Many families love the idea of traveling and taking holidays, however a major concern stopping plans their tracks is cost. Adding up how much money will be required to transport and accommodate the whole family can be a bit daunting and depressing. If your family is dreaming of white, sandy beaches or visiting some historic landmarks, don’t panic! You needn’t miss out.
If you’re looking at cost effective ways to get away with your children, here are some great tips which can save you a bucketload when you travel.
Money Saving Tip #1: Team Up With Another Family
Do you have any friends or family who would be interested in going away with you? Search for accommodation that caters for the number of people in both your families. The expenses will likely work out cheaper if you halve the costs.
Money Saving Tip #2: Given Housesitting A Try?
This tip is huge for budget concious families: awesome websites like the TrustedHouseSitters website gives your family the opportunity to housesit anywhere in the world, for free! You can also register your own home, so someone else can take care of your house and pets while you’re away. Another bonus is that it can save you from any hassles and costs required finding boarding or care for your pets.
Money Saving Tip #3: Be Proactive Looking For Cheap Accommodation
As soon as you start thinking about a holiday, sign up to the bigger, worldwide accommodation websites who are able to offer cheaper prices due to bulk discounts. I’ve spent a great deal of time comparing websites of our chosen accommodations as well as the various accommodation websites, and there is often a noticeable difference. Some websites have fees and charges that the others don’t have, so its worth doing your research.
I usually resort to Booking.com who offer a ‘book now, pay later’ option in most cases, but it depends on the property – some don’t allow it. However I have been able to do so around the world. We were pretty chuffed to get a great room in Vietnam for $40 a night.
You will also find great deals on tourism board websites (of the destinations you are looking at). The deals are nice and easy to find when you become a fan of tourism boards on Facebook.
But don’t take my word for it – compare, compare, compare. Oh, and did I mention… compare everything!
Money Saving Tip #4: Be Proactive Looking For Cheap Flights
If you plan on flying somewhere with your family, you would be well aware that it can be very costly. With most airlines, as soon as your child turns two years of age, they need their own seat, and often pay full fare. Some airlines have discounted rates for children, but its often the exception rather than the norm.
Try flight comparison websites like Kayak.com and Flightscanner.com, which compare flight prices, helping you to find the best price. When you identify the cheapest price, double check on the airlines website so you can be sure you have the best deal. These two websites are worldwide, so be sure you’ve selected the correct currency or the prices will look a little off!
It can make a significant difference to the price if you buy flights when they tend to be cheaper – that means booking well ahead, or being vigilant for last minute deals. I don’t recommend looking last minute, as heavily booked flights can leave you with a huge fare and no other options.
Be sure to sign up for flight specials newsletters (on the airline’s website or via the sites mentioned above) and you’ll be notified as soon as a sale begins.
Money Saving Tip #5: Travel During Off-Peak Periods
While this may not be very practical in some cases, travelling off-peak can save you lots of money, be it for local travel, interstate or overseas.
Research when the peak and off peak times are for your destination, and try to travel when accommodation and airfares are cheaper. School holidays tend to be peak times, leaving the school terms as cheaper times to travel. Don’t worry too much about travelling during school, you can always organise with your children’s teachers to have homework every day. Many teachers ask for holiday journals to be written, which is a great idea on so many levels.
Travelling offers some of the best education a child can have – seeing the world is an amazing experience not to miss. You just can’t buy an open mind or worldliness, which will be part of your children’s lives forever, shaping the person they become.
Money Saving Tip #6: Avoid Eating Out Where Possible
Its exciting and even romantic being able to eat somewhere new when you travel, but the cost can quickly add up, leaving you not in the mood for love at all! Especially with children, food and drinks for three meals a day, plus snacks, quickly add up and become a huge percent of your budget. During a recent family getaway, breakfast at an average-priced cafe for two adults, two children and one toddler came to a total of $70-$80. Breakfast was the cheapest meal of the day too.
Bring pre-prepared snacks where you can. Zip lock bags or lunchboxes are great in the car or on flights, but be sure to avoid sugary, processed treats. There is nothing worse than travelling with kids who are hyped up to the eyeballs in sugar, and are still hungry because junk does nothing to fill their bellies. Then comes the sugar crash… disaster!
Rather than choosing meals and snacks that have empty calories and low nutritional value, opt for healthy, balanced meals that will leave everyone feeling full and content, rather than pinging off the walls and starving for more. Some examples of some healthy, filling food ideas include protein (lean red meat, chicken, fish, lentils) with vegetables, salads, nuts (e.g. almonds, walnuts) and seeds (especially chia seeds). A boiled egg is surprisingly filling, and so simple and easy to make.
Money Saving Tip #7: Choose Apartment Style Accommodation
Apartment accommodation is ideal for families – its both affordable and practical. In an apartment, they usually include a decent sized fridge which you can stock with groceries and food. Washing machines are also common in apartments, so you don’t have to spend a fortune at the laundromat.
In an apartment, everyone has their own space, so you don’t go batty living in each others back pocket. As soon as you head out of your room, the dollar signs tend to follow you. Chilling in your own apartment for meals or movies can actually be quite enjoyable.
A great website to find affordable apartments all over the world is Airbnb where you can actually rent from people in over 34,000 cities and 190 countries – you deal direct with the owner and cut out the middle man. You can even list your own home or apartment for rent. Alternately Booking.com offers options for apartments too. Remember: be sure to compare for the best deals.
Money Saving Tip #8: Drive Efficiently
Fuel costs aren’t getting any cheaper, and if you’re trying to save money by holidaying locally, fuel costs can be a big consideration.
According to the RACV website, you can save up to a whopping 30% of fuel costs by driving efficiently. For example, traveling at 100km/h instead of 110km/h can reduce your car’s fuel consumption by 10%.
To find out more tips on saving money while driving, read RACV’s fuel saving tips article here.
Money Saving Tip #9: Investigate ‘All Inclusive’ Options
Some resorts offer all inclusive packages, combining accommodation and food into one package. The benefit of doing this is not having to fork out an uncertain amount of money for food while you’re there – all meals will be taken care of. Drinks, alcohol and snacks are usually at your own cost.
Money Saving Tip #10: BYO Entertainment
Making up entertainment packs for the kids can save you money and headaches! Depending on your children’s ages, pack a backpack full of colouring books, stationery, travel games, a music player with headphones, playing cards – anything you can think of. It will help prevent impulse purchases when the kids are going bonkers and you’ll throw money at just about anything to get five minutes peace! Planning ahead is important – if you make sure the kids are well sorted, you’ll have a much more enjoyable trip and a happier bank account.
Money Saving Tip #11: Saving Money Back At Home
Especially if you’re heading off for a while, turn off all your electrical appliances to save on electricity. Also, make sure you haven’t forgotten to cancel any deliveries or services while you’re away.
If you have pets, organising family or friends take care of them while you’re gone will save you the cost of putting your pets in boarding accommodation, so rally up help from those closest to you and you’ll save even more.