered some hot tips and tricks that I thought important to share.

Bigger isn't better ~ More is better
Rather than taking one big trip every five years or so, consider taking smaller ones more often. This requires more planning but there is little question you’ll get WAY more bang for your buck. Think about renting an RV for a road trip, booking a cottage by the lake, visit a new city’s attractions and theme parks, go camping, book a beach front home, to name a few.

Location, Location, Location
When planning a trip, choose a location that holds interesting sights and activities for everyone. Plan activities that are a mixture of indoor and outdoor fun. Remember there are a lot of ways to provide tons of activities for a family at a low cost such as hiking, picnics and days at the beach, which kids all love…and so do our wallets as well! Consider the location of your hotel or lodging and have it be within walking distances to several of your desired activities. Let’s face it parking in these hot spots costs an arm and a leg so lace up those shoes and start walking. It can save you a ton of money (and it’s good for you!).

Hotels need to be managed
Back in the day (ok here I will date myself) we got out the yellow pages book and looked under “Hotel” called the one with the prettiest ad and booked our rooms. Just saying that sounds ridiculous! There are so many ways to book a room, compare prices and packages it is a crime not to take a little time to get the best deal in town. Booking multiple times for consecutive nights can be advantageous, because you get to have access to multiple activities packages without changing hotels! Also, pay the extra money to get better hotels, if your booking a package deal, the actual cost of the room won't be totally out of reach if you choose wisely. Read up on these hotel websites deals directly before booking with them. (i.e stay 2 nights and receive 2 tickets to Wonderland). While generally ticket hotel packages are better they are usually for 1-4 people max as well, so don’t forget to buy the extra tickets at the hotel at the same discounted prices. Hotels will usually sell any amount of discounted tickets to any attractions they have even if they were not expressly part of your package.
Deal Sites

Top Tips
  • Make sure you get your kids involved with the planning ask them what they want most…their answers may surprise you.
  • Use your air miles, credit cards to their full potential – don’t assume (you know what they say about ‘assume’) that they have no offers. Take the 5 minutes and call or visit their web site…it could be time well spent.
  • Remember buying tickets at the concession stands hold full ticket price.
  • Did you know that many major credit cards have cardholder special deals? Check their web sites or give them a call.
  • Use those Airmiles!
  • Look into purchasing tickets through a local city hall or city tourism bureau.

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