By Guest Blogger, Mathews M.
5 Tips for Planning a Memorable Family Vacation on a Budget
A memorable family vacation does not mean you have to break the bank. If you ask me, some of the best vacation moments are those that are the least extravagant and luxurious. Plan ahead when it comes to where to go, what to bring, and what to do once you arrive at the destination. This is the key to managing the money properly and at the same time, having the family time of your life. Of course, you are going to need to work together to keep the vacation on track with the budget.
Here are some tried-and-tested tips to keep things under control.
A game plan
To jumpstart the process of planning, gather as much information as you can. Use this as a reality check to validate your expectations. Select your destination based on research or the recommendations you receive. Try to think outside the box. Ensure that the whole family is onboard when it comes to the budget and travel itinerary: have an open conversation about everything.
In particular, let the kids get familiar with the activities and attractions that could tickle them pink and naturally, give preference and book those that are free or nearly-free.
Time on your side
Many people overlook that timing has an important role to play and that being flexible about it is something that pays dividends aplenty. Traveling prices are all about supply and demand. So, if you book your accommodation just before or after peak season, you should be able to snatch some good deals, for example through a series of spring flash sales.
Steer away from unnecessary expenses and those that take a big bite out of your budget and find an affordable family getaway on time. Then again, note that last-minute traveling can also turn out to be a huge money-saver.
Eat your way to frugality
To squeeze out extra value from your vacation, save money on food. One way to do so is to carry a picnic kit with you as well as to prepare wholesome meals back home. Furthermore, limit yourself to eating just one meal per day in a restaurant (the kids dislike sitting at them anyway). To make this happen, make sure you always stay at a place with a fridge and kitchen.
Hotels that offer a free breakfast are worth your attention as well. Finally, remember to always keep yourself hydrated with reusable water bottles.
Handling the transportation
The most economical vacations entail your family hitting the road in a car or opting for a fly-and-drive trip. In the latter case, take advantage of airfare bargains. Of course, driving your own vehicle is preferable, but you still need to spend some money on gas.
To trim spending in this area, never leave the motor idle during stops and refrain from satisfying your need for speed. Keep your eyes on your fluid levels and purchase quality oil products online from brands like Castrol. Also, make sure to have spare wheels and maintain an adequate tire pressure.
What about accommodation
You may not fancy it, but camping is one of the most frugal ways to organize a vacation and it can also be one of the most rewarding family adventures. Wilderness areas and national parks provide plenty of thrilling opportunities for hiking, canoeing, horseback riding, outdoor recreation, etc.
You can have magical moments sitting around a crackling campfire under the star-studded night sky. Just make sure you take as many home comforts with you as you can. And in case camping is not up your alley, consider cheap motels and hotels.
The world is your oyster
The meat of your plan revolves around keeping down the costs, not impeding your experience and enjoyment. Thus, tackle the major areas of vacation spending and identify smart ways of navigating the minefield of financial decisions.
Do not spend more than you can comfortably afford. Know your destination and route like the palm of your hand. Make good use of money-saving deals. Why go to an expensive theme park if you can spend a comfy morning in a hotel bed, watching cartoons together?
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