21 Aug How to Have a More Affordable Family Vacation
According to a recent Gallup poll, about 40% of Americans opted not to take a vacation last year. Chances are that many people felt they couldn’t financially afford to get away with their family at some point in the year. That doesn’t need to be the case. If you’re willing to make a few sacrifices, and not stay at an all-inclusive resort, you and your family can still make some never-to-be-forgotten memories on a terrific and affordable family vacation.
Use the Internet to Your Advantage
Sign up to get low-fare alerts from sites such as Kayak or TravelZoo. However, don’t book it until you have checked around – especially with the airline or hotel itself – for the best price. If you find a good deal on one site, see if you can continue the great pricing by getting a package deal. Combining airfare, hotel, and car rental through the same site might result in a great deal.
Get Your Timing Right
Often times, airline rates go up close to the holidays, so be sure to book well in advance of any upcoming holiday, regardless of whether or not that’s the time you expect to travel. Also, the day of your booking makes a difference. Experts say that mid-week, mid-day (specifically Tuesday at 3pm), are when airlines discount seats.
Be Flexible with Location
If you are looking to go on a beach vacation with your family, you don’t necessarily need to go to Hawaii. Check around to see if there are economy-friendly alternatives to your choice of vacation. You’ll see that you can still have a great beach vacation in Ocean City, MD or the Outer Banks in NC. A fun historical vacation could be Washington D.C. or Colonial Williamsburg. You can also look at places that are off-season, like a ski resort in summer, or Disney during the school year.
If you have the right equipment, you can save a lot of money by camping instead of staying at a hotel. Also, a camping trip can offer activities that are a lot more affordable than what you might find elsewhere. Hiking and fishing are basically free, while mini-golf and movies tend to add up. And isn’t it refreshing to be away from everything electronic for a few days? (Don’t ask your kids about that until after they’ve tried it though.)
Stay in Someone Else’s House
A lot of savings can be found when you book a rental through the owners. A condo you find on AirBnB can cost almost half as much as what you find in hotels. Or talk to out of town friends! Maybe you can house swap – they come live in your house while you go visit their city. That also takes care of any cost you may have incurred for a house sitter while you are gone.
A family vacation takes a lot of planning, no matter how you look at it. If you prepare wisely, perhaps working with a financial advisor to set goals throughout the year, you can wind up getting away for a good deal less money than you expected. And that’s not the only thing that will make it worth your effort. Just ask your family about it when you get home and listen to all the great memories they’ll carry forever.