Memorial Day is right around the corner. Have you started planning your summer vacations yet?
Do you take a family vacation every year? Where do you typically go and how much does it cost you? What if I told you that you that for the same amount of money (or less), I could teach you how to go somewhere nicer or do more at that vacation spot you love. Yes, it is possible. Let’s check out the list!
My 5 “Not So Obvious” Family Vacation Tips
1) Stop Planning – I know, it almost sounds counterintuitive to what you should do to save money on your vacation. Typically, you’re taught to plan where you’re going in advance because if you wait until the last minute, everything will be much more expensive. While this is still the case for some items, there are benefits to waiting before choosing your exact destination. Websites such as TravelZoo or CheapCaribbean offer last minute deals on all-inclusive getaways and cruises all over the world. I once saw a weeklong trip to Aruba for only $800, which included the flight, the hotel stay, some events, and all of the food! Sometimes it pays to wait.
2) Stay Connected to Your Friends – With the help of Facebook, it’s pretty easy to stay connected to your friends today. And, since our world is becoming so globalized, your friends will most likely move to all corners of the world. While this may be tough to deal with at first (since you no longer get to see your friends every day), it provides a great reason to visit a new area on the globe and to do it for cheap (since you’ll be staying with your friend)! Just offer to pay for their food for the week and it’s suddenly a win-win situation.
3) Buy Groceries, Not Fine Dining – The purpose of your vacation is most likely to explore a new area that you’ve never experienced, not to eat at a chain restaurant that is prevalent in your own hometown. With a week-long vacation, it is much cheaper to go to the grocery store at the beginning of the trip than to eat out for every meal. This small tip could very easily save you $200-$400!
4) Learn From the Locals – No matter where you’re vacationing to, there will be “must see” attractions that are sent your way which aren’t really that great of an experience. Unfortunately, you won’t know this until your money is already spent! Do your due diligence on this one and try to learn from the locals. Whether your vacation is at the luxurious belmond cap juluca in Anguilla or a magnificent riad in Morocco, find a blog about local fun or connect with a friend of a friend that can give you some quick tips on what to see. Oftentimes, the best attractions are the ones that are free!
5) Explore, Then Do – For many of us, when we go on vacation we feel like we have to hurry up and do as much as we can, but this is no way to vacation at all. Once you finally get home, you’re more exhausted than when you left, and you’re way poorer than you expected too! Instead of charging forward and doing a bunch of activities that are presented to you that first day, take it easy and go for a stroll around the city. Make a mental note of what you’d like to do and see. Not only will you enjoy yourself more, but you’ll have save some of that money in your pocket.
How do you save money on family vacations without skimping on fun? Let’s share notes in the comments below….
When I was a kid we used to go away for the full two months holidays, but it was far from breaking the bank. We would go visit my grandparents and stay with them, so apart from the gas to get there and the occasional pony ride we didn’t spend much, then we went to the other grandparents and a few friends of my parents who had kids my age. A good change of scenery at a low cost.
Darnell Jackson says
Ha haaaaa! that’s what I’m talking about Stan,
Save money screw a $150 tab at some fancy smancy over rated restaurant.
Life is for living, get out and enjoy the out doors it’s awesome and FREE!
I save money by going to nearby parks and the beach and just using common sense to satisfy my old school sensibilities.
Mrs PoP @ Planting Our Pennies says
We tend to tack on to work trips. When one person’a flight and a hotel room are already paid for, it’s nice to tack on an additional person for just a little more.
It’s also a helpful tactic when we don’t have the luxury of months of vacation time like some people do.
We used to travel or vacation with friends. One of my more memorable vacations was sharing a beach house with friends. We shared the meals and the children played together. We did this for years.
Lance @ Money Life and More says
We can’t plan our next vacation yet due to my fiancee’s foot uncertainty. We’re hoping to snag a last minute cruise at a decent price… but we’ll see if it happens or not!
And use Evernote! We just finished a family vacation to Cincinnati and kept all of our planning in Evernote so we knew where the addresses where of the local grocery stores as well as our friends homes. We had a tight itinerary so we weren’t wasting time and money somewhere we didn’t want to be. I saved all the coupons for an amusement park and chose the best one to use once it was time to purchase tickets. Total cost for a family of four for two days, one night and two full days of stuff was less than $500.
Average Joe says
Great addition, Mike! I love Evernote. Was it King’s Island you were heading to? The Beast is one of my favorite coasters.
Cooking on vacations also offers some great interactions with family, versus dining out.
I was always the last-minute guy when planning trips as I always found much better deals. Part of the planning included a kitchen of sorts where I would stay so I could pick up groceries and cook once in a while. I also fancied trying new foods that the locals cooked but it was pretty cool to try and make foods from the different countries I visited where I was staying. There’s always ways to save when vacationing!
Laurie @thefrugalfarmer says
Great tips, Stan! As we are now on, due to our journey to debt free “Cheap vacations or no vacations”, I will definitely utilize these tips the next time we plan something. Thank you!!!
KC @ genxfinance says
Buying groceries helps a lot. We do this when we take a vacation but still wants to save money.
DC @ Young Adult Money says
“For many of us, when we go on vacation we feel like we have to hurry up and do as much as we can, but this is no way to vacation at all.” So true for 99% of us! I also liked your tip of “stop planning” though this is nearly impossible for type-A personalities 😉 I can’t help but organize everything ahead of time. I do try to specifically carve out time where nothing is planned.
These are indeed practical tips. I dont agree to stop planning though. 🙂 Thanks for the share!
Average Joe says
Funny. I’ve found that overplanned vacations are absolutely awful.
I love your tips! Now that I have a family of my own I am starting to plan vacation trips. Apparently, your #1 tip says STOP PLANNING, well I guess I have to wait further.