Are you in the process of planning your next trip? According to Mint.com, 11% Americans will be spending their tax refund on a vacation this year. Traveling can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are ten tips for families traveling on a budget:
1. Plan Ahead
Booking plane tickets and hotels in advance can help you save hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars. Use sites like HotelCoupons.com to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
2. Hit the Road
While flying is often faster, driving is typically the cheaper option for families, especially if your vehicle is a fuel-efficient hybrid. Research gas stations ahead a time with tools like GasBuddy.com to find out the cheapest gas available in your area.
3. Bring Fido
Pet sitting and doggie boarding can get costly, so why not bring your pooch along with you on your next trip? Red Roof Inns and Motel 6 chains are known to be pet friendly, but there are alternatives, too. If you can’t bring your pup with you, try and find a friend or family member who can watch your pooch for free.
4. Utilize Public Transit
Many cities in the United States have excellent public transportation. Instead of hailing a costly taxi, consider using a bus, train or subway to navigate to your destination.
5. Recuperate at Rest Stops
If you’re taking your family on a cross-country road trip, you will undoubtedly come across rest stops along the way. Many rest stops offer security patrols and can be a great place to take a stretch, walk the dog or rest your eyes.
6. Eat In
It might sound strange, but you don’t have to eat out while you’re on the road. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches make an excellent road trip snack and can be made in the comfort of your hotel.
7. Ask for a Group Discount
Don’t hesitate to ask for a group discount, especially if your family is a party of six or more. Museums, walking tours and other attractions have experience catering to larger parties and can often work out a deal for you and your family.
8. Avoid Toll Roads
If you’re road trip takes you across the Midwest, you might find yourself driving through a number of tolls. In fact, on a recent trip from Chicago to DC, I counted eleven on my trip. In hindsight, it would have been wiser to take the back roads and save the nearly $125 on round trip toll expenses.
9. Act like a Local
Locals always seem to know the best way of doing business in their own town. Often, the best local attractions don’t even cost a dime. Ask a local about his or her favorite place to bring the kids.
10. Travel on the Off Season
Airfares, hotel rentals and theme park tickets are often deeply discounted in the off-season. Do a little research to find out the peak season for your destination and try and plan a trip around that information.
We hope these budget-conscious tips will help you plan a stress free trip with your family. Did we miss something? Add your tip to the list by commenting below or connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter.