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6 Tips for Family Travel on a Budget

Traveling with a family can be a lot of things. It can be a great way to introduce your kids to new sights, sounds, and cultures. It can be overwhelming to manage, yet exhilarating to execute. It can also be very, very expensive.

Exploring the wonders of the world with your family doesn’t have to break the bank: there are ways to embark on adventures while keeping a watchful eye on your wallet. Here’s what you need to know about saving money and spending smartly while traveling with the family.

Look Beyond Big Cities

Fuse / thinkstock.com

Fuse / thinkstock.com

Large cities offer major entertainment possibilities, but the price tag associated with a trip to a big city—think hotel, food, museum admission, etc.—can be quite high. Not only can it get very expensive, but the hectic pace of a big, foreign city can be overwhelming when wrangling little ones.

Smaller cities, tiny towns, and peaceful countryside stops can offer a respite from high-energy metropolises and are often less expensive to visit. You don’t necessarily need to avoid cities completely, just break them up with side trips to keep the vacation balanced.

Stay Close(ish) to Home
Staying close to home doesn’t mean you can’t leave the house. Look into cities and attractions that are within driving distance, which will save a bundle on transportation costs like airfare and taxis.

As a bonus, exploring nearby destinations will give you a newfound appreciation for the wonders within your own backyard. It can be all too easy to overlook the incredible sights within your own grasp.

Alternative Accommodations
A hotel room can start to feel cramped very quickly when it houses an entire family for more than a day or two. If you’ll be sticking to one location for a little while, look into renting or temporarily subletting a house.

In many places, renting a home is actually cheaper than staying in a hotel room. You’ll have more space and amenities (you can save money by using the kitchen to cook a few meals), and you’ll probably get to experience an area outside of the typical tourist hot spots.

Don’t forget about home swaps: there might be a family just like yours on the other side of the pond, equally curious about your way of life!

Find Fun in the Free
Balance your trip with paid attractions and free distractions. Kids are often quite happy to explore plazas, play in fountains, and watch the exotic, unknown world go by them. Take a cue from your kids, and find pleasure in the little things: picnics in a park, aromatic gardens, and even unusual birds flying in the sky.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask
Many places offer discounts for kids, from airlines to hotels, from restaurants to event tickets. These discounts are not always well advertised, so when booking, be sure to ask the agent if there are any specials for kids. It never hurts to ask!

Apply the Usual Budget Rules
Shop around for a hotel. Scour the internet for deals on flights. Travel in the off-season.

The usual money-saving travel tips are just as applicable for family travel, so don’t forget to brush up on your budget traveling basics. It won’t always be easy, but the extra efforts that you make will allow you to continue seeing the world with your family!


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