We like to travel more than once a year with our kids, in order to do so as a family of five, we need to be very conscious and smart about our vacation budget and how we use it.
Over the years we came up with a few ways and tricks that able us to make the most of our vacation budget so here are our best tips:
- Plan ahead of time – WE plan our June vacation in October – that is when most airlines announce their summer prices. The earlier you book the cheaper the airfare is. Get on the mailing lists of a few low-cost airlines and get a notice when they are about to open the sale of their summer flights. If you book on that first day, you will get your plane tickets for a great price. We also use Jetraider to compare flight fares for the destinations we are interested in – it is a super useful tool to use even compared to other price comparison engines and we used – this one came up with better results.
- low-cost airlines – we like using them as long as flight time is up to 5 hours tops. Our family found them to be functional and if we plan the right way it is such a fantastic way to stretch your budget.
- Most low-cost airlines will allow you to take a carry on – free of charge. Each family member has one of their own so this way we don’t have to pay for luggage. The best tip we can give you for making the most out of your free carry on – especially if the airline you are using doesn’t limit carry on weight (just size) is to use space-saving compression bags like these. We use those with every trip we take, and it also helps to keep everything in order. What we do spend extra money on is choosing our seats to make sure we are all placed together.
Booking accommodations – Compare prices!
- use price compersion tools like Jetrider to make sure you are getting the best offer. Note the little details as cancellation policies and what the price actually includes. Accommodation like holiday villages. book directly through the chain website, look for special discounts, some chains offer family discounts and early bird discounts. When looking for a different type of accommodations like farm houses/apartments/B&B we usually use Booking.com, it has all types of accommodations and it’s usually easier for me to find something that is right for us a family, using it.
Book accommodations ahead of time too – many of the hotels offer an “early bird” prices. Also, we are a family of five. It’s not always easy to find family rooms, they tend to fill up fast.
- Check the different types of accommodations available, last year we stayed at a holiday park (this one which is great for kids under the age of 7) where we got a bungalow with a fully furnished kitchen we used for cooking our meals. This year we booked a hotel that served breakfast and we dined out for the rest of the meals. Surprisingly the bungalow with the kitchen proved to be the better option for us, though it may be a little more work, we were more relaxed and it was easier making sure the kids ate something more nutritious than Pizza and french fries. It is definitely something we take into consideration thinking ahead for next year.
Google maps is your friend -use it smartly!
- If you traveling to a city like London or Paris, accommodation for a family in the city may be extremely expensive. Look for accommodation in the surrounding suburbs then use google map to check out the public transportation lines that run from the suburbs to the city. In London, for example, you can get fantastic accommodation for a family in a safe nearby suburb with a direct underground line (20-minute ride to the city center) for half the price it will cost you to stay in the city, the same goes for Amsterdam and every major city we traveled to.
Plan your trip smartly, save and enjoy!
Have any great tips for budget travel? share with us, would love to hear from you.