How to Save Money when Traveling with Kids
Traveling with kids can be a fun and exciting for the whole family. It can also be expensive, especially if you want to travel overseas or across the country. Between transportation, accommodations, and excursions, you may worry how you will be able to afford to travel with kids and ensure everyone has a good time. To save money when travelling with kids, focus on cheaper transportation options and affordable accommodations. You can also plan excursions and activities that will be affordable and fun for all.
Choosing Cheaper Transportation Options
Drive rather than fly.To save money on transportation costs, consider planning an old fashioned road trip with the kids. The price of gas will likely be cheaper than paying for multiple plane tickets, especially if you have a large family. Try to travel with at least two people who can drive so you can drive in shifts, especially if the drive will be long.
- To keep the peace in the backseat while on the road trip, make sure you bring lots of snacks and games for the kids. Keep them occupied with music and singalongs in the car. This way, you can all travel in peace, cheaply.
Use points to book cheaper flights.If you do want to fly to your destination as a family, be sure to use any points or reward miles that you have accumulated to book your plane tickets. Set up a rewards system for air travel through your credit card or through a rewards card for a specific airline. Always check to see if you can use points to reduce the cost of plane tickets or to get better deals on flights.
- You should also do your research on possible flight options so you can find the cheapest one. Compare flight prices online. Watch for flight deals and book them right away so you get a more affordable price.
Consider taking the train.If train travel is an option, look into train prices to see if it will be affordable. You can often buy rail passes that you can use for many days at a time and there is usually cheaper family pricing. Train travel may be a good option if you are planning to travel across the country, such as within Europe or within a specific area in the U.S.
- Some train passes also cover admission to certain attractions and excursions in the area you are travelling to. This may be a good option if you want to also save money on attractions for the whole family during your trip.
Take public transit as a family.Public transit, such as buses, light rail, and trams, are ideal if you want to save money when traveling with kids. Get a public transit pass as a family and use it to get around, especially if you are traveling to major cities or destinations. Often, public transit can be a great way to interact with the locals and see different areas from the comfort of your seat.
- Most public transit passes can be purchased by day or for multiple days. They are often or less, depending on where you are travelling.
Selecting Affordable Accommodations
Travel during the off-season or shoulder-season.Travelling during the off-season can make your travel expenses more affordable, especially transportation and accommodation costs. Going on your trip during the off-season, usually the fall months, will make hotels and other accommodations cheaper than during peak season. Consider booking your trip during the off-season or during shoulder-season, the time between peak and off-peak.
- For example, if you’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World, the shoulder-season is May and September, where crowds are thinner and accommodations are more affordable.
Use hotel points to book a hotel.If you decide to stay in a hotel while travelling, use hotel points to make it more affordable. Collect points over time through your credit card or another rewards card and use the points to reduce your hotel rates. Try to book a hotel during off-season or shoulder-season so you get a more affordable rate. Sometimes booking a hotel during the week instead of the weekend can be a cheaper option.
- You can also try looking online for deals on hotels and book it before you leave on your trip. Often rates are cheaper online and booking in advance may save you money.
Go for a family travel package that includes accommodations.If you are traveling to a destination that is known to be popular with kids and families, such as Disneyland, look for travel packages. Travel packages often include airfare and accommodations at a reduced rate. This could be a good way for you to save money and not have to worry about booking your own accommodations, as it is included in the package.
- If you are travelling to a tropical destination, such as Mexico, you may look into travel packages where you stay at a family friendly resort. Resort packages often include airfare and accommodations.
See if you can stay with friends or family.To really save money on accommodations, see if you can all stay with friends or family who live near your destination. You may plan a trip to see friends or family members who have larger homes where you can all stay together. Or you may set up a blow up mattress that you can then use when staying with family or friends to make your accommodations very cheap.
Planning Affordable Excursions and Activities
Book excursions in advance to save money.Do your research and make a list of excursions you want to go to with the kids. Then, book these excursions in advance, if possible. Often, booking excursions in advance can get you a cheaper rate. It will also put less stress on you to figure out things to do once you arrive at your destination.
- You should also check for family pricing when booking excursions. Often, booking excursions as a group or a family can make them cheaper.
Find free, fun activities for the kids.Excursions can be expensive, even with family pricing. To save money, look for free, fun activities for your kids. Research activities online in the area you are staying in, focusing on those that are free or very cheap. Come up with a fun, free activity for the kids to do while you are traveling.
- For example, you may book a free tour of the city you are staying in for you and the kids. Or you may take the kids to a play area at the resort you are staying in for free activities.
- You can also bring books and games from home with you on the trip so the kids have things to do while in the car or in the hotel.
Bring snacks and light meals on excursions.To save money during excursions and activities, make sure you pack snacks and light meals. This way, if your kids get hungry, you have snacks on hand and can avoid eating out all the time. Buy snacks in bulk when you get to your destination. Prepare a few light meals that travel well and bring them when you are out for the day with the kids.
- For example, healthy snacks like nuts, sliced fruit, and granola bars are all good options. Light meals like sandwiches, mini yogurts, and sliced vegetables are also good for travel.
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