My family and I love to travel, but we realize how expensive travel can be for some families. Luckily, Birmingham is equidistant from a lot of fabulous locations like the beach and the mountains. We also have a great airport, and it’s not too far of a drive to Atlanta if we need access to something bigger. So, how does my family afford to travel so much? We keep it simple, really. I’ve got four great tips I want to share with you in hopes of encouraging you that you can go on a vacation without breaking the bank.
We have so many fantastic resources for “day” or “long weekend” trips. DeSoto Caverns near Fort Payne, Huntsville Space and Rocket Center, and the Civil Rights Memorial & Center in Montgomery are just a few places I thought of off the top of my head. When thinking about local travel, it’s important to think seasonally too. We have wonderful farms nearby, like Old Baker Farm, that host seasonal events, or you could take your family to see the Barons play baseball on an “away game” weekend. Short trips over a few hours or a long weekend help scratch the wanderlust itch without costing serious cash.
Bring a Friend (or Two)
One of my favorite ways to travel is with family or friends. Splitting costs with other group members allows everyone to have fun while spending less. When traveling with friends, a big bonus is having children who are similar ages that will entertain one another. If you bring the grandparents along, they can have a fun evening with the kids (or maybe even a low-key one) while you and your spouse enjoy some one-on-one time. Sometimes there’s a lot of truth in the saying, “the more the merrier”!
I love going to the beach, but vacationing during peak season makes maximizing our budget trickier. Condos are usually more expensive than hotel rooms, but they come with great upgrades like a full kitchen and, usually, washers and dryers. Having a full kitchen means that some meals can be eaten in, which saves on the overall cost of the trip. Washing clothes before you pack up to head home also makes less work for Mom in the long run (winning)!
Last-minute trips can be fun and exhilarating, but they don’t leave much room for saving and planning. Some vacations require a little more forethought. Certain destinations, like the Disney Parks or Disney Cruise Lines, have apps or websites that allow you to determine the cost of your vacation before you book, and they break down the savings by weeks or months so you know exactly how much you need to set aside for your trip. Talk about convenience! Planning ahead is often a great way to start saving money on a family vacation.
These are just a few of my tried and true tips for maximizing our vacation fund, but I’m sure there are plenty of other great ones out there. What are some of your best tips for saving money on a family vacation?