Written by Barry Choi
Friday, December 14th, 2018
Travelling with kids can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. From saving on attractions to booking a tour, here are 10 tips to help you save money on your next family vacation.
Set Up Price Alerts
Instead of spending hours looking for the lowest airfare, set up a price alert on sites such as KAYAK, Skyscanner or Google Flights so you can get updated prices delivered right to your inbox. The alerts are based on your search criteria, so you can book as soon as you see a price that you're comfortable with.
When it comes to accommodations, it's worth checking hotel websites directly, since they may offer small discounts or free amenities such as WiFi or breakfast. Marriott guarantees the lowest rate when you book through their site, and they even give an additional discount to members of their loyalty program, which is free to join.
Shop at Grocery Stores
Find the closest grocery store once you arrive at your destination, so you can load up on snacks, drinks, groceries and prepared meals. Even if you only have access to a convenience store, purchasing some small items will cost you less than eating every out for every meal .
Rent an Apartment or Vacation Home
Hotels can be expensive and small, so consider a rental apartment or vacation home, where everyone could have their own room. As an added bonus, you'll have access to a kitchen where you can cook some of your own meals. Both Airbnb and Booking.com are great resources to help you find a rental apartment.
Look for Free Things to Do
Every destination has free things to do, you just need to do some research in advance to find out what those things are. Not sure where to begin your search? Check official tourism websites, since they'll typically have family-specific ideas to inspire you.
Many destinations offer passes which will give you access to multiple attractions for one, discounted price. One example is CityPASS which saves you about 40% at top attractions in thirteen different cities. Keep in mind these passes are only worth it if you plan on visiting multiple attractions, so do the math and see if it's better to buy the pass or individual tickets.
Consider Your Flight/Train/Driving Options
Flying will usually be the quickest way to get to your destination, but driving or taking a train could cost you less. If you decide to fly, departing between Tuesday and Thursday will likely be cheaper than flying between Friday and Monday.
Take Public Transportation
Once you arrive at your destination, try to take public transportation, since it'll be much cheaper than a rental car or taking taxis. You'll want to take some time in advance to research how public transportation in your destination works and whether there are any family passes available. Many cities offer public transportation apps, so navigating a new city may be easier than you realize.
Travel During the Off-Peak Season
August and September are the most expensive months to travel, so avoid them if you can. This may not be possible for some parents, but when you travel during the off-peak seasons (April, May, October, November), the price of airfare and accommodations could easily cost you 25% less.
Consider a Tour
If you have limited time to plan, joining a guided experience may appeal to you. Reputable tour operators such as G Adventures, Trafalgar, and Intrepid Travel offer tours that are designed for families of all ages. Best of all, these tours can often be cheaper than booking everything on your own.