As summer approaches, it seems my mind can’t stop imagining my little family on a beach somewhere with a bowl of guacamole, a nice glass of iced tea, and a day filled with no worries. I must admit though, I’m on a budget this year for summer vacations. The good news is though: Vacationing on a budget isn’t as hard as you think!
Here are 10 ways you can take that vacation you’re dreaming about while staying within your budget:
1. Go for the package deals. I have friends who recently booked an all-inclusive trip to Disney World for themselves and their FOUR children. It included park tickets, breakfast and lunch each day, airfare, and hotel. When you book trips with everything included, you save a ton of money and you don’t have to worry about all of the details being separate. Saves money and time! I’m in!
2. When flying, bring your own snacks for the airport and flights. Obviously you can’t bring a large amount of liquid (so plan to buy drinks in the airport) but you can save a lot of money by bringing your own food. The airports raise their prices on snacks because they know you’ll pay it, so cut that option out.
3. Did you know car seats fly free? If you check the car seat at the counter when you check in, it flies free and you can pick it up at baggage claim. And you can save even more if you only have carry-on your bags. Think of waiting to get your toiletries and those big packages of diapers until you get to your destination.
4. Instead of staying in a hotel and forking over money for room service or eating out, consider renting a condo or apartment where you have a kitchen included. That way, you can make sandwiches for lunch and cook a bunch of your own meals. Food is such a big expense when vacationing, so this will give you more funds for fun activities.
5. Check the internet for coupons! Anytime I go out to eat, I always Google the restaurant first to see if there any any coupons available through my phone, and there almost always is! It can’t hurt to check to see if any part of your vacation has coupons.
6. The more people you invite, the better the split is on where you stay. If you rent a 3-bedroom house or condo and bring 3 families with a few air mattresses in tow, you will save a ton.
7. Don’t spend a ton on travel gear. My greatest item for airport travel with my little dudes in my umbrella stroller. It is compact and a great option for a nap or for those hurried runs in the airport to get to the gate. And it’s easily folded with one hand, so you can have check it, toss it in a rental car, use it at a theme park. It is versatile and perfect for traveling.
8. For the ultimate money saver, you could take a small vacation WITHOUT the kiddos. I know that sounds a little selfish but parents earn the right to get away every once in a while. If you can enlist the grandparents to watch the baby then you will also save on not hiring a babysitter. The less people in tow for vacation, the more money you can save.
9. Pick a destination where you know people — that way you can stay in someone’s home instead of paying for a hotel. Remember Aunt Carol who lives in North Carolina who always comments on your Facebook pics of your baby? She would probably love to have y’all visit!
10. Research somewhere nearby. You don’t have to travel hundreds of miles to have a great vacation. You can always visit a few different nearby towns over a few days and still make it back in time each evening to sleep at your house.
The most important part of a vacation is the quality time you get to spend with the ones you love. Try not to stress over how big the place is where you are staying, or how extravagant the whole vacation is. Soak in each special moment and be sure to take LOTS of pictures! I hope you’ll be able to get the vacation time you desire while staying within your budget.