Best Travel on a Budget – Insider Tips
Best Travel on a Budget to make the most of your family vacation dollars.
Airplane travel tips
- Make your travel plans early. The closer you get to the desired departure date the more expensive flights will be.
- Travel off season when the flights are not as full. The fares for these times of the year will be significantly less expensive than peak season travel. Your toddlers do not have any school or work schedules to follow, so take advantage of that opportunity while they are young.
- Being flexible with your travel dates will also save money. If your departure is mid-week the fares are the cheapest. It is okay to spend only 7 totals day instead of including two weekends for a total of 9 or 10 days.
- Budget airlines can be great savings for air travel. Plan for luggage when you book flights to be charged the lowest price. Packing smart is the key for the cheapest luggage pricing.
- Travel home from a different airport sometimes is cheaper than returning to your original destination.
- Use frequent flier miles. Even if you do not travel a lot. You may have a credit card that accrues miles that you could use. Even one ticket for free help reduces the cost.
Best places to stay
- Book hotels that are outside of a city and also that are not a well-known hotel chain. Hotels in a smaller town a few miles outside of the larger city will have a cheaper rate. The best-known hotel chains have many nice amenities but they will also be the most expensive choice.
- Try options other than a hotel. B&B’s, Air BnB, VRBO, Hostels, Home Exchanges are just some of the options. There are many benefits that come with alternative arrangements. More room for a cheaper price, home cooked food, cozier accommodations, to name a few. Some of these are inexpensive and others are free. The amenities will vary for each of these options. It is important that you search for the one that will fit your travel situation the best.
- Book these accommodations early for the best pricing and the greatest availability.
- Traveling off season will provide your cheapest rates for your accommodations.
Best food options
- Avoid touristy restaurants. These are the most expensive and usually the most crowded as well. Get off the beaten path. Restaurants that are filled with locals usually have the best food for the least money.
- Picnics save money. With toddlers and a larger family sitting down at a restaurant will take a lot of time and money. Grocery stores, delis or food markets provide many options that will be more family friendly and reasonably priced.
- Plan for eating some meals where you stay. Breakfast is an easy meal to prepare and eat wherever you are staying. Throw a sandwich, some fruit and chips in a bag for lunch. This will save time and money as you will not have to interrupt the day’s activities looking for a cafe. A few evening meals could be prepared where you stay for additional savings.
- Pick a few must see places at your destination and then fill your days with what is free! Parks, concerts, villages at many destinations are free to visitors. Check the schedules at museums and zoos to see when they offer a free day.
- Check ahead for discounts, city passes, Groupon in the cities that you will be visiting. Look for offers with bundled admissions to several museums and attractions within larger cities. Sometimes the passes will allow you to skip the lines as well. Amusement parks and other attractions also offer reduced prices for tickets purchased in advance online.
- Plan your activities in advance. Print maps at home for free. Books all stays and reservations for tickets in advance for additional savings to avoid the up-charge on last minute arrangements through the concierge.
Best transportation tips
- Walking and public transportation is your best and cheapest options if your destination is in a city. Many city hotels charge to park a car during your stay. There are also additional parking fees when you move your car to another destination. Check before traveling for maps that will help you navigate your destination.
- Traveling by car if you are covering any amount of distance in a state will be your cheapest option. Many people in one car are cheaper than several tickets on a train.
Additional budget tips
- Skip the souvenirs. T-shirts are over priced and usually of poor quality. Take many pictures and frame those for souvenirs. Take something from your trip like a seashell, coaster from a restaurant, pebbles or other free items that are allowed.
- Use WiFi where available if you need to communicate with those at home. Using data on your mobile devices can add a hefty amount of money to your travel.
- BYO food and drinks whenever possible. Having a relaxing time at your hotel with the family will keep your vacation on the budget.
How do you keep your vacation and travel on a budget?
Please add your tips below for traveling on a budget.