As you know spring quickly turns into summer and now is the perfect time to start planning your summer vacation with your kids. With any destination, there are a lot of factors to consider but for most families staying on budget is at the top of the list. What is important to keep in mind is that family travel can be quite affordable. Here’s a few tips to keep your budget in check.
The first step in my travel planning is always to search HomeExchange.com for people looking to come to our home city of Toronto. I then narrow the search down to what exchange is potentially in driving distance. By doing a home exchange in South Carolina last year, we were able to save thousands of dollars just on flights alone which left us feeling more comfortable with our travel budget. The house had a gorgeous pool with the added benefit that we didn’t need to share it with anyone.
Don’t worry I am not going to tell you to pack all your meals advance, my meal plan is more of a general idea of how much you will eat out as a family. We recently visited Waikiki and found that an easy way to stay on budget was to hit the local grocery store. With a Home Exchange, you will have a kitchen but even in a hotel this tends to be easier than most people think. By picking up yogurt and fruit for breakfast as well as simple lunch items we could prepare in the room, we were able to shave our travel bill and our waistlines down to more comfortable numbers. My meal plan is usually a lax rule that we will only eat out once a day whether it is for lunch or dinner. This saves us money, keeps us healthier and means when we eat out we feel more comfortable paying the bill since we are staying within our budget.
Kids always like to try new activities like hitting up the mini-golf course which can run your budget higher than expected. As soon as we pick a destination, I head to both Groupon.com and Livingsocial.com to see what kind of deals I can get on family activities. In some cities, we have found over 50% savings on tons of activities meaning that we could do twice as much.
When planning your family travel, start by getting rid of the dreaded fear of missing out. While you may have to skip a day at the amusement park to stay on budget, your kids will likely not even notice. Make your number one priority to just have fun spending time together and your vacation will go swimmingly.
Sarah Pittard is a freelance travel writer and has been a Home Exchange member since 2014. You can follow her travels on Solo Mom Takes Flight and catch up with her daily on Instagram. Check out her HomeExchange profile.