How to plan a family vacation on a budget

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Looking for a perfect family getaway at a budget-friendly price? You do have options beyond the staycation or the grandparents’ house for a getaway. With a little creativity and planning, you can cut vacation costs without missing out on any of the fun. Here’s some ideas for planning a family vacation on a budget.

1. Signup for online fare alerts

Begin planning your vacation with a long view and you can really develop an eye for good deals. Sign up for fare alerts at websites like Kayak, TravelZoo or DealBase to get a feel for your price range. Sometimes airlines offer promotional details that you will not find on comparison travel sites.

Airline prices typically go up as the holidays near and other travelers snatch up the best deals. Early birds are also more likely to find seats on nonstop flights.

2. Look for discounted vacation packages

Look at family vacation packages being offered on discount sites like Groupon and Living Social, which can result in real savings if you have some flexibility in your schedule. Here are some more places you can look for an affordable vacation package.

3. Search on a weekday

Travel insiders say there is a single best time to find a travel deal: Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET, which is apparently when airlines put flights on sale. This may not always be the case when looking for flights around the holidays, but the point is that rates and availability change throughout the week. It helps to compare prices at different times to find the best airfare deals.

4. Take advantage of off-peak pricing

Ever been to a mountain ski resort in the summertime? Or to a beach resort very early or very late in the season? Some vacation destinations can be even more charming, more relaxing and definitely less expensive during times when fewer fellow tourists are around.

5. Book mid-week flights

If you have some flexibility in your plans, see what a change in date will do to the bottom line. Even changing the day of the week you fly can cut costs—fly mid-week instead of on Friday or Saturday for better rates. Around the holidays, however, your best bet is to fly on Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Day.

6. Double-check online travel sites

When you do use travel websites like those mentioned above, check their sources. Aggregator sites are great at helping you find general prices for flights, hotels and rental cars. But before you book a family vacation with one of these sites, check first with the airline, hotel or car rental company directly to make sure you are getting the lowest rate.

7. Cut back on little extras

Often, just trimming some extra expenses will lighten your vacation budget. Stay at a hotel with a substantial free breakfast to eliminate the cost of one meal per day. Or save even more money on meals by scouting hotels or resorts where kids eat or stay free, or booking a room with a kitchen and cooking a few of your own meals.

Fliers can sign up for a frequent flier program to get waived baggage fees. Drivers can cut gas costs by using Gas Buddy, an app that finds the cheapest gas near you. Wherever you travel, remember to exploit any potential discounts—including senior, student, military and, of course, AAA.

If you’re traveling internationally, make sure you check passport requirements so you have enough time to apply or renew without having to pay a fee to expedite the process. And skip the taxi or ride-share service to the airport in favor of less expensive public transportation. Your budget will thank you

8. Think outside the traditional hotel room

Adventurous families can find plenty of comfortable, low-cost travel alternatives that make for a more interesting vacation. Large families might consider renting a vacation home, which can accommodate big groups at a much lower cost, especially for long stays.

Check out or Airbnb for a list of nearly a half-million rental lodgings all over the world. If you live in an interesting spot, look into, where homeowners in 154 countries list homes available for short-term exchange if they are interested in yours. If you’d prefer a room but don’t need a lot of frills, there are some surprisingly nice hostels to be found if you know where to look. Start at, where travelers review thousands of spots.

And really nothing says family vacation like a campsite. If you love the outdoors, you can find some amazing campsites (including spots with beaches/water activities, fishing, golf, horseback riding and more) on It always helps to keep an eye out for free activities at your hotel or around your destination.

9. Avoid checked bag fees

Many airlines charge you anywhere from $25 to $75 per checked bag, and a whole family’s worth of luggage can add up. Try to pack light and efficiently to avoid fees and reduce the risk of something being lost or stolen. If you plan to arrive at your destination bearing gifts, consider the cost savings of shipping them in advance or shipping directly for free using online vendors.

10. Plan ahead with food

Traditional restaurants can put a big dent in your travel budget, and gas-station mini-marts and fast-food restaurants aren’t exactly known for nutritious fare. Visit a grocery store when you reach your destination and stock up on items for easy breakfasts and quick lunches, like cereal, fruit, bread, and peanut butter. If there are nice restaurants you’d like to visit, consider going for lunch rather than dinner. You can often order the same meal at a lower price.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Tips for Planning the Perfect Family Vacation on a Budget

“Budget” and “vacation” are two words that are challenging to put together for many families. Vacation expenses can add up quickly, especially when you’re planning one for the whole family. However, planning a family getaway is essential. Family vacations are once in a lifetime opportunities to make memories with your kids and to take time to relax and reconnect as a family.
Don’t keep putting your vacation off until next year, and don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to a stay-cation. With a little creativity and a bit of planning, you and your family can have a fun-filled vacation that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Chances are, you will always be money-conscious. Budgets are wonderful tools that help us keep our finances in shape.
You don’t have to get another credit card or take out a second mortgage to plan a vacation. It just takes some smart thinking and a few savvy vacation-planning tricks. Here are some tips you can use to ensure you and your family have the perfect, budget-friendly family vacation.

1. Work Together to Stay on Budget

The family that saves together stays together. As you start working out your vacation details, let your kids know what’s going on. Tell them you want this getaway to be as fun as possible, but that you will have to work together to keep on budget. For example, that may mean limiting souvenirs in favor of enjoying more experiences together.

2. Plan It Well Ahead of Time

Don’t just hop in the car and hope that the money you’ve put aside will be enough. Plan, plan and plan some more. Decide where you want to go and keep the kids in the loop so you know your trip will be something you’ll all enjoy.
Planning where you will stay ahead of time is another excellent way to save some green. You’ll find cheaper rates when you book lodging and activities early.

3. Look for Lodging Options That Won’t Break the Bank

If you’re willing to stray from the ordinary, you’ll find many adventurous alternatives to the traditional hotel room. Not only will they make your vacation more memorable, but many of these options are low-cost alternatives.
For those who love the great outdoors, camping is an inexpensive option that will thrill your kids. No matter where you go, chances are there’s a fun campground nearby. You can opt for traditional tent camping, or try something new. Many KOA campgrounds offer other lodging options like Camping Cabins and even unique lodging options like Glamping Tents, Airstreams and more.

4. Book a Destination With Family Activities Included

Get the biggest bang for your buck by staying somewhere that includes family activities.
If you stay at a campground includes a pool, a playground or other fun activities like a basketball court, that’s extra family fun at no additional cost. These free activities can fill the time when you’re not visiting an attraction that costs money.

5. Plan to Cook Your Meals

Eating out is expensive. Multiply the cost of a meal by the number of family members you have, and many families end up spending more on food than any other aspect of their vacation. With that in mind, finding a place where you can cook your own meals will save you a boatload.

If you’re camping, you can cook up some yummy recipes over the campfire. You can also look for a Deluxe Cabin that has a kitchenette. Although smaller than your home kitchen, a kitchenette usually includes everything you need to make a great meal.

Book Your Stay at Kampgrounds of America Today

If you’re looking to plan an affordable family vacation on a budget, KOA campgrounds offer the perfect option. We’re here to ensure you and your family have a great time while also saving you money.

Many of our campgrounds include exciting activities the whole family will enjoy, like rock climbing walls, swimming pools and more fun features. Plus, you can cook your meals over the campfire at one of our Tent Sites or get your own private kitchenette when you reserve certain Deluxe Cabins.

With campgrounds all over the U.S., we offer incredible savings that you and your vacation budget will love. Make your reservation today for the best family vacation that fits any budget.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget


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How long has it been since your last vacation? If you’ve been working hard for months or even years without any time off, it’s time to pack up the family and hit the road. Taking a vacation as a family is a great way to reconnect by getting away from the everyday stresses of home life.

You deserve a great vacation no matter your budget. Many families today assume they can’t afford a vacation, so they go without them for years. In reality, it’s entirely possible to play a budget-friendly family vacation without worrying too much about the price tag. Grab your suitcase because we’re about to hit the road on a family trip to remember.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

1. Choose an Inexpensive Destination

The first step to planning a budget-friendly vacation is to choose your destination wisely. The average vacation costs around $1,145 per person , but you can easily reduce this number by being a bit more savvy with your destination choice.

Despite what you might think, you don’t have to travel far to have a great time. In fact, no matter where you live, odds are there’s something exciting nearby worth visiting. Here are some affordable destination ideas that are perfect for the whole family.

  • Local Trip – Why not stay nearby? A staycation in your own town is always fun. You can explore a local attraction, city, or even something new in your own hometown.
  • Visit Friends or Family – Do you have friends or family in a different city? Choosing to visit them gives you a guaranteed tour guide and maybe even an affordable place to stay.
  • Camping – A camping trip is easily the most affordable option. Go to a local park or one in a new state and enjoy hiking, fishing, and dinners under the stars. Aside from some supplies and a camping fee, you don’t have to pay for much.

2. Travel in the Offseason

Everyone and their brother are trying to take a trip during the usual school breaks. Times like spring break, the winter holidays, and summer vacation are the most expensive to travel. Choosing to travel in the offseason will save you big, and you won’t have to worry about navigating the crowds.

If you have young kids who aren’t in school yet, it’s easier to find time to take the entire family on a trip – if you have a big family you can opt for a small bus rental at Limo Find, the experience will unforgettable . If your kids are in school, consider planning a long weekend where they skip a Friday or Monday to extend the trip without cutting into school time too much.

3. Look for the Best Sales

Did you know you can shop around for the best prices on your vacation just like you do on your groceries? It’s true. A bit of budget shopping will quickly show you that different destinations have different prices throughout the year. For instance, checking Daily Getaways from the U.S. Travel Association (USTA) will land you up to 50% off on many popular trips.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

It pays to keep an eye out. Check travel websites for more information on the best ways to find deals, and don’t be afraid to set an alert so you’ll never miss the best discount.

4. Travel Lightly

Finally, it pays to travel light. This is especially true for airline travel when you need to pay an arm and a leg for extra baggage nowadays. Instead, see if you can get away with packing less. If you have kids, pack them each a small bag of their own and only one large suitcase per family.

Even better, travel with your furry friends to cut down on extra costs. Travel light means avoiding any unnecessary expenses. Looking for Dog Friendly Retreats your dogs can join in on will save you on pet boarding fees without taking up a lot of extra space.

Are you ready for that vacation you’ve been dreaming of? While you might not be able to jet off to an exotic destination, that doesn’t mean you can’t still take a getaway with the whole family. These tips above will get you one step closer to that budget-friendly family vacation.

Family vacations will provide you and your children with some of the fondest of memories that will be treasured forever. Taking the time away from your busy working life to help your children see more of the world and spend quality time together is something thatwill add value to your life and is worth making an effort for.

However, this can be easier said than done. The simple fact is that vacations cost money and, unless you’re really good at managing money with a monthly budget template, you are not going to have the funds to go away on a big, all expenses covered trip every year. This doesn’t mean you have to stay at home though; it just means you have to get a little bit more creative.

To get the ball rolling, this handy guide is going to let you know how to plan a fantastic family vacation on a budget so that you can all start making memories without having to break the bank.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Try a new destination

To have a great vacation, the destination is actually quite low down on the list. Of course, it can be amazing to go overseas and visit cities around the world, but what makes a getaway really special is having quality time with the people you love.

So, the first thing you can do to keep to your budget is to research cheap but thrilling vacation destinations that you can all enjoy together.You might be surprised at just how many places there are to visit in the United States that are brilliant for families and won’t mean you have to spend too much.

A good place to start is by researching places near to where you live that aren’t toofar away from you and finding out what hidden gems there are to be discovered right on your doorstep.

Be creative with your travel

Going on vacation shouldn’t mean that you have to spend thousands of dollars on traveling by airplane. A great way to travel around the United States is by taking a car on a road trip, and you can do this by renting from a discount USA car rental service.

Not only will this be cheaper than flying, but it will also give you and your family more quality time to bond together and give you the freedom to stop along the way to check out new, unexpected sights.

Cutting corners doesn’t mean less fun

Having a blast on your vacation as a family shouldn’t have to mean that you have to splurge all your cash in one go as there are plenty of ways to save money when you’re on vacation .

One great idea is to book accommodation that has a fitted kitchen in it so that, at the beginning of your time away, you can stock up with food from a local store and cook for yourselves instead of eating out for every meal.

Another idea is to use online discount codes and offers when booking experiences and day trips to try and keep the cost down again. Also, if your timing is flexible you can usually save a lot of money with last minute trip deals.

Home » How to Plan a Special Family Vacation on a Budget

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Disney World or Universal Studios may be financially out of reach, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take your family somewhere special this year.

You can plan the trip of a lifetime on a shoestring budget if you know when and where to look. This post aims to help you make the most of your kids’ break from school with vacations that both they, you and your partner will love.

Read on to learn how to plan a family vacation on a budget.

Cheap Family Beach Vacations

If you and your family love the sun and surf and want to save money, look to beach destinations that are a bit off the radar. The US has lots of beach destinations near major cities where locals go but the larger population doesn’t know about.

Travel to one of these cities to find cheaper prices on hotels and still have plenty of pristine ocean coastline to explore.

The Beaches of Delaware

Delaware may be small but offers calm Atlantic beaches, lots of history and local charm. Visit the boardwalks and shops, and go for long walks on the beach. Take your family on a whale watch or go kayaking, and then head back to the beach to take in the radiant sunsets.

South Padre Island – Texas

Mild all year round, the beaches here are pristine and you get the added benefit of Texas hospitality and cuisine. There is a lot of variety in the activities available here to suit the interest of any family. Go explore the scenic sand dunes, local museums, nature tours, boat tours, and fishing tours.

Cannon Beach – Oregon

National Geographic has placed Cannon Beach in their 21 best beaches in the world and 100 most beautiful places in the world categories. This panoramic setting will capture your imagination with miles of beaches and hikes within reach and stunning rock formations jutting out of the ocean.

Look to Local Freshwater Beaches

Don’t limit your beach vacation search to the US coast. There are plenty of freshwater beach destinations that offer a resort-town feel that you can consider as well. If there are none on your radar, do a search and see if any family-friendly local beach towns exist nearby.

Last-Minute Family Resorts and Cruises

There is nothing quite as satisfying as taking your family on an all-inclusive vacation with the knowledge you didn’t have to spend a fortune. Despite the short windows kids have to take vacations between school, there are still ways to score cheap last-minute deals in the summer if you watch and wait.

Resorts in hot locales or cruises exploring Mexico or The Bahamas that are packed in winter will have much cheaper prices in the summer. You can also try looking closer to home, choosing local family resorts that don’t require a flight and still offer lots of fun activities.

Many destinations offer last minute deals at the end of summer to try to squeeze in some last minute guests.

Check out the family sections of websites that specialize in last-minute vacations and sign up for their newsletter. Then when hot deals become available that depart near you, they will be sent directly to your inbox.

Here Are Websites That Specialize in Last-Minute Vacations:

  • Last Minute Cruises
  • Last Minute Travel
  • SellOff Vacations
  • Travelzoo

Let these websites do the heavy-lifting and take your family on a trip they will never forget.

Drive Locally and Rent a Home or Cottage

If resort living isn’t your style, look to local attractions or towns and use Airbnb to find a good deal on a private home for your family. The advantage of renting a home is that you are generally spending less than a hotel and will save money by making your own food.

Here are some budget-friendly vacation rental trip suggestions:

  • Rent a home or apartment in a metropolitan city and use it as a base to explore the many cultural attractions, food, and museums
  • Experience the local flavor of a nearby small town, and bring or rent bikes to explore the area
  • Stay in or near a state or national park and take advantage of the free kid-friendly programs and tours
  • Book a private cabin on a lake (or go in with another family) with canoes or kayaks to use

Even More Cost-Saving Ideas

We hope this post has given you the inspiration to go out and plan a family vacation that will be remembered fondly for years to come. At RepairCreditQuick we are passionate about helping consumers tackle their debt, and this post is just one of many we’ve written on how to get ahead and save money.

For more tips on saving money, be sure to read some of the other posts on our blog:

Planning a memorable family vacation that won’t break the bank simply involves taking the time to know your destination inside and out and discussing trip activities with your kids in advance.

“It’s all about prioritizing where you spend your vacation dollars and taking advantage of great deals,” says Eileen Ogintz, syndicated travel columnist and creator of

For families looking to have a budget-friendly blast, Ogintz is offering some tip top ideas.

Budget-Friendly Family Vacation Planning Tips

● Research your destination online with the kids. Become familiar with all of the family activities and attractions available in the areas you’ll be visiting. Keep a look out for local coupons and deals.

● Talk to the kids before you go. Make sure they understand you’re all going to work together to keep the vacation on budget, so you can afford the experiences they want to do the most.

● Stay someplace with a kitchen or a fridge, or somewhere that offers a free breakfast. You don’t want to waste time and money having breakfast in a restaurant every day of your vacation.

● Picnic for lunch, and even dinner, when you can. Bring sandwiches to the theme park or the beach; opt for takeout around the pool at night. Kids don’t like sitting in restaurants anyway!

● Have a souvenir strategy to resist impulse buys. Encourage kids to start a collection, such as patches, pins, stickers or postcards. Save change in a jar before the trip and discuss getting souvenirs that can only be found at your destination.

● Travel greener and cheaper with reusable water bottles so you’re not buying bottled water every time someone is thirsty.

● Alternate pricey attractions with those that are free or nearly free. Opt for a minor league baseball game rather than a major league game, for example.

● Reserve a rental car ahead of time at your final destination to help you stick to your own agenda and budget. But be sure you find the best deal available. Some companies make this search easier. For example, the Alamo Deal Retriever, an online tool from Alamo Rent A Car, allows you to compare Alamo deals specific to your travel plans and select the one that best fits your needs. And you can join Alamo Insiders for deeper discounts.

Pizza for dinner at the hotel pool, a bonfire on the beach, a rainy morning spent watching cartoons together – you may discover that the best travel moments are the least extravagant.

Quality time is a love language shared by many, but among families, it means everything. Getting to spend time with each other is an extremely valuable thing, and the ability to travel together creates life-long memories that strengthen the bonds that you already have.

That is why reviewing your financial options is a very wise thing to do before setting off on the family trip of your dreams. Planning your budget will inspire you to see the possibilities available to you without leaving you stressed and worried the entire time.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

How to Plan a Family Vacation on a Budget

Packing Secrets

There are many ways to go about packing in order to optimize your budget. For example, if you know you are going to fly, be sure to research the flight company’s guidelines to avoid paying for extra luggage or luggage over a certain weight.

Also, a psychological trick that might help, would be to leave only a little space in your luggage for much else, deterring you from spending too much on souvenirs or new clothes on your fun trip.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Additionally, make sure your luggage is affordable but substantial, so you will not find yourself having to replace it every other time you pack a bag. Making sure that you have combed through the 10 best suitcases and luggage brands is a great start in finding travel equipment that will work for you and your family and last. Luggage is an investment, so be sure that you are making the right one.

Affordable Hotels, Transportation, and Activities

Between the internet and phone apps, there are plenty of companies now that track and list the cheapest transportation, place of residence (hotels, hostels, etc.), and even tourist destinations depending on your journey. Be aware that they may vary depending on where you are traveling to, as the ones that pertain to the United States and various Western European countries differ, for example.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

These sites have become popular in their efficiency to locate and communicate deals for all of your various travel needs. Therefore, they are both accessible to find and exist in multitudes. Discounts compete with one another, which means for every deal you find, chances are a competitor is offering an even lower price.

Other Tips and Tricks

There are numerous small, sneaky details to keep in mind when trying to save money on your next trip, but it is within the smallest details that the most money tends to be saved.

For instance, weekday flights are generally less expensive than they are on weekends, and flights during standard work or school times are less expensive than holidays or summer time. This certainly varies depending upon where you are traveling to or from and their cultural specificities, so be sure to do the needed research to make the wisest decision. Air travel can often be very expensive, which makes knowing the secrets to saving money on it so imperative.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Also, be sure to know the most convenient means of transportation while you are there. Renting a car can be very expensive, and extremely bothersome if you find yourself in a city with high traffic density and plenty of other transportation options.

The Takeaway

Family vacations are a fantastic way to get with your loved ones and spend time together. Traveling can be cumbersome, anxiety-inducing, and full of enough obstacles as it is, which is why it is so important for you to reduce all of the potential stress as best as you can before you even leave, which includes budgeting.

While many companies out there want to assist you in making your vacation as enjoyable as possible, you have just as much—or more—influence in the financial aspects of your vacation. Between discounts, low travel demand, and the details in between, you have all the power you need to ensure an affordable, fun time with family so that while you are on vacation, that is all you need to be thinking about.

About Jenn

Jenn, AKA “The Rebel Chick,” is a single woman who strives to help her readers live their best lives possible. Whether it be through sharing new recipes, sharing her dating stories, or encouraging people to embrace adventure and travel, she aims to inspire people to live full, happy and authentic lives.

A lot goes into planning a trip, especially when you are travelling on budget. Which airline to choose, whether to get a hotel or a homestay, which places to visit, and where to eat. And if you are travelling with family, you need to be extra meticulous.

Check out these money-saving strategies to plan an awesome family trip on budget through vacation planner.

Choose your Mode of Transportation:

After you have decided on your destination, now it is time to decide about how to reach that place. If you find yourself flooded with many transportation options, we suggest you compare the prices for air tickets, train tickets, or even coach tickets and choose the most convenient one. Whatever you choose, make sure you book in advance to get the best deals.

Combo Deals

Many travel portals offer combo deals wherein you can book your air tickets and hotel together to avail best discounts. Make the most of such deals.

Pack Light

You are travelling with kids, so you will need to pack a few extra things. But you do not want to drag the overstuffed luggage from one terminal to another terminal and then end up paying extra baggage charges. Make sure you only carry items that are absolutely necessary. For example, most hotels offer towels and toiletries. So you can leave those things at home. Make a list, and pack smart.

Travel Season

It is said that it is best to avoid peak travel season if you are travelling on budget. Check off or shoulder seasons of the particular destination and plan your travel around those dates. But also make sure that the weather is not too harsh since you may be travelling with your kids.

Rent a Car

Rent a car, put on your favourite music and drive around. And instead of stopping at a McDonalds for lunch, pack your own food. You can have a ritual where the entire family helps cook the meal. Carrying along a cooler of food will easily save up 25-35 dollars.

Get Family Passes

Most major attractions offer family passes that help you save big bucks. Plan ahead and get yourself a family pass. A few of these passes also come with additional benefits like free drinks or even priority access.

Travel Greener

While moving around in the city, make the most of the available public transport.

Free Stuff

Before visiting, check out all the free things to do at your destination. Avoid the pricey attractions.

Involve Everyone

Before finalizing your plan, make sure you run it past everyone who is travelling. Involve your kids, ask for their opinions. After all, the last thing you want is your kids nagging on tour.

Imagine this, your kids come to you and say that they want to go to a certain place. It could be a place their favorite cartoon character is from, or it was advertised in a cool commercial, or it could be somewhere their friend’s family recently went on vacation to.

You look at their happy, hopeful faces and you tell them: “we’ll see.” You start thinking about how much that trip is going to cost you and you start hoping that your kids will eventually forget about it.

But, what if we told you that you could go on that family trip without the need to spend a lot of money? Alpha Car Hire has put together a short guide to help you plan an inexpensive and fun family trip:

Set a Destination, Plan, and Save For It

If a trip to the place your kids want to go to is plausible, then make it a family vacation destination. If not, talk to your kids that it’s just not within your means at the moment, and allow them to come up with an alternative. You can also suggest other places that are similar to the one they want.

Once the ball is rolling, help it gain momentum by getting everyone to help you plan the trip. From figuring out what to see and do, all the way to where you will stay.

If you have friends in the area, call them up and ask if they can accommodate you and your family for a few nights. It’s an excellent opportunity to save up on accommodations as well as get in touch with your friends during the trip.

Finally, make it a point to save up. Take a large, empty jar, label it Vacation Fund and place it somewhere everyone will see. Encourage everyone to drop a few dollars whenever they can and remember to do it regularly. Eventually, you will have enough money for your trip. You can then use this money in a variety of ways such as; petrol, toll fee, and food.

Choose to Go in the Off-Season

The peak season is the time of the year where a destination is most visited. For example, the beach is crowded during summer, making it less enjoyable for some.

The same can be said for other destinations. So, it is essential to find out when the peak season is and plan your visit sometime before or after that. This way, you can avoid the crowds and still enjoy lower prices on hotel accommodations.

For younger kids, the lower crowd volume is also ideal as there will be less risk of them getting lost.

Pack Your Meals Whenever You Can

A lot of times, it’s a lot easier to skip meal preparation and make do with food stalls. What you don’t know is that you will be spending a lot more on food by doing this.

If you want to save money on road trip snacks and lunch, use some of the money you saved up to make some delicious sandwiches for the trip. You can also choose to pack other snacks like dry cereal, biscuits, and fruits.

Don’t forget to pack enough water for the trip, especially if you’re taking a long drive during summer.

Memories Are Your Present

Once you arrive at your destination and get settled in, one of the first things you and your kids will want to do is check out the gift shop. Gift shops are fantastic as they often have these cool trinkets that will always remind you of your trip but the items are a bit pricey.

What you can do is choose one item that you want to have from the gift shop or you can opt to take a lot of pictures instead.

Don’t be afraid to take wacky photos with your kids; these will look great on a photo album and in picture frames around your house when you get home. They also make far better souvenirs than a keychain.

Now, you don’t have to say no to your kids when they ask you to go somewhere fun and exciting. Careful planning, saving, and prioritising is the key to a successful family vacation on a tight budget.

Travel Tips

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Theme parks are only part of Orlando’s attraction. (Photo: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images )

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Travelers from near and far know Orlando best for its nearby Walt Disney World Resort, the most-visited theme park in the world. However, there’s much more to the Florida city than its beloved theme parks. Nicknamed “The City Beautiful,” Orlando has over 100 lakes and 100 parks. With plenty of affordable hotels and campsites, this modern, scenic city is a dynamic vacation destination that you can enjoy to the fullest, even on a limited budget.

It’s All in the Timing

The primary way to save the most money on a trip to Orlando is to go during the slowest times of the year. Not only will rates on hotel rooms be cheaper, but so will flights, theme park admissions and other forms of entertainment. Don’t plan to go to Orlando during the summer, over the Thanksgiving weekend or during the last two weeks of December. Spring break and Easter are also overly busy.

If you’re flexible about the times when you can take a trip to Orlando, always choose the “off season.” Generally, the slowest times include January (excluding New Year’s Day), the first two weeks of February and the early fall. Exactly when the off-season occurs can vary a bit from year to year, so compare flights, general admission costs for theme parks like Disney World and hotel room costs to see when you can get the best deal.

An off-season Orlando vacation is likely to be quieter because crowds will be sparser. That means you’ll waste less time in lines and enjoy shorter wait times to eat in the hottest restaurants.

A Little Effort Goes a Long Way

Finding coupons and special deals can save you hundreds of dollars on your vacation. It’s not hard to uncover deals, either. Visit Orlando, the official source of Orlando travel planning, has a page dedicated to deals for visitors to the city. The page features coupons for local restaurants, theme parks, sporting events and hotels. The Walt Disney World Resort also provides a page for discounts on its official site where you can find bargains such as seasonal deals and military family discounts.

Try internet searches that pair the word “coupon” with the discount you’re seeking. For example, a search for coupons on Orlando hotels can sometimes reveal discount codes for booking your trip.

Consider Camping

Camping is one way to save money on an Orlando vacation, since a campsite is usually cheaper than spending the night in even the lowest-budget hotel. When you camp, you also get to enjoy the natural beauty of the city in a more up-close way.

Relatively affordable campsites are available at Fort Wilderness within the Walt Disney World Resort. Staying onsite at Disney World can provide additional value because transportation is complimentary, and perks like extra hours in the Disney theme parks and the availability of a dining plan can make it a better deal than staying outside Disney World.

Free Activities Abound

Free activities can be part of any Orlando vacation. On travel days, instead of spending a lot of money on theme park admission that you’ll only use for a few hours, take advantage of the many free things to do in the area. Enjoy a self-guided, free tour of the University of Florida’s Arboretum. Admire the beautiful swans at Lake Eola. Visit the Fort Christmas Historical Park and explore. Admission is by donation to the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts and the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center.

It’s always free to enter Disney Springs, an entertainment and shopping area where you can enjoy photo-ops before you go to the theme parks. If you’re staying on-site at a Disney World hotel or campsite, take complimentary transportation to Disney Springs. Kids will enjoy the play area at the LEGO Store and the Paleo Zone at Discovery Creek. (Both are free.) Seasonal decorations and special Disney touches add to the fun.


Leaf Group is a USA TODAY content partner providing general travel information. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

Simply follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to making memories — and saving some serious cash.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Some of the most memorable vacations are those that are well thought-out in advance. And often, a well-planned family vacation can end up also being an affordable family vacation. Planning a family vacation on a budget may sound difficult and time-consuming, but it’s actually quite easy. Simply follow these tips, and you’ll be well on your way to making memories — and saving some serious cash.

1. Consider Your Timing.

If you have any flexibility with your timing, use that to your advantage. For example, flying midweek — Tuesdays and Wednesdays, in particular — and with a stop or two (versus direct) can save you hundreds of dollars on your family’s airfare. Follow your airline on Twitter to track any last-minute deals. Also, look on sites like Kayak, Cheapflights, Orbitz and Expedia to compare prices. Be sure to check your airline’s policy on baggage fees and consider packing less to save on the extra costs. Likewise, traveling during off-peak seasons can save some serious dough. Have to travel in the summertime? Do a little research to see what your destination’s most popular weeks are and schedule your vacation just before or after those weeks to help you save.

2. Shop Around.

Through the magic of the internet, the world is literally at your fingertips. Lucky for you, that means you can compare prices online for everything from hotel rooms to rental cars. Some of the more popular travel comparison sites are Orbitz and Expedia. But sites like Airfare Watch Dog can send you alerts when airlines have sales. And sites like Better Bidding allow you to find out what other travelers paid for rooms in major cities using name-your-own-price sites like Priceline or Hotwire, allowing you to bid those prices — and likely get them accepted — for your stay.

3. Take Advantage of Coupons and Other Discounts.

Coupons go a long way, when it comes to family vacations on a budget. Just as you would search for deals in your hometown — when you’re saving money with a “staycation,” for example — visit sites like Groupon or Living Social to see what kinds of discounts you can score on food and activities at your vacation destination. Likewise, visit coupon websites, like The Krazy Coupon Lady, consistently before your vacation to get more travel deals and to stock up on all of your travel essentials with coupons before the big trip. Are you a member of a warehouse club? A military member? Or a student? You may be eligible for other discounts, as well.

4. Reach Out to Locals.

Renting an entire house can often be more cost-effective (and comfortable) than paying for multiple hotel rooms, especially if you’re traveling with a large family. Consider using VRBO or Airbnb to score a great deal on an individually owned place. In addition to providing a great place to stay at a great price, many of these owners can also give you first-hand knowledge and advice for getting the best deals in the area throughout your stay.

5. Think Bite-sized.

In addition to scoring discounts on your travel expenses, one of the biggest impacts you can make on your wallet is to create a vacation budget and start putting money aside as soon as the urge to travel hits you. If you start setting a small, totally feasible amount of money aside when you begin planning the perfect vacation, you can end up potentially saving a considerable amount. Consider this: If you start planning for a vacation four months before your travel dates, and you put aside $100 each week, you’ll end up with more than $1,500 toward your travel expenses!

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Most of us have been on a family vacation at some point, whether with our parents when we were younger or as adults with children of our own. In addition to creating countless memories, these experiences provide opportunities to strengthen family bonds. However, many people don’t realize that family vacations also help to create happy, well-rounded children.

Recently, science has proven healthy family relationships boost physical health for kids and parents. Travel enhances children’s brain development, making them smarter. The most impactful vacations combine playful activities, like building a sandcastle, with exploration, like hiking or biking.

To make the most of your family vacation, carefully plan a trip that’s within your budget. Look for stress-free activities that the whole family will enjoy together, like toasting marshmallows during a camping trip. If you’re trying to save money and are looking for ways to make your family vacation stress-free, here are some tips:

Planning Ahead

Start by setting a budget to determine what you can realistically afford. Next, start pricing hotels and accommodations in a few destinations. As you narrow down your destination options, it helps to be flexible with dates.

When it comes to saving money, timing is everything. A recent airfare study found that flights
are cheapest 70 days before departure. Packing light, looking for sales, setting up airfare alerts on Google Flights, and considering discount airlines like Frontier or Allegiant can save you big bucks.

Bringing the Kids

Whether you fly, drive, or sail to your vacation destination, you’ll probably want some ideas for keeping your kids entertained en route. Favorite books and music can come in handy, along with portable gaming systems, earbuds, and smartphones.

To save money on travel essentials, try searching online for discounts and promos before
purchasing. When shopping for electronics, for instance, you’ll get the most bang for your buck
by looking for tech deals through an online store like Rakuten.

Scheduling a Date Night

Although family vacations have several benefits, most parents crave some solo time. Many cruises and resorts offer childcare areas, allowing parents to spend some time alone. If you’ve been looking for ways to rekindle your romance, Kindred Bravely suggests adding these ideas to your vacation itinerary:

● Just the Two of Us: Something as simple as dinner and a movie can help you reconnect with your partner, especially if you’ve recently had a baby. To boost the intimacy level, search for a romantic restaurant in the area.

● Outdoor Adventure: Spend time with nature by going hiking, canoeing, or bike riding. If you enjoy sports, plan a trip to see a game together.

● Unwind: After the kids fall asleep, plan some relaxation time. Enjoy a couple of DIY spa treatments like massages, or watch a movie together on Netflix.

Don’t fret if your date night doesn’t go completely as planned. As a parent, you’ve mastered rolling with the punches. To remain carefree after a hectic day, remember that prioritizing your relationship is always worth it. Even just five minutes of self-care and alone time can help you relax and reconnect.

Getting Away

As it turns out, that family vacation is more than an excuse to get away for a while. Travel is a powerful way to introduce your child to new experiences, foods, and cultures.

Vacations teach your children (and you) essential skills that can apply to almost any aspect of life. Forbes reports that travel is good for mental health and teaches cognitive skills like problem-solving. Meanwhile, vacationing builds neuroplasticity and creativity by literally rewiring the brain.

By researching destinations, prices, and activities, you can plan for a relaxing family vacation
that works for any budget. What better way to soak up some sun, create lasting memories, and positively impact your child’s life?

Extreme Budget?

Are you on an extreme budget? We’ve got you covered. One of the cheapest activities you can to is stay in and watch a great movie with the family. These days you can find most movies for free or for a small fee online giving you a huge variety of child friendly movies that are also interesting and engaging for adults too!

Q: Our two weeks of summer vacation time are fast approaching and we haven’t planned a thing. While we can’t afford to spend a lot of money this year, we’d like to still do something special without blowing our budget. What can you suggest?How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

A: After what has been a damp and cool spring across Canada, most people are looking forward to enjoying the summer sun. Many families have traditional summer vacations that they look forward to each year, but like you, are reviewing their holiday budget carefully this year. Here are some points to keep in mind as you start your vacation planning:

Plan Your Vacation According to Your Budget

Start by considering your budget. Often times we plan the holiday first, and afterwards we try to figure out how to pay for it . Change things around this year and establish your vacation budget first. Agree to pay for everything with cash and stick to what you can afford.

Choose a Vacation Theme

Choose a theme to help guide your decisions. A location often dictates what we do for our holidays. For instance, if you camp by the lake, you may go canoeing, fishing or waterskiing. Consider taking some time away from the lake and choose an activity theme with affordable options, such as “history.” You may want to visit several of the local museums or parks in the area. With a little advance planning and research you will likely discover a number of low cost/no cost activities the whole family will enjoy. A theme gives you the flexibility of choosing where to go and what to do without overspending.

Consider Enjoying What is Close at Hand

If you can’t afford to travel for the entire two weeks, be a tourist without getting lost. Take a few days off before or after your trip to enjoy your garden, having friends over for a barbeque or just kicking back at your local beach. Staycations come with the benefits of no additional accommodation and transportation costs, and only have one rule – no chores.

Take Turns Planning Your Vacation Days or Activities

Create a vacation calendar. Take turns planning one day or event at a time, giving everyone in your family a chance to help decide what to do. Start with a community recreation guide or a local events listing. Do the things that you never have time for during the rest of the year, but avoid running from pillar to post.

Last Minute Deals

Depending on your budget, a last minute get-away might be possible, even just for 4 days. Subscribe to get online deals by email and start watching prices to help with your planning.

There are so many affordable last minute vacation options. Choose one and relax!

Going for a vacation with a family should not be the cause of breaking the bank and landing you in huge debts. You need to focus on the place where the family wants to go for a vacation and try to budget towards it.

Ensure to budget your plans within your means and identify some of the best package deals for your family. You will need to do a lot of the research and formulate plans that will suit your family.

Identify the best bargain destinations and come up with money saving strategies. Here are some of the best budget-friendly destinations for your family.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Here are some major tips to consider when planning for a budget vacation for a family. The tips include:

Planning for Vacation

Budgeting for a vacation is quite important since it will help to remove some things that are not necessary. You will be able to make some changes where necessary and make some corrections.

Vacation Theme

Pick a nice theme that will help to guide you before heading for vacation. Several destinations have different offers for holidays. Choose activities that are quite affordable.

Doing a lot of research and planning will help you to identify some of the low-cost areas to visit with your family. Having a theme will offer the direction to where to visit and it is quite flexible.

Create Celebration

Sometimes it can be tricky to travel for vacation for several days especially if you have a limited budget. Therefore, you will need to create a small celebration in your garden in order to cut down on the number of days of going away with the family.

The process will help to reduce on the other number of expenses of going on a vacation for several days instead the celebration will help to activate the mood to enjoy the vacation. Just make it simple by preparing some drinks and barbeque.

Prepare the Vacation Calendar

Involve your family members to decide which event or activity to start with while heading for a vacation. Prepare each event or activities one by one in order to avoid missing each of them. It is going to help you get more out of the vacation.

Last Minute Deals

Going for last minute deals can also be possible when planning for a family vacation on a limited budget. You subscribe from the online platforms in order to get an overview of prices before you start planning for the vacations.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Nobody should tell you where to go on vacation. It’s your hard-earned money, and you deserve to take the vacation of your dreams!

Of course, the biggest obstacle for taking a vacation is money. Your financial situation will probably dictate how often your family takes vacations, and where you ultimately go. Hopping on a plane whenever we want isn’t a luxury most of us can afford. We have to plan ahead and make a family vacation budget in order to turn your dream vacation into a reality.

So how do you realistically plan to finance a vacation? There are typically two options:

Option 1: Let Your Budget Decide Where You Go

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

There are literally thousands of amazing vacation destinations out there. But many of the most stunning vacation hot spots cost a lot of money. But if you don’t have your heart set on a specific location, then one tactic is to choose where you go based on how much money you already have available for a vacation fund. You might even be surprised at the amazing places you and your family can afford to visit.

You can spend less money on vacation by choosing cheaper ways to travel, or by going camping instead of staying at a hotel. You can also make vacation fit your budget by bringing your own food instead of eating out the whole time you’re away, or by going on a shorter vacation.

A good way to let your budget decide where you go on vacation is to create a small monthly vacation fund in your budget. By building up vacation savings, you’ll always have money available for even those small spontaneous trips.

Option 2: Pick Your Dream Destination and Save Up

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

We all have those dream destinations that we want to visit. In order to check these vacation goals off your bucket list, you’ll need to save up enough money no matter how long it takes. To do this strategy right, you have to have a pretty good idea how much your dream vacation is going to cost. Do your best to estimate the cost of all your expenses, find your total goal amount, and start saving. Figure it into your monthly budget, and you’ll be on your way to that dream vacation your family has been waiting for.

When you finally do take the vacation of your dreams, all that’s left to do is plan your next vacation and start saving. Before you know it you’ll be adding stickers to your suitcase and adding tacks to that map on your wall!

Other Vacation Budget Basics

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Every good family vacation needs a good budget. Once you’ve saved up enough money to finally embark on your trip, you need a plan for how you are going to spend your money while on vacation. How much do you want to spend on food each day? Will you be going to any shows or events while on vacation? Figure your entire itinerary into your budget, and make sure you have enough to cover all your planned activities.

There are many expenses you can plan for ahead of time, but there are also going to be unexpected costs that have a tendency to pop up. To safeguard against any surprises, you need to do two things:

  1. Include some extra money in your vacation budget for unexpected expenses
  2. Have a way to get a hold of emergency funds if you need them in a pinch

Sometimes the spontaneous happenings are the best part of a vacation, and if you’ve saved some extra money for this purpose, you’ll be more likely to go where the road will take you. And since there’s always the possibility that you’ll need access to emergency funds, think ahead of time how you’ll be able to get to those funds while on vacation.

For example, if your car breaks down, if you need to move hotels or even if the price of gas goes up as you are traveling you do not want to be stuck without the funds to travel safely. Should you need more cash, simply find the nearest Check City location and take out a cash advance or even have money transferred to the Check City location. If someone can wire you the money, you can pick it up at the nearest Check City.

It’s time to start planning your dream vacation—it’s up to you what strategy you’re going to take and how much you’re going to save.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget
(Photo: Images)

You don’t have to spend a lot of money to feel like a jetsetting boss while traveling. The trick is a combination of knowing how to get expensive amenities for cheap, while also adopting the mindset that indulgences do not always have to be expensive. Here are seven tips for planning a luxurious trip on a not-so-luxurious budget.

Pick the Right Destination

If you remember only one piece of advice for squeezing a bit of luxury out of a budget-priced getaway, make it this: Choose your destination wisely. The easiest way to lower nearly all of your travel expenses without skimping on indulgences is to pick a place where the cost of living is low and the exchange rate favorable. For example, I’m planning a summer getaway to the Greek Islands, where 30-buck-a-night beachfront hotels with sweeping views of the Aegean Sea are abundant and seductively simple meals of local wine and produce cost just a handful of euros. Electing to visit Greece — rather than more expensive European beach destinations, like Corsica or the Cote d’Azur — allowed me to plan an effortlessly inexpensive yet luxurious trip.

To save even more, go somewhere in shoulder season or low season. Choosing a cheap spot won’t save you money on the cost of the plane ticket to your destination, but opting to travel in low season will.

Budget (But Do It Before You Leave)

Freedom from financial constraints is the ultimate luxury. One of the reasons people love all-inclusive resorts is the “leave your wallet behind” mentality that allows you to order unlimited Mai Tais with no concern for costs. Achieve similar peace of mind by planning ahead. First, begin setting aside money for your travels well in advance. Create a spreadsheet or use free personal finance software like Mint, which has an awesome vacation-budgeting tool. Once you’ve built a cache of travel funds, budget a designated number of “free” spending money for each day of your trip; this will help alleviate the stressful physiological component of spending hard-earned currency while traveling.

Leverage Credit Card Perks

Airport lounge access. Free Uber rides. Free admission to museums. Credit cards give an everyman access to the kind of exclusive perks normally reserved for high rollers and elite frequent flyers. Invest in a rewarding travel credit card (with no foreign transaction fees, of course) to get double the frills: You’ll feel you’re a part of an elite club (in a way, you are). And, to put it simply, you’ll save money.

Bid for an Upgrade

Want to feel like a fat cat while traveling? Upgrade your plane seat — no frequent flyer miles or major asset liquidation needed. Just bid for an upgrade. When flying internationally, check to see if your airline offers auctions for seats in first or business class. On flights with less-than-full loads, it’s possible to grab an upgrade out of coach for a couple hundred bucks—a more-than-reasonable price for tickets that can cost thousands.

Select Smart Splurges

Extravagance is subjective. One traveler’s luxurious suite with a balcony is another traveler’s Michelin-starred dining experience. Which splurges are the most meaningful to you? Make a list of the posh perks that you dream about, and prioritize them from most loved to least loved. Choose some luxurious experiences from the top of your list and commit to spending money on them (and only them). You may have to sacrifice other indulgences that are less important to you, whether it’s daily cappuccino or a massage, in order to stick to your budget and afford those top-of-the-list splurges. But you can be confident you’ll be spending money on truly worthwhile experiences and upgrades.

Invest in a City Tourist Card

Going to attraction after attraction without worrying about price is something done by two types of people: Those with unlimited funds and those with city tourist cards. In major metropolises around the world, city tourist cards offer tours, admission to attractions, transportation and discounts at select spots for a flat price, usually over a set period of time. You have lots of choices here. CityPass, which sells passes for U.S. cities, is a big name in the industry. And city-specific brands that have partnerships with tourism boards, like The London Pass, are good options as well.

Before you buy, compare your costs for admission and transportation for what you want to do and see without the pass, and compare those numbers to the prices of available passes. Pass Comparison has handy calculators that make this process easier.

Focus on Cheaper “Luxuries”

Activities and products that impart a luxury feel aren’t always expensive. The trick here is to focus on low- and no-cost things that will make you feel totally wealthy and special. It’s the little things that add up to a luxurious lifestyle: Pick up fresh flowers at a local market and put them in your hotel room. Stock up on salon-brand travel-size samples to use on trips (find out how to do that here). Buy a good bottle of wine. Spend an afternoon drinking cappuccinos and people-watching at a fancy coffee shop. Decide what your own version of the good life is, and follow through.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Family vacations are always fun. They give you a chance to spend quality time with your family and make memories that will last a lifetime. Although it involves a number of members of the family, which means sleeping arrangement, food, entertainment, and more tickets, taking your family for a vacation does not have to be expensive. Discuss in advance about your preferred destination and activities , plan your budget and understand the best deals and packages will save you from unplanned expenses. Here are ideas on how to plan your family vacation on a budget:

1. Check for Discounts Online First

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Comparing vacation packages being offered on discount can give you a huge boost if you start early. Search for vacation packages from different agents to have a general idea on what to expect and how it will fit within your budget. Remember to involve your family on the search so they can become familiar with activities and for them to choose a destination everyone will love.. You can also make few calls to compare and check for local coupons and deals.

2. Book Early on Kid’s Free Hotels

Some hotels don’t charge for kids under the age of 12 and this is an advantage you should take . You will only need to pay for their transport to the hotel and food during the period.. Research from online travel agencies and official websites for various hotels to make it easier to compare vacation packages around your budget.

3. Visit Local Attractions

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Going with your family to local tourist places can be a lot of fun. Vacationing in local spots, such as national parks, game reserves, zoo or Water Park — less than a day’s drive away, will help you save on transport costs and hotel accommodation. Visit historical landmarks such as Kilwa and Bagamoyo ruins, or go to Zanzibar to see the historical House of Wonders. If your family loves camping and natural attractions, you can visit fast growing destinations such as Magoroto forest reserve for a memorable experience.

4. Prioritise Activities rather than Accommodation

To make your vacation even more adventurous, you should plan for a trip that focuses on activities instead of accommodation. Being choosy about hotel accommodations can make your trip much more expensive. You can just opt to go for a simple hotel family room with a kitchenette which can save you money on meals . In fact, activities such as hiking through the forest, zoo visit or bike ride are less expensive and will give you a chance to talk and connect with your family.

5. Take Advantage of Low Season

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

During the holiday seasons, the prices are always up with limited availability. You might not enjoy some of the activities due to overcrowding. Some destinations can be perfect for family during the off-peak season. Destinations such as beaches in Nungwi or Mountain camping can be more charming, relaxing, less crowded and definitely less expensive during low season. You can take advantage of that and have a memorable stay with your family.

6. Stick to your Budget

It is important to figure out your family vacation budget from the beginning, but even more crucial to stick to it. From the very start of your trip, ensure that you spend what is within your budget . Use reusable material that might add extra costs on the go, such as reusable water bottles so you can avoid buying bottled water every time someone is thirsty.

When the sun and the surf start calling my name, I know it’s time to head to the beach. Unfortunately, when the ocean calls my name, my wallet yells back. Little does my wallet know, it’s possible to enjoy a Myrtle Beach budget vacation without draining our bank account.

If you’re craving a beach getaway and need to stay on a budget, use these helpful tips to plan an affordable oceanside trip.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Try to Travel in the Off Season

Have you ever experienced Myrtle Beach during the peak summer months? It is packed! As a result, the prices for hotel rooms and activities skyrocket. To take advantage of lower hotel rates and far fewer crowds, plan to vacation in Myrtle Beach during the off-season, if possible.

Peak season for Myrtle Beach is May through mid-September. Between the pristine weather and children on summer break, families flock to Myrtle Beach during this time.

Visiting in early May or mid-September will still offer pleasant weather and plenty of time on the beach. If you’re not one for swimming, but prefer lounging on the beach, visiting anytime before or after peak season will work perfectly for you!

Vacationing during the week, rather than the weekend, can also lead to discounted rates on hotels or attractions. Remember, traveling doesn’t have to break the bank if you plan accordingly.

For some, traveling in the off season or during the week isn’t possible. Follow the rest of our tips and your Myrtle Beach budget vacation will still be one for the books.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Book Affordable Accommodations

Lodging is often the most expensive part of a vacation. Although, Myrtle Beach is an ideal destination for those looking to save money, especially on hotel accommodations. Luckily, you have many options.

One of the most popular lodging choices is a beach house or condo. If traveling with several friends or families, book a condo for everyone and split the price! After dividing up the nightly cost, it’s far less than an average night at a hotel per person.

However, for those traveling with their immediate family or only a handful friends, a hotel room will suffice. With so many Myrtle Beach hotels to choose from, visitors reap the rewards of competitive pricing and amenities.

Those looking for a hotel room with little frills and a cheap nightly rate will find a place to lay their head at these Myrtle Beach hotels:

If you prefer hotels with top amenities, modern accommodations, and an inexpensive rate, these hotels will suit your needs:

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Free and Cheap Activities in Myrtle Beach

Along with affordable accommodations, Myrtle Beach boasts a variety of free things to do and cheap activities for all ages. Add these activities to your itinerary for a non-stop, fun Myrtle Beach budget vacation.

Go to the Beach

Remember, relaxing on the beach is free! Pack your swimsuit, towel, sunglasses, sunscreen, and beach toys for a day by the ocean.

To save even more money, bring a cooler and pack your lunch, drinks, and snacks. This helps you avoid purchasing boardwalk food frequently throughout your trip.

Go for a Round of Mini Golf

Although not free, mini golf is a super cheap activity that everyone will love. Test your skill and see if you can get a hole in one (rather than a hole in your wallet) at these Myrtle Beach mini golf courses:

Looking to perfect your swing while on vacation in Myrtle Beach? Check out the best Myrtle Beach golf courses.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Get Tickets to a Myrtle Beach Pelicans Game

Who says going to a baseball game during your Myrtle Beach budget vacation has to be expensive? The Myrtle Beach Pelicans, the Class A-Advanced Affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, entertain crowds nightly for a super affordable price per ticket.

When you buy your tickets from Reserve Myrtle Beach, your admission includes a hot dog, bag of chips and a small drink. You’ll avoid standing in the concessions line and paying more for food. Talk about a win-win situation!

Go for a Stroll

After a day on the beach, there’s nothing better than a leisurely stroll through Myrtle Beach. Explore these top Myrtle Beach destinations for endless memories and photo opportunities:

  • The Myrtle Beach Boardwalk
  • Broadway at the Beach
  • Murrells Inlet Marsh Walk
  • Garden City Beach Pier
  • Barefoot Landing

And, of course, a sunrise walk along the beach isn’t a bad idea either!

Spend a Day at Family Kingdom Amusement Park

While not free (if only, right?), admission to Family Kingdom Amusement Park is super affordable. Compared to top amusement parks around the world, these tickets are sure to fit within your Myrtle Beach vacation budget.

Whether you prefer thrilling roller coasters or a laid-back Ferris Wheel ride, this seaside amusement park has it all. No Myrtle Beach budget vacation is complete without a trip to Family Kingdom Amusement Park.

Ready to Organize Your Myrtle Beach Budget Vacation?

Remember, when the ocean calls your name, your wallet doesn’t need to angrily shout back. Instead, plan a Myrtle Beach budget vacation with Reserve Myrtle Beach. With the ability to bundle your attraction tickets and hotel room, you’ll save even more.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Nowadays everything is so expensive that families think twice before planning for a vacation. The trip turns out to be extremely expensive given the cost of booking rooms in a resort and tickets to fly there. You will have to save for a considerable amount of time to make the trip a possibility. However, there are ways through which you can plan a family vacation on a budget but for that purpose you will have to make a few quick decisions. These decisions include early bookings for flight and hotels as you get a good discount. Also, planning short trips will cost less.

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Decide on a budget

First and foremost, determine the budget you are willing to spend on the vacation with your family. The costs should include everything from living, shopping to the meals you will be having on the trip. This will help in getting a clear estimate of things so that you can spend intelligently.

Decide on how to travel

You must decide on how to travel on your vacation. This totally depends on your destination. If the place you are willing to visit is at a considerable distance, flying would be a better option. However, it will be expensive. If the place is near where you live, driving would be a better decision to save on the costs.

Keep the vacation short

The shorter the vacation, the less it will cost you. It is good to make the trip shorter as it will save on the costs and living. A weekend trip is the most feasible for your family. This also depends on the place you are visiting.

Get bookings early

It is extremely important to get the bookings of the trip as early as you can. The bookings of the hotels you want to live in and for the flights should be made early as that will cost you less. Also, you may be able to get discounts or offers if you make an early decision.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Summer is around the corner and it is time to think about vacations. However, you do not have to wait till summer to set out on a journey.

There are a handful of reasons why you should go out on a trip with family once in a while. It refreshes your mind and strengthens the family bonding. It helps your kid to learn through experiences and increase social awareness. Moreover, family vacations are important as it helps in rejuvenating the mind. You leave behind the stress in your professional and personal life and enjoy quality time with your dear ones.

Strategic planning is the key to enjoying an awesome vacation without applying for another mortgage. Here are some tips to help you plan the best family vacations without spending much.

Plan it wisely: Well, once you have decided to set out on a family vacation and figured out the dates, start planning your arrangements. From the destination to the local cuisine in the specific location and other activities, let your plan cover every minute detail. It will help you to figure out how you can cut down unnecessary costs.

Plan the location: Think of changing the destination itself, if you feel it is crossing the budget. Keep in mind that the holiday season will be expensive to travel. There are many budget-friendly locations, which are wonders of nature, and all you need is to research and find it out. Also, you can check for package deals from travel planner websites which may come with offers, and choose the location with the biggest deals.

Check out deals & coupons: There are numerous ways by which you can cut down costs, and discount coupons go a long way. Grab the coupons that help you save money on accommodation and food. Check for flash sales that may offer you travel prices at half its original price. Find accommodation at a place that offers complimentary breakfast. Carry food along with you when you go to a theme park or beach. Use coupons to cut down spending while you shop for your vacation as well.

It requires your dedication if you want to travel at the cheapest possible ways. Start a separate email and subscribe to holiday deals and vacation discounts that travel planners offer. Keep track of it and take advantage of the opportunity when the right plan comes your way. If you are flexible with your dates, you may find amazing deals through many online travel websites.

Best family vacations do not count on the basis of how much you have spent. Instead, it depends on the quality time that you get to spend together with your family, which convert into nostalgic memories in the future.

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Planning a trip to Washington D.C. on a budget?

We’ve been there. Our first family trip to Washington D.C. was over the 4th of July. We wanted to stay within walking distance of the National Mall without paying a fortune. The hotels were all so expensive!

We eventually found a hotel in a great location that fit our budget. From there, we walked nearly everywhere. There are so many free things to do in Washington D.C. that it’s one of the best cities to visit for families on a budget.

Here are my tips to help you visit Washington D.C. on a budget.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget


Load your itinerary with all of Washington D.C.’s free attractions. It costs nothing to visit the monuments, memorials and many important buildings like the U.S. Capitol, the National Archives Museum and the White House. All the Smithsonian museums are free too.

Click the button to get our big list of free activities for families in Washington D.C.

You can save up to 47% by bundling paid activities like Mount Vernon and a Big Bus Tour with the Go Washington D.C. Card. Pay once for 3, 4 or 5 popular activities. There are many activities to choose from, and you can decide which are best for your family as you go.

Air Travel

Washington D.C. is served by three major airports: Reagan National, Dulles and Baltimore. If there isn’t a big difference in fares, we prefer Reagan National (DCA) because it’s closer to downtown D.C. and transportation to our hotel is both less expensive and more convenient.

With kids, we usually use Uber or Lyft for a ride from the airport to our hotel and back. However, if the timing is right and you can manage the luggage, you can take public transportation from any of the airports. We used Metro for our last flight home and it worked well.

Compare costs and plan routes with Metro’s Trip Planner, Lyft’s Fare Estimator and Uber’s Fare Estimator.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Getting Around

Walking is the best way to see Washington D.C. So many of the city’s top attractions are on or near the National Mall. I walked about 7 miles a day on our last trip, so be sure to pack comfortable walking shoes.

Metro trains and buses are an efficient way to get around. Buy Metro cards at kiosks inside stations, and add money to them when they get low. Expect to pay about $2-6 per ride. Fares are higher during peak hours when trains are most crowded. Kids under age 5 ride free.

Bicycling is a good way to get around Washington D.C. You’ll find inexpensive Capital Bikeshare rentals all over the city. These are full-size bikes. If you need youth bikes or trailers, look into bike rental businesses. Bike N Roll DC Bike Rentals is one of the options on the Go Washington DC Card.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget


I do not recommend renting a car in Washington D.C. It’s tricky to drive and park here – especially if you’re not familiar with the city. Hotel rates for parking a car can be steep.

If you will be driving your own car anyway, look for hotels that don’t charge an arm and a leg for parking. A couple of our hotels charged $50 per night. It may cost less for large families to pay for parking near attractions than to take Metro.

Uber and Lyft are both good options for when you want a ride from the airport late at night with all your luggage, or when you’re worn out after walking the Tidal Basin on a hot summer afternoon and the closest Metro station is a mile away. Download both apps on your phone to compare costs and availability. Remember that families of 5 or more will need to pay more for a larger vehicle.

Click the button to read more of my tips for riding with Uber and Lyft with kids.

We have found that taxis are not a lot more expensive than Uber/Lyft in Washington D.C. Look up the cost on the app, then ask for the taxi rate to compare. Taking the taxi that is in front of you makes more sense than waiting for another ride if there isn’t a big difference in cost.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget


It may make sense to book a hotel or vacation rental farther away from downtown to save money, but figure out how much you’re likely to spend on Metro fees (and what your travel time is worth) before you commit. A family of 5 can easily spend $50+ in transportation on just one round trip on Metro from the suburbs.

On our 4th of July trip, we wanted to stay within a short walk of the National Mall. We found Hotel Harrington to be the most affordable option, and it was so nice to relax there in the middle of the day, and just walk back after the fireworks when streets were congested and Metro stations were packed. We didn’t use Metro at all during our two-night stay.

Hotel Harrington is old, and for that reason, it gets middling reviews. However, if price is your top priority, click the button to learn more about Hotel Harrington on TripAdvisor.

Vacation rentals can be a great way to get more space and a full kitchen for less money in Washington D.C. It pays to check several sites, including AirBnB and Remember that vacation rentals usually tack on more fees than hotels, and fees vary between renters, so look at the final cost, not just the nightly rate to compare prices. Click the button for all our tips for booking a great vacation home.


I like booking a hotel with an in-room fridge or a vacation rental with a full kitchen. It allows us to eat fast and inexpensive breakfasts in our room and pack sandwiches or snacks in a purse or day pack. With a full kitchen, you can cook dinner too. When you eat like you would at home, you can keep your extra food expenses close to zero.

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

If you are like many families, you are looking ahead to the summer months and swimming, barbeques and family vacations! If you want to get away, you can save money on your trip by taking some easy steps. Here are just a few.

Buy venue tickets in advance. You often can find deals to save 10 or 20% if you buy tickets online. That might mean you have to more carefully plan your trip ahead of time and purchase the tickets accordingly.

Follow Daily Deal Sites. Watch GroupOn for the city where you are heading to as there are often admission deals to theme parks, restaurants and even hotels. and other events. So, if you are heading to Houston, watch the Houston GroupOn page.

Save on airfaire. Purchase tickets at least 6 weeks in advance and you can often get lower fares. You can also often find the best deals in the morning. And if you can, fly out on Wednesdays, as that is usually the lowest fare day of the week.

Don’t overplan. There is not need to see an attraction every day of your vacation. If you plan on being at your destination for 5 days, just plan events for 3 of them and then spend a couple of down days. Nothing says you have to do something every minute you are away from home.

What are your tips for saving money on your family’s vacation?

How to Plan a Family Vacation On a Budget

Nowadays, going on vacation can be pretty expensive, especially if you’re bringing your entire family with you, and that’s why it’s always good to know how to plan a family vacation on a budget. There are a lot of things you can do to lower the costs of your vacation! Just look for the best deals, make a plan and look for different ways to save money while still being able to have fun. Money is always an issue in today’s society, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t have the vacation of your dreams on a low budget. Although traveling is not cheap, it can be affordable. Just read on and discover a few very useful tips on how to plan a family vacation on a budget:

1. Create a Budget Plan

One of the first things you should do if you want to learn how to plan a family vacation on a budget is to create a specific budget plan, so you will know how much money you are willing to spend on that vacation. Just try to estimate how much money you’ll pay for the travel costs, for the accommodation, for the food and for the fun things you are going to do on that adventure. Also, you should set aside some extra funds in case of an emergency, because it’s always best to be prepared.

2. Plan Early

If you’re trying to reduce the costs of your vacation, then you should always start planning early, so you’ll get the best deals. For example, if you buy you plane tickets at least six months in advance, you will pay the lowest prices on airfare. Also, by booking your vacation in advance, you’ll get the best, cheapest rates on your accommodation. Just do some research on the Internet and look for the best deals.

3. Travel during an off Season

You’ll save quite a lot of money on your vacation if you travel during an off season. Of course, this can be a bit difficult to pull through, if you have kids who are still in school, but usually travel fees are the lowest during that period, because the demand drops. You could travel in spring or in fall, since the prices are very low in those seasons compared to how they are in summer, in winter or during the holidays.

4. Cut the Costs on Your Food

Try to reduce the costs of your food by not eating out so often. You could try cooking your own food or at least bring it with you. Stay in a hotel that has a refrigerator, a microwave or even a kitchen, so you’ll be able to store, warm or why not, cook your own food. Eating out all the time can be very expensive, so budget your money carefully and don’t eat out every day if you can’t afford it. You could also go to a grocery store near your hotel and fix some picnic-like meals in your room.

5. Make Sure You Don’t Forget Anything

When you’re going on a trip with your entire family, make sure you don’t forget anything important, so you won’t have to spend money on it when you arrive at your destination. Try making a list of the things you have to bring with you a couple of days before you pack your bags, just to make sure that you bring with you everything you need. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to spend your money on a new bathing suit or on a new shampoo, just because you forgot to pack them.

6. Use Public Transportation

In order to cut the costs of your vacation, you could simply walk (if your dining and entertainment are within walking distance of your hotel) or use public transportation instead of renting a car. This way, you will get to discover all the wonderful things that place has to offer and you’ll save quite a lot of money, money that you could spend on other fun things to do.

7. Find Inexpensive Deals on Tickets to Local Attractions

Just go on the Internet and do a bit of research and I’m sure you’ll find quite a lot of deals on tickets to local attractions. You could visit different museums that offer discounts for families or you could go on all kinds of tours. Just ask at your hotel about free or cheap things to do in that area, because there might be a lot of fun and inexpensive attractions in that place that you could get to on foot and I’m sure you wouldn’t want to miss them. This way, you’ll spend less, and maybe you’ll even learn more.

There are a lot of wonderful and inexpensive things you can do with your family when you’re in vacation. You just have to do a little bit of research and look for the best deals. Do you know any other tips on how to plan a family vacation on a budget? Please tell us about them in the comments section!