Traveling as a family for vacation and seeing friends and family can create lifelong memories. While you can treasure these adventures for years to come, the cost of the trip may come at a hefty price.
This can be especially true for a younger family. The expense of traveling with young kids can hinder your plans. But with a little planning and following a few tips, you can make travel more accessible for your family.
Set a Budget
Before you start booking your vacation, be sure to sit down and budget what you plan to spend. Maybe you already have $3,000 set aside for family vacation this year. You can start assigning different categories for your trip within that amount.
If you don’t have it saved, look at when you hope to travel and work backward to make a budget. Check out some of the perks with your debit card or credit card as well. Some credit cards offer cash-back features. Some debit cards offer a round-up feature for saving. These could be creative ways to save toward your trip faster.
Choose Your Destination Carefully
While traveling with a young family can be feasible on any budget, destination matters. Some cities and countries are more expensive than others. Pick a city or country with a lower cost of living to maximize savings. But be sure to weigh the cost of flights or other modes of transportation to get there. Sometimes a city might be affordable, but the flight there is out of reach for your budget.
Also consider what attractions you want to visit. Some cities are also more kid-friendly than others. Places like Disney World and the Wisconsin Dells are geared toward families. You can often find lodging and activities to accommodate a young family. These types of destinations also tend to offer packaged or bundled deals for food and entertainment, saving you money.
Travel in the Off-Season
Just as destination matters, so too does the time of year you choose to travel. Some destinations even have what they consider peak travel times. In the United States, traveling over the winter holiday break, spring break, and summer are popular times for families to hit the road. Kids are out of school, and it makes it easier to get away during these times.
You can sometimes snag deals during other times of the year when tourist destinations are looking for guests. For example, you might find a good price at theme parks or beach destinations after school is back in session. Other countries also have good deals during their winters or rainy seasons.
Go Ahead — Travel With Your Young Kids
Some debate spending money to travel when the kids are young because they won’t remember it. You also have to pack more things for little ones. However, you can sometimes travel for less money when they are small.
For one, kids’ meals are cheaper. Some restaurants even let kids under a certain age eat for free. Before your children are school-aged, you also can travel more freely at any time of the year. You don’t have to worry about them missing school. This lets you take advantage of those off-season price savings.
Little ones also can sit on your lap on flights until a certain age. This saves you from buying another seat. You can stay in smaller hotel rooms with smaller kids as well.
This can also be a great time to visit family – they’ll love to see the kids. And you’ll have a little bit of extra help with the little ones as well. Grandparents might also be able to let you stay with them to save on lodging costs.
Relax at a Campground
Speaking of lodging, one way to save costs when traveling with little ones is by camping. Campgrounds offer many activities and amenities and get you off the beaten path a bit. The fees for renting a campsite are often significantly less than renting a hotel for the weekend.
You can rough it with tent camping, but look for campgrounds that have bathhouses. Showers and bathrooms make camping more comfortable as a family. You can also take a camper or RV. That allows you to travel with all your things conveniently in tow and ready for bed. If kids need a nap, it’s also easy to keep them on a schedule with this type of vacation. You can cook by fire or in your camper to save money as well.
If tent camping isn’t your thing and you don’t own a camper, some campgrounds have other options for you. Some allow you to rent a cabin on site. There are also several RV rental companies you can use to take one for a vacation spin without committing to ownership. These options are often less expensive than a hotel.
Many campgrounds even come with amenities like pools and activities for kids. If you enjoy nature, this can be a fun and cost-savings trip.
Booking a family cruise might sound expensive, but it can actually make traveling more accessible for young families. There are all kinds of activities included on the ship. You also can travel between destinations without having to switch rooms as compared to road trips. It’s easy to go back to your room for nap times, too.
Some food and drink options are also included in your booking. If you don’t add extras, that can come in handy. To save even more money, look to book a cruise that sails from the closest port to you.
Many cruises also offer daycare options onboard as well as kid’s activities. You can sign your children up to have fun and enjoy a date as a couple this way. Some ships provide age-specific gathering and lounge areas for kids, as well as themed pools that kids are sure to enjoy.
Introducing your little ones to travel early can also make them travel pros. They get used to going with the flow and enjoying the adventures with you. Traveling doesn’t have to be off the table for a young family. With a little pre-planning and creative destinations, you can have a great trip without breaking the bank. There are many places that are accessible for family fun. Take the trip. The memories will last a lifetime.