Plan ahead, anyone traveling with children must plan ahead. Even if it’s a simple family-friendly vacation to visit the relatives, you might like to start planning two to three months in advance. For a big family vacation, plan a year or more in advance. Many resorts and cruise lines have deals for early bookings, allowing families to save money.
Family Vacation Time in the Low Season
Taking a family vacation during the “off” season is another option to help to save money. When everyone else returns to work or school, vacation cities and resort towns look for ways to fill empty hotels and vacation homes. Large family vacations may be cheaper if planned in early fall or right after Christmas.
Vacation Accommodations for Large Families
Staying in a hotel can be the biggest expense for a large family. Since most chains limit how many people can stay in a room, this usually means that two or more rooms will be needed. Places like Comfort Inn or hotels ending in the word suite, (Embassy Suites, Homewood Suites), are family-friendly and usually have hotel rooms for big families at reasonable rates.
Look at alternatives to staying in expensive hotels. Many large families go camping or own an RV. Consider buying a large family tent, pop up camper, or RV. Good deals on camping equipment can usually be found right after Christmas and after hunting season.
If camping won’t work for your family, consider renting a vacation home. Many resort locations offer the rental of a nice vacation home for around a $100 to $150 a night. However, renting a vacation home usually requires a minimum of a five-night stay.
For many families with children, a family vacation destination is often a theme park like Six Flags, Sea World, or Disney World. With a little planning, it is possible to enjoy a day at a theme park with a large family. As vacation season approaches, start looking for special deals, discounts, and group rates to the parks of your choice. Many national grocery store chains offer season passes to local amusement parks for just a little more than a one day pass!
State Parks and National Parks
Vacation destinations are sometimes planned around the locations of state parks and national parks. Every state has several parks to choose from. These parks offer camping and RV sites. A few offer the use of covered shelters and air conditioned cabins. This is a cheap alternative to an expensive hotel. Campground fees vary, but it would be rare to spend more than $80 a night even for the best accommodations. There are many fun, family activities to do while staying at a state park. Most state parks offer swimming, fishing, and hiking.
Do you have a family trip planned this year? Where are you going and what frugal tips have you planned to the save while traveling?