Family vacations are one of the most rewarding and adventuresome ways a family can spend their time together. However, planning a family vacation can be stressful, especially when trying to find a deal. There are no shortage of travel destinations, but not all places are created equal and costs can vary by thousands of dollars. How can you save your family money this year when planning a vacation?
The reality of budget family travel is that it’s hard to have it all. It’s rare to find deals for the perfect destination and the perfect time of year for the perfect price. When you accept that and learn how and when to be a more flexible traveler, you will be able to score travel deals that save your family money. Two ways to be flexible with family travel is with your destination and time.
Choose Your Destination
If you don’t care where you go then finding deals is much easier. Basically, you aren’t limiting yourself from any deals that could be waiting for you. Maybe you are determined to plan a beach vacation for your family. Choosing a less touristy beach can save you a few bucks.
Perhaps you want to go to an all-inclusive resort in the Caribbean. Some Caribbean islands are more popular than others. If you aren’t picky, you can find great deals year-round.
Also, not being loyal to a specific resort brand or airline can make finding a deal much easier. You can be flexible without compromising quality if you do your research.
Timing is Everything
With family travel, the timing of your trip can affect costs more than any other factor. Most destinations have a peak season when they are at their busiest, and this is not the best time to find a deal. In fact, the opposite is true. If you are dead set on a certain location but are willing to go during off season, you can save money. You might miss out on some perks to peak season by doing this.
Peak season is peak season for a reason. Over 20 million people visit The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World every year. When do you think most people visit? Walt Disney World’s busiest times of the year are during June and July, as well as Christmas week, New Year’s week and during Spring Break season. Basically all the times the typical family has available to travel!
I have been to Walt Disney World during Christmas and I can confirm that it’s crazy packed! The atmosphere and decor at Christmas time helped, but there were times when we didn’t exactly have the Christmas spirit that week.
If you are willing to visit your favorite travel destination at odd times, you will maximize your travel savings.
For me, I have 4 kids in public schools locally. They also are involved with youth sports. There are only certain times of the year that work for travel without disrupting our entire schedule. My wife is a teacher in another school district and her spring break rarely lines up with the kids’ spring break. Because of this, our only travel times are during peak seasons for most destinations. There are still ways to save, though.
Booking flights at less desirable times of the day can save families money. Even starting and ending your vacation on different days than most people can lower costs. The more flexible your travel constraints, the more you are likely to find a good deal.
Many families utilize rewards travel strategies to save money. Rewards travel is using points and miles to pay for your trip. I bring up rewards travel because, even with points and miles, you still should aim to be as flexible as possible with travel plans.
You can have all the points or miles in the world, but rewards travel is also about getting maximum value for your points. Using points to pay for an overpriced vacation is fine if you are single or a couple and want to live it up. Family rewards travel is more about getting everyone from point A to point B and finding functional accommodations.
The Best Deal
The more flexible you are when booking family travel, the better your chances to find the deal you are seeking. Being open to different destinations and travel dates doesn’t mean you will end up with less of a vacation.
You may find your trip more enjoyable because you freed up funds for excursions and experiences while on your family vacation. Planning and booking family vacations isn’t always easy, but the time spent with your family is more than worth the investment.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kevin Payne is a freelance writer and the family travel and budget expert behind familymoneyadventure.com. You can follow their family adventures on Facebook at facebook.com/FMAdventure and on Twitter at @TheFMadventure.