School’s almost out and summer is right around the corner. It’s that time of year where you want to hit the pool, beach, or simply just want to get away. Whatever you decide to do, just kick back, relax and enjoy some fun under the sun. Let’s get ready to find ways to cut costs on a family vacation! Why not? We deserve it!
You wake up every morning busting your butt at work so why not “YOLO” it up! It’s important to take time off from work just to relax and escape the daily tasks of our responsibilities. This is an opportunity to make those awesome and priceless memories with your family.
It has been proven that after your vacation, you increase productivity and relationships are improved. Heeeellllloooo, sign me up!
You’re probably wondering how can I afford a family vacation of four? Five? Six? Vacation planning can be extensive and usually requires a lot of money, but it doesn’t have to break the bank totally. Here are 10 tips we’re going to show you on how to vacation while cutting costs and still have a wonderful time.
1.) Start a “vacation” savings account
Planning and saving is the vital point when it comes to cutting cost on a vacation. Decide on an amount that you and your spouse can agree on like how much you want to spend on activities, food, lodging, etc. We DO NOT believe in putting your whole vacation on a credit card unless you plan on paying off the whole balance the next month. Besides, when money is set aside comfortably for activities, you more than likely won’t over spend.
Start saving and planning for your vacation by setting aside money into the “vacation” savings account every month. Make sure the savings account is complimentary at your bank. We don’t believe in banks taking monthly service fees from your hard-earned money. Some banks have savings accounts where you can set up an automatic transfer from your checking to the savings and it’s FREE. Do your research on those banks.
2.) Choose a time of year where it is not so busy
If you plan on taking a trip during 4th of July weekend or the week of Christmas, travel can be expensive. Especially those airplane tickets. We actually tested this out by pretending to book a ticket during Christmas Eve and the cost of the airplane tickets were higher than if we pretended to travel on December 1st.
Schedule your family vacation on an off season to where it won’t be so pricey because those costs can really add up. We recommend Hopper or Skyscanner. We normally find when we look for plane tickets to fly on a Tuesday or Thursday, it’s generally cheaper than flying on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday.
3.) Hotels are overrated
We say this in the nicest way possible. Now they have options like Airbnb and Homeaway to where you can have a full on house with a kitchen and is generally CHEAPER than a hotel stay. Including a kitchen means including a stove, microwave and all the amenities to help you cut costs on food by cooking your own food.
We booked an Airbnb for Ashley’s 30th birthday and let me tell you; BEST INVENTION EVER! (Please read the reviews first and you can always ask the host for a bigger discount if they are hosting their home for the first time). We were able to have 9 guests in a house for as little as $20 per person for two nights. Every couple had their own bedroom and it was so cool knowing we were all under the same roof and still be able to save money. Look into it!
4.) Cut costs by meal planning, grocery shopping and cook in the home
Yes, we know you’re on vacation, we get it. But you came here for tips on going on vacation on a budget. Food and travel are the biggest costs for vacation planning. The typical family of four spends about $4,800 on food while on vacation. That’s probably $35 per person for 3 meals a day for a 6 day vacation. Yikes! Cha ching, cha ching, cha ching. When you cook in your Airbnb home, that costs drops down to $6 per person for one day of meals that includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Yes, you’re on vacation and you don’t feel like cooking, but think about ALL the savings you would be pocketing! That sounds like a good deal to us.
We do know that the point of travel is to the try the food! If that’s too extreme for you, our recommendation would to be to try to eat out one meal a day.
5.) Use your rewards credit card for things you would be doing anyways
When doing this, please be very cautious and responsible while using your rewards credit card. We only recommend doing this IF you know you’re going to be paying off your whole credit card balance the next month. A great tip for this: you know you have to pay the electricity bill out of your checking account, why not put that on your rewards credit card and take advantage of the cash back or travel rewards.
For bills that you would normally pay from your checking account, just use your rewards credit card. Because of this method, Brittany was able to pay for 3 of her family member’s plane tickets using her reward points. This is great because she is getting rewarded for doing the things she would be doing anyway out of her checking account. Go research the best rewards credit cards for travel and cash rewards and make sure you pay the whole thing off the next month to avoid interest.
6.) Use coupons and coupon codes
Whenever we’re trying to find a deal, before we buy we always check to see if there’s a coupon or a coupon code out on the internet. In most cases, there’s always a coupon or coupon code. Use these coupons for renting a car, food and lounging (if you decide you do not want to cook or prepare your own meals) and excursions, getaways and entertainment. Sometimes, there are websites like Groupon, RetailMeNot or Living Social that normally has good deals and coupons. Go check them out and you’ll be surprised on what you can find out there.
7.) Avoid those foreign transactions fees
Those fees can sneak up on ya I tell you. Foreign transaction fees occur when you use your debit card, which is in U.S. Currency (USD), in a purchase that is transacted through a foreign bank. If you are traveling internationally, make sure you get a card that does not charge any of those sneaky foreign transaction fees. Do your research on which card offers this feature. Also, a good tip is to exchange your currency at the airport for departure.
8.) Have a staycation
Who says you have to go away on vacation!? Why not stay local and enjoy what you’re town has to offer. Staycations are always a great option if you can’t really afford to get away and that’s ok. We don’t believe in breaking the bank for a “want”. Vacations are a want, not a need! Staycations help you save on gas and any hotel expenses.
Being in your town can also be a whole lot of fun. Explore a fun local attraction like a museum or some historical landmarks. You’ll be so surprised what you can find on a day’s drive.
9.) All inclusive resorts or cruising
All inclusive resorts and cruises are so much fun!! My sister and I took a cruise to Mexico for 3 days for under $400 for both of us!! Can you say “CHEAP!” They literally have everything packed into one great deal! It includes flights, all-you-can-eat food, lodging, fun activities, and alcohol (woot woot!!) We had such a blast and we would definitely do it again in a heartbeat.
Most of the time, the resorts have some good deals and thrills so always ask the hotel before reserving.
10.) Last but not least, enjoy the experience
Taking a “budgeted’ vacation doesn’t have to be lame when you’re saving money. If you had to ask our kids what is the best part about vacations, they’ll definitely tell you spending time with the family is the best part of every vacation. The main reason why you’re on vacation is to relax and enjoy each other’s company.
Remember, you do not have to spend a lot of money to create priceless moments. You can have the time of your life just playing Dominos, Speed, or Goldfish while you’re on the beach or poolside. Make the most of your time together and RELAX! That’s the definition of a vacation, right??
These are all the top tips on ways to cut costs on a family vacation. Vacations are so fun and when you plan knowing you saved a bunch of money makes vacations even better! You’ll be looking forward to a vacation every year with these savings tips!