Let’s face it. Traveling can certainly be expensive and tasking, but the key to enjoying your next vacation without robbing a bank is being smart. There are definitely several ways to cut down on the cost while you’re on the go. Try these simple and imaginative tips to help your wallet and pocket while enjoying an inexpensive family vacation.
1. Check and compare rates
Whenever possible, get your fingers on your keyboard and compare discount travel sites to find the best airline ticket deals and hotels for your next vacation. Not only will this save you time, but also save you some money. There are several ways to do it now. You can opt to log-in to the travel websites, or you can also use travel apps to check and compare rates. Most of these websites and apps have innovated the game by putting all the things you need in one place – airline tickets, hotel reservation, transportation options, list of places to visit, and selection of tour packages. A one-stop-shop for a thrifty tourist.
2. Use your miles
If, like me, you own a credit card, I suggest that you check your membership perks and points. Most credit cards offer points conversion to airline miles to their clients. This way, you can save your two-way tickets that most often cost a fortune. This is a great way to have an inexpensive family vacation.
3. Travel light
Whether you are traveling by air, land, or sea, it is always smart, cost-effective, and efficient to bring what you only need. Traveling light will not only save you the cost of adding luggage allowances, but also save you energy,
especially when your trip will entail trekking for hours and some distance. It will be a smart idea to use backpacks, instead of the usual travel bags.
4. Check the airline restrictions and regulations
To avoid paying the extra luggage charges at the airport because you missed checking and weighing your luggage at home, always review the airline luggage rules and regulations ahead. Be smart to keep in mind that most
airlines only allow up to 15.43 pounds (7 kilograms) of carry-on baggage, nothing more, nothing less. In the event that you really have to carry more than what’s allowed, then you have to purchase an extra luggage allowance beforehand, since buying it when you’re already in the airport would mean paying more.
5. Go offseason
Although it is ideal to travel when most people travel, I suggest opting for offseason travels, as the rates are usually comparatively low.
Plus, fewer tourists will flock to your destination, which means you may possibly have the entire paradise to yourself. Places won’t be crowded, and your wallet won’t be crying – a good way to enjoy your family vacation on a budget.
6. Be the chef of the team
Trying out local foods and authentic cuisine is definitely a good way to enjoy your travel adventure. While you can still try the local cuisine, it wouldn’t hurt if you also skip some restaurant visits and cook for the team.
We all need to eat, but eating out would mean extra expenses. Be the chef, and try cooking some local dishes as well.
7. Travel in 4s
Traveling solo is becoming a trend nowadays, but it’s still not bad to travel with friends or family members. Traveling in 4s is very ideal, since you can divide the expenses into 4. You will also have the comfort of traveling, since most taxicabs or any mode of transportation carry up to 4 passengers. This will help you keep your family vacation on a budget.
8. Know your transportation options
Transportation costs can hurt your pocket if you don’t have any plan. So research about the mode of transportation available in the destination you’re going to. There are cities such as Singapore, Hong Kong, Macau, Tokyo, or Taipei that have very efficient and affordable transportation cards you can purchase. If you’re up for some exploring, you can also consider walking around the city, which will be a good way to enjoy the view.
9. Prepare your credit card
More recently, many travelers opt for traveling with credit cards rather than cash. You don’t have to worry about where to look for money changers or banks anymore since most credit cards allow direct transactions.
For sure, credit cards are a big weapon in a budget traveler’s arsenal. A friend you would want to keep.
10. Bring enough cash
Bringing enough cash is also a good idea, especially when you’re visiting a place without ATM or credit card machines.
If you couldn’t find a money changer, then it would be smart to bring U.S. dollars, as most countries accept this. Having cash can help keep you on a budget for an inexpensive family vacation.
11. Research about the places to go and activities you want to do
Doing a little research about the places you want to visit and activities you want to do will be beneficial to you. You’ll be surprised that there are a lot of free activities you can do and places you can visit without fees or with minimum entrance fees. Take for instance, Taiwan. Many of the tourist attractions there do not collect entrances fees.
12. Look for tourist discounts or discover your membership perks
If you have done your research well, you will have the power to maximize your membership perks when traveling. For instance, when you want to shop overseas, there are malls and establishments which offer discounts and freebies to tourists.
All you need to do is ask around and sign-up instantly. This helps with keeping your family vacation on a budget.
13. Read reviews and customer ratings
A smart traveler is someone who reads. While it is good to learn from your friends’ experiences, it is best to read travel reviews and comments – may it be about the hotel, airline, restaurants, activities, or tourist destinations. By reading reviews and rating, you can avoid mistakes that can derail your budget for an inexpensive family vacation.
14. Consider couchsurfing, hostels, or AirBnb
Depending on where you are going, when you are going, who you are traveling with, or the purpose of the trip, it is always nice to have multiple accommodation options. Some of the options that will help you cut the expenses from booking expensive hotel rooms are Airbnb and couchsurfing. Airbnb normally gives more flexibility than regular hotels. You have the comfort of a home without having to pay more.
Couchsurfing, on the other hand normally requires building a network. If you already have one, then take advantage of that and make friends. Lastly, checking-in to hostels rather than hotels can also save you some money, because they normally have cheaper rates for dorm-type or shared rooms. Since accomodation can cause a ton of money, this method can help you keep your family on a budget and pull off your inexpensive family vacation.
15. Contact a friend
A friend wherever in the world he or she may be will always be a friend. So, if you are visiting a country and you know that a friend lives there, then, reach out and ask for tips and assistance. Your friend may be available during the time of your travel and can be your personal tour guide, which means you’ll save from the tour guide fee and will have extra money to either shop or dine. Your friend can also give you tips on how to get around, and that will save you time.
16. Download Travel Apps in advance
Regardless of whether you have Apple or Android devices, there are plenty of travel apps that you can use to maximize your travel experience. You can use booking apps, discount apps, or even maps to save money and time.
Everything you need is just a click away. Some of the best apps available in the Apple Store and Google Play are: Klook, Google Maps, Agoda, Hotel.com, Skyscanner, and Traveloka. This can be life savers!
17. Purchase mobile Internet packages or use free Wi-fi
Internet is no longer a “want” but a “need” when traveling. There are times that you want to disconnect from the world-wide-web; however, there will be times when you really need to use it. It’s a great tool for communication that can also be costly, especially when you’re planning to use your roaming Internet services.
The good way to get connected without spending much is taking advantage of the 3-day or 5-day mobile Internet packages that are normally available at the airports or subways. There are also free Wi-fi services you can connect to when you visit popular malls or sites.
18. Limit your expenses before traveling
Weeks or months before your trip, cut your usual expenses to save extra pocket money. Coffee is a daily expense that quietly drains your wallet without you ever noticing. So, if you love that Starbucks Macchiato, limit your cups or give it up temporarily. Money saved can help toward your vacation budget and keep you within your vacation money goals.
19. Skip the souvenirs
Sure you can buy your best friend that fridge magnet or UK t-shirt as souvenir, but ask your friends and family to give you the peace of mind when traveling by wishing that you arrive home safe instead of asking for presents.
Take lots of photos as souvenirs. It’s fun, cheap, and the fond memories will last a lot longer than any item you pick up at the airport.
20. Plan everything out
It’s better to be ready than sorry. So, as soon as you have booked your airfare tickets, then start planning and panning out your itineraries. Lay-out everything from hotel accommodation options, travel tips, directions, destinations or attractions to visit, to activities to do, and ways to get there. Make sure that your documents, ticket printouts, passports, and visas are ready. Ultimately, secure yourself by purchasing travel insurance when traveling overseas. Most insurance packages cover lost documents, baggage issues, flight delays, and accidents. Safeguard yourself and your wallet for any unexpected expenditures due to travel mishaps or accidents. You certainly want to family vacation on a budget.