Ten Steps to Ensure You’re Getting Your Money’s Worth for Family Vacations

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It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing, the air is getting colder, and you’re busy making your holiday travel plans with your family.

Some people may think it sounds like a drag, but this is an opportunity to spend quality time together away from their day-to-day stresses and routines for many families. It’s also an occasion to see new things and enjoy each other’s company in person instead of over social media.  However, just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you want to break the bank or sacrifice comfort!

Here are some tips to get the most bang for your buck while traveling with your family this year:

Plan by booking early 

You can save up to 40 percent on flights if you purchase them seven weeks before your departure. If you’re traveling during the holidays, try to book even earlier than that because holiday fares are usually pegged at a higher price than regular tickets.

Be flexible 

You can find great deals out of major airports like O’Hare and Midway, but not all cities offer competitive travel prices to every destination. Using Google Flights, Skyscanner, or Kayak to search multiple destinations and departure times allows you to take advantage of the best deals no matter where they originate. Another good idea is to use an interactive map like Google Maps to compare where different airlines fly; you might be surprised by what cities have affordable connections!

Leave when it’s less busy

Traveling during the shoulder season, between June and September in the northern hemisphere or December to February in the southern hemisphere, can help you save. You can not only avoid peak travel times, but also get better rates on attractions, accommodations, and other activities.

Take advantage of hidden perks 

Most airlines have a program that allows customers to earn points toward future flights by completing simple tasks like flying frequently or buying an anniversary trip together. The more you fly with your airline of choice, the more opportunity you’ll have to take advantage of free upgrades when available! Also, browse through credit card offers; many will give you frequent flyer miles for using their cards while booking your vacation or offer special bonuses if paying for your trip with their card.

Think outside the box

If you’re looking for a luxurious getaway, consider the many all-inclusive resorts that offer not only free flights but also free food and drinks. You can also stay within your budget by checking out alternative accommodations such as Airbnb or hostels. Many cities around the U.S. have affordable options to pick. Additionally, if you’d like to visit somewhere exciting this year, try planning a road trip! Many families make the most of their everyday commutes and turn them into a fun to see new places.

Choose the right activities

Don’t let your cart full of groceries spoil your vacation! Family-friendly activities need not be expensive to enjoy together. You can take advantage of free museums, parks, or if the facility you’re staying in has an entertainment section for games like table tennis, you and your family can spend time having fun there for little or no cost.  Games like table tennis are excellent for indoor and outdoor family entertainment.

Utilize travel tools

Use money-saving websites like Groupon to find deals on attractions, restaurants, and hotels around your destination. You can also look for deals directly through airline and hotel websites before booking your trip.

Stay informed about exchange rates

Though you don’t need to be a finance expert to enjoy your vacation, it should help that the British Pound is weaker than the U.S. dollar this year, so $1 will get you 0.70 pounds! That means the cost of souvenirs has dropped nearly 20 percent since last year’s holiday season. Of course, to benefit from these fluctuating rates, you should book sooner rather than later because exchange rates are constantly changing.

Get a travel credit card

Travel cards can give you significant savings on abroad purchases because they’re not subject to the typical 3 percent fee that accompanies purchases made in a foreign currency. That means that if you spend $1,000 on your trip, you’ll only pay an additional $30 for using this type of card instead of paying a total of $130.

Pay attention to peak season

Some destinations will have peak season rates during the same time every year; it’s usually between June and August or December and February. You can take advantage of these airfare surges by purchasing tickets early or booking last-minute flights during the off-season when prices are significantly lower.  

Conclusion:

Family vacations don’t have to drain your bank account if you do a little research and keep your wits about how to save a little money here and there.

By following these 10 tips, you can plan a trip that stays within your budget and still provides the experience of a lifetime for everyone in the family!

Start by doing some research on destinations with affordable connections. Leave when it’s less busy during shoulder season (June-September or December-February), take advantage of hidden perks like airline frequent flyer programs or credit card offers, think outside the box about different accommodations such as Airbnb or hostels, choose activities based on what members of your group are interested in rather than expensive attractions, utilize online tools like Groupon to find deals on hotels and restaurants near your destination before booking anything else, stay informed about exchange rates so you can buy souvenirs at lower costs when abroad, and get a travel credit card that saves you money on foreign transactions.

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