17 Clever Ways To Plan A Family Vacation On A Budget

planning a family vacation on a budget
Are you planning a family vacation on a budget? Read on to find 12 tips for saving money when planning family vacations so that you can create experiences and lasting memories!

It’s no secret that traveling with kids can be a difficult and expensive process.

From booking plane tickets and hotel rooms to activities and foods , the costs of planning a family vacation add up fast.

It’s easy to feel intimidated when you start to add up all the costs. With a few tips and tricks, you can experience the perfect family vacation without breaking the bank.

In this post, we’ll share our favourite strategies for saving money on transportation, accommodation, activities, and more.

While everyone’s budget will vary, these tips will make it possible for you to avoid waste and save money while traveling as a family.

With our budget-friendly tips, you can create unforgettable memories without feeling like you’re overspending.

Is It Worth It To Travel As A Family?

You might be wondering to yourself if family travel is really worth it in the first place.

Sure traveling the world was fun when you were single. But with kids, it’s a whole different ball game.

We’re not going to lie, family travel is tough and it’s never as pretty as the Instagram pictures make it out to be. But the benefits of family travel are worth every penny.

In fact we believe in traveling and exploring as a family so much that we decided to start this travel blog to encourage other young families to travel more and travel better.

Kids learn a lot from traveling and families are able to bond and connect with each other in a way that’s difficult in their usual routine.

Some of our favourite childhood memories involved travel. Both our parents invested a lot in travel, making sure that we got to experience the world from a young age.

I’m very grateful for the opportunities that I had with my family growing up, and I hope to impart that curiosity for the world to our children to hopefully pass on to future generations.

So yes- family travel is worth it despite the obvious challenges.

How We Afford To Travel As A Family

These are the questions you may be asking yourself: How do they afford to travel with kids? How do all the other families afford it?

While we certainly don’t travel full time (yet), we do still get asked how we’re able to afford some of the trips that we’ve been on.

The answer is two part.

  1. We make money through our 9-5’s and respective side hustles.
  2. We plan and budget for travel.

These are the fundamentals of how we are able to travel the world as a family without breaking the bank.

Learn more about how we save money for travel.

Planning A Family Vacation On A Budget

Plan & Budget For Each Trip

Before you start planning your trip, you’ll need to set an overall budget.

Financial experts suggest that you should spend about 5-10% of your total income on travel per year. If your total a household income is $40,000, that means you should budget ~$2000-4000 for vacation.

You’ll want to start by determining what that number is for your household. Once you know this you’ll need to decide whether you want to do one big trip or split it up into several smaller trips.

Having a clearly defined budget is an important first step because it allows you to make more intentional decisions as you plan.

Use Travel Reward Points

Smart travellers know that reward points are the way to go when trying to save on travel.

The key is to choose credit cards that allow you to earn travel points. You can also use credit cards whose points can be transferred for travel points. For instance, you can transfer American Express MR points 1:1 to travel partners like Aeroplan and Avios.

Whenever you make a purchase using your credit card, you earn points that can be redeemed for plane tickets, hotels, car rentals and more.

This can be an incredible way to plan even luxury trips and family vacation on a budget.

Book Early

Did you know that the average family spends $500 more than they planned because of last-minute deals?

Planning ahead and booking your travel as soon as possible is important to do, so that you get the best deal.

If possible, you can even start to plan your trip as far as six months in advance so that you can take your time comparing rates and find the cheapest ones.

I always like to use travel apps like Hopper to find the best deals. Simply enter your destination and the app scans the internet for all the available flights and summarizes it, allowing you to book the best date and time to travel.

By planning ahead, you also have the opportunity to plan for extras. For example, if you know that your family likes to stay at a certain chain of hotels, you may be able to find family deals or discounts when you give yourself more time to plan.

beach family vacation

Plan Family Travel During The Offseason

Planning a family vacation during the off-seasons will always be cheaper.

Not only this, your destination won’t be as crowded, which means that you’ll be able to enjoy spending quality time with the family without dodging crowds.

Finally, many family destinations offer special family packages during these times. Take advantage of off season pricing if you’re looking to cut cost and save money for your family vacation.

Do Your Research On Places Around You

There are so many family travel deals and discounts available, it’s important to do your research!

For example, if you’re looking for a beach destination that doesn’t involve flying too far away from home, you can find destinations nearby.

Due to travel restrictions during the COVID pandemic, our family has been able to explore lots of places nearby.

I’m almost embarrassed to say that we had been living in Ajax Ontario for 3 years before we realized the beach we had been driving past was only 30 minutes away.

Do your research, and you’ll be able to find family-friendly destinations that don’t involve having to fly too far or spend a lot of money!

This is an often overlooked way to plan your family vacation on a budget.

Stay Flexible

Staying flexible with your travel plans can save you a lot of money.

For example, if you are looking for flights to New York but the prices seem too high, try Florida or California instead. You may find a better deal that way.

Similarly, if you want to stay at one hotel but the rates seem too high, try looking around for other options in the same area. When you are open to alternatives, you can save a lot of money without sacrificing your travel experience.

Look For Family Travel Packages And Deals

Consider doing family vacation deals that include accommodation, meals and activities. You can find these special family travel packages at many destinations around the world.

Offering a great value for your family’s trip is an excellent way to save money because you are getting everything bundled into one price (no need to worry about paying separately).

One family package we found offered two nights at a hotel, three meals per day for four people and access to all of the family activities.

The best part is that it was cheaper than booking everything separately!

Pack Light

Going on vacation can be very exciting – but packing for your family trip isn’t always an easy task.

Packing light can help you to save money on your family vacation.

Easier said than done when traveling with kids. But when you pack light, it’s easier on your wallet and also on your patience.

If you’re going somewhere with a lot of walking (like many family destinations), this is much easier said than done. However, you can make it possible by packing your child their favorite toys and books to keep them occupied during the journey or provide entertainment for long car rides.

For example, we always have little bags of snacks with us and a car full of family games to keep the family entertained.

In addition, when you’re packing light, it’s easier to go places without spending too much money on luggage fees. Many airlines are now offering different baggage options for families that want more than one checked bag but don’t need all six allowed pieces to move around the airport and find a good deal on luggage.

Carry-on bags are also much cheaper than checked baggage so make sure that all of your essential items fit in one bag.

Pack Your Own Snacks

One of the areas where we spend a lot of money during trips is on food.

Having snacks on-hand or packing a way to prepare your own food can help you save on costs.

Bringing your own food is not only cheap but it’s also healthy for the kids.

Opt to find accommodation that allows you to prepare your own meals. Even simply bringing water bottles will save you the cost of buying bottled water when you are out and about.

Stay At A Hotel With Onsite Entertainment

One of the best tricks that I’ve found to save money when traveling is to stay at a hotel that has entertainment such as an onsite water park, arcade or other family activities.

This can often cut down on costs for family activities and even on transportation. This is also great if you want to get up early for an activity on the day of check-out without having to pay for parking.

Use Local Transportation

Another way to save money on family travel is by using local transportation.

Public transit systems are a great option for families that want the freedom of exploring without being tied down to expensive taxi fares or high gas prices.

Many cities offer family passes, and it’s often cheaper than renting a car as well!

Use Family-Friendly Accommodations

When traveling with family, it can be difficult to find family-friendly accommodations.

Many hotels have family rooms that are cheaper and more spacious than a regular room for just two people. Similarly, resorts will often offer family rates or discounted rates if you bring your kids along.

This is especially important when travelling in the summer heat. Accommodations with family-friendly pools are also a great way to save on money by not having to pay for expensive daycare or activities while you’re out and about exploring the area.

Don’t Spend A Lot Of Money On Tickets & Souvenirs

It’s easy to spend a lot of money on family-fun tickets and souvenirs.

However, there are many ways that you can get around this problem without breaking the bank.

One way is by purchasing family fun passes in advance or using them online so that your family doesn’t have to wait in line for hours at amusement parks Another trick is to buy family fun passes from a reseller.

This can save you up to 50% on family-fun tickets.

If your family doesn’t need souvenirs then don’t purchase any! A great way of saving money at the end of the trip.

Instead, take home memories that will last a lifetime.

Rent Baby Gear

For family travelers with little ones, this can be a great way of saving money.

Many rental companies will provide baby gear such as strollers and high chairs for the family to use at no additional cost.

This is also an option if you want your kids to have more independence but don’t feel like lugging around bulky gear in your carry-on bag.

Stay At A Hotel With Free Breakfast

No matter how much you love your family, nothing is worse than being dragged out of the family bed to go out and find breakfast.

Stay in a family friendly hotel with free breakfasts, or even better, one that offers room service!

Plan For Multiple Destinations At Once

Planning a trip to two or more countries can save you money on transportation fees.

For instance, for our one-year anniversary, we planned a trip to Paris. We also used this opportunity to explore the South of France- a short 1-hour flight away. This gave us a few days in another beautiful location and we only spent a few hundred dollars to make this happen.

Now imagine if we chose to do just Paris and then come back to visit the South of France another time, we would pay close to double what we did for that trip.

We didn’t stop there. After The South of France, we headed down to Marrakech to enjoy the last leg of our trip.

If you have the time to extend your trip, it’s really worth it to try to combine multiple destinations.

Start Saving Now

The best way to save money when family vacationing is by starting the savings early.

Try and set aside some of your budget from at least six months in advance so that you are able to take advantage of deals when they come up.

You can also use this time to find out about family-friendly destinations

So there you have it- a few of our favorite trips for planning family travel on a budget.

Saving money when traveling with times can be tough. But there are ways to cut down on costs without sacrificing the quality of your trip, and it doesn’t take a lot of extra effort.

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to plan a family vacation on a budget. You may have to think outside the box sometimes. With a little creativity you may. be able to find some great deals and save money on your next trip.

Hope these tips help you to feel inspired as you plan your next family holiday.

Leave a comment and let us know if you have any additional tips! We would love. to hear from you!  


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