This article has been sponsored by Giving Assistant but all opinions are my own.
- Search around on tons of travel websites. I know sites like Kayak and Priceline search multiple hotels, rental cars and flights but not every site will give you the same deal. I search probably 7-10 sites before I decide what I’m actually going to book. Half of the time once I’ve found the deal on a site like Priceline I go to the actual site for the company (the specific hotel or airline) to see if they have that same price. Comparing prices is an easy way to save you some money.
- Opt for a cruise. You could smell that coming from a mile away, right? A cruise is an awesome bang for your buck (unless you’re on Disney which is at least 3x’s higher in price than other cruise lines). The cost of a cruise includes lodging, food, entertainment and access to unique destinations you might not otherwise visit! Don’t get hit with hidden fee’s of cruising, research and be prepared but it’s reasonable to expect to pay $100 per person per day on a cruise (yes, that is a great deal!)
- Book travel through cash back sites. If you are going to pay for your trip, why not get a little bit of that money back? Well you can! Use a site like Giving Assistant to book travel with Priceline, who gives 3% cash back, or score a Groupon Getwaway who gives a whopping 12% cash back! Giving Assistant gives the commission they earn through your booked travel BACK to you directly. They pay within days with a payout of $1. Pretty sweet system, right? Giving Assistant works with hundreds of sites, not just these listed. Go, search and save! Looking for a promo code? Skip the promo code and shop through Giving Assistant to get your cash back!
- Store your spare change to use on vacation. Whenever my husband gets change he brings it home and puts it in a coin roller. When we get change in our car (after going through a drive thru) we just throw it in a cup holder. When the cup holder gets full I’ll bring it in and put it in the coin roller. After a few months this change adds up. I now have over $80 in coin rolls in my top drawer in my room. We’ll just keep this process going until we are ready to cash it in at the bank and have this spending money on our next trip. My souvenir budget is the spare change amount.
- Research your destination/activities to take advantage of freebies. Some museums have discounted days. Some will give you a discount if you bring in canned food for the local food bank. Lots of movie theaters have discounted days or times. If you have a membership to a local zoo or museum, that membership may be continuous to other zoo’s or museums. Often time big cities will have free attractions. The St. Louis Zoo is one of the most beautiful zoo’s in the country and it’s free!! There are fun little children’s museums in several cities we have been to that were free to visit.
- Consider visiting major attractions but not going in them. For example, we wanted to go to the Arch in St. Louis so we parked and visited. The cost to go up in the arch was crazy expensive so we opted to just walk around the grounds, visit the shops and exhibits underneath the arch, take family pictures in front of the arch but not actually go up. My kids still tell their friends about going to the arch, they have the happy family memory of being at the landmark but we didn’t pay to go up to the top. If you have a major landmark like that on your list consider visiting but not actually going up, inside, through, or whatever the case may be.
- Often times staying in a vacation rental will be the best deal. Not only can you stay in a multi-bedroom condo or townhouse for a similar cost of a hotel, you will then have access to a kitchen, more space and in some cases a washer/dryer. Having your own kitchen will save you tons of money on food. Preparing your own food and snacks will be a lot easier on the budget. Being able to wash your clothes will enable you to bring less clothes, a smaller suitcase and not have to pay to check a bag!
- Pre-pay for what you can in advance. If you are able to pay for your attraction tickets, lodging, transportation and anything else before you even leave, do it! This will help you stay on budget since most of the trip will have been paid for before you go. This will also get the major expenditures out of the way so you’ll only have to be concerned over food, souvenirs and little expenses. This is also a great way to help you plan your exact itinerary and know what to expect day-to-day.
What are some of the ways you keep your family travel on budget?