Planning a Budget Family Vacation

Dollar in Piggy Bank

Traveling with a family is always beset by unforeseen expenses; it is all part of that
invisible contract you sign up for when you start a family. But there are always ways and
means to minimise costs and they needn’t take the joy out of your annual vacation. Here
are a few tips for frugal families in search of the perfect getaway.

1) Shop around
It may seem glaringly obvious, but many people are creatures of habit. It is all too easy
to go back to the same place you did last year, take the same transport or book through
the same travel company. The internet is awash with price comparison sites and low-
cost deal pages
where you can find great options for a cheap holiday in 2013 that you
may never have thought of yourself. These are natural places to begin your search whilst
some sites even allow you to bid for hotels according to your set budget.
Whenever you find a deal, be sure to call up the hotel and check all the extras
(breakfasts, pool use, ironing boards…) and be sure you’re paying for things you will
actually use. If your travel dates are flexible, try to find out the cheapest times of year in
your destination, as this can depend greatly on weather and other factors.

a family at the car park

2) Cut out hotels
If step 1 yields no results, why not try cutting out the hotels all together? Trailer
vacations and camping trips are time-honored budget options. Orienteering, climbing,
fishing and foraging are popular ways to bond with your children whilst teaching them
more about the world.
If hours cooped up in a car and huddled around a campfire are likely to send your sullen
teenagers insane, then perhaps try a homeswap or short term rental. Plenty of sites
list properties at a fraction of hotel prices; you can choose anything from a room in a
host family house to renting a rural cabin. Home exchange sites also offer the chance to
temporarily change lives with another family at almost no cost.

3) Eat like a local
If you are going abroad choose wisely. Save the Europe trip for another time and head
to South America where the living costs are a fraction of what they are at home. And
when you’re there go shopping with a local. Seek out new tastes and experiences based
on what frugal locals eat - if it is cheap for them, it’s definitely cheap for you.
These are just a few things to bear in mind when planning your vacation. Try and find
out how people celebrate their time off in other nations, particularly those where wages
are lower - it may yield some surprising results.

Images by Images of Money and Holiday Extras, used under Creative Comms license