A vacation can be a great way to spend quality time with your family. It’s exciting to get away to relax, visit places that you have never been, or revisit places that you truly enjoy. However, vacations can often be very EXPENSIVE if you are not prepared.
I don’t know about you, but when my family and I go on vacation, I want to get the very best deals possible. And I don’t want to spend extra money on things that I can get for free.
If you just take a little bit of extra time in planning your vacation, you will be surprised how much money you can actually save.
Here’s a list of a few tips that I use to save money when planning my family’s vacation:
This tip alone can save you a ton of money. As many of you know, snacks are a necessity when traveling with kids.
Whether you are driving or flying to your vacation destination, you need to have snacks on hand. I always pack snacks that we can have in our hotel room and that I can carry with me.
Snacks that I might bring include: jerky, granola bars, popcorn, fruit, nuts, dried fruit, crackers, cheese sticks, fruit cups, juice boxes, and bottled water. Sandwiches are always a great snack too so I will also pack bread, peanut butter, jelly, and lunchmeat to make sandwiches during our trip.
Don’t forget about packing re-sealable bags to store your snacks or leftovers. I always pack sandwich and gallon bags. They come in handy.
It might sound like a lot of work, but believe me it’s so worth the amount of money that you will save. Believe it or not, when we traveled to Hawaii, I packed a suitcase full of snacks and quick meals that I could cook in the microwave of our hotel. This really saved on our food bill during our stay.
If you are prepared and have snacks on hand, you won’t have to pick up high priced snacks at the airport or tourist attractions when hunger strikes.
Check out this recipe for Simple Homemade Granola.
Pack a First Aid Kit
Sometimes when packing for a vacation we often forget about items that we may need if someone gets sick or hurt. A first aid kit is definitely something that should be on your packing list.
Some items that I include in my first aid kit are band aids, antibiotic ointment, antiseptic wipes, hydrocortisone cream, an adult pain reliever (Ibuprofen or Tylenol), a children’s pain reliever, Tums, sunscreen, aloe vera (for sunburns), Benadryl, and an inhaler (just in case my son’s asthma flares up). Items in your first aid kit may be a little different depending your family’s needs.
If you have these items packed already, you will save time and money if one of your family members gets sick or has a minor injury.
Book a Hotel with Free Parking
If you have traveled much, you already know that some hotels charge for parking. However, there are many hotels that do not. These are the hotels you want to book for your vacation.
Why spend an extra $10-$40 a day for parking? This fee can add up quickly. This money can be used for more exciting parts of your vacation.
If you book your hotel online, you will see in the description whether the hotel charges for parking or not. If it’s not stated, make sure to contact the hotel before arriving. You don’t want to be surprised with an extra fee.
When planning my family’s vacation, I always choose a hotel that has free parking. In my opinion, paying for parking is a waste of money.
Book a Hotel that Serves Free Breakfast
When booking a hotel, I always look for a hotel that serves free breakfast. Many online booking sites will state whether a hotel offers free breakfast or not. Eating a big breakfast in the morning that is free will save money on the food spent to feed your family during the vacation.
Now, I want to make sure that the breakfast being served in the morning is not just pastries and coffee. That type of breakfast would not hold over my family at all. By 10 AM, they would be ready for lunch. So I make sure that I do some research on the type of free breakfast that is offered.
I make sure to read the reviews, look at photos that may show the breakfast area, read any other detailed information that may be listed about breakfast on the hotel website, or even call the hotel for more information. I always choose a hotel that has a variety of items offered during breakfast, such as cereal, fruit, yogurt, waffles, toast and bagels, pastries, or eggs and bacon.
My family knows that we load up and eat a big breakfast. By eating a big breakfast, my family isn’t hungry at lunchtime so we are able to eat a later lunch (I will share more about this in my next tip). After finishing up breakfast, we also take a yogurt or piece of fruit to have for a snack later.
Eat Out Only Once During the Day
As mentioned above, if your family eats a big breakfast, they will more than likely not be hungry at lunchtime. This will allow you to eat a late lunch.
When my family and I go on vacation, we usually eat lunch between 2-3:30 PM. This is a great time for lunch because you will have missed the lunch crowd, and many restaurants are still serving lunch with lunch prices, another money-saver. Also my family is hungry and ready to eat around this time.
If your family eats a late lunch, there really isn’t a need to have dinner. If anyone is hungry later during the evening, you have plenty of snacks that they can enjoy in the hotel room.
Sometimes my family and I will go have ice cream or frozen yogurt for dinner as a special treat. We don’t do this every night, but having a treat once or twice during our vacation is still cheaper than going out to dinner.
With a little bit of planning, you definitely can save on your next vacation. By using these tips, you can save even more money. If you know any other money saving tips that you have used on vacation, I would love to hear them.
Another great post you may enjoy is How To Keep Your Family Healthy on Vacation.