7 Genius Tips to Save Big Money on Family Vacations
on Jan 02, 2018, Updated Jul 19, 2020
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We love traveling with our family. With four kids though, travel can get expensive. Somehow we still manage to take many trips with our four children. Over the years, we’ve learned quite a few money saving tips from all of our adventures. These seven genius tips help us save big money on family vacations.
7 Genius Ways to Save Big Money on Family Vacations
Family travel is so important. It’s a great way to make history come alive to children and helps them learn. My children appreciate so much more because we travel. I sure wish we could travel for free! Sadly we can’t, but we have learned ways to cut the cost on family vacations. Below are tips my family has learned while traveling over the years in addition to a few ideas from Alamo’s Scenic Route of how your family can save big money when traveling in 2018.
Understand All Transportation Costs
We generally save a lot of money by driving most places with our large family. However, driving is not always possible when we’re on a tight deadline or going somewhere that’s simply too far away. To save the most money on family vacations, it’s important to understand all costs involved in our transportation question. So make sure to do you research and calculate all the hidden costs associated with getting you to and from your vacation destination (meals, gas, taxis, lodging). Look for travel deals online and take advantage of free perks you can sign up for online – like Alamo Insiders – which save you more on Alamo’s already low rental prices.
Stay with friends and family whenever possible
Staying in hotels is another way to shell out a lot of money in a hurry. Whenever possible, we stay with family and friends to save money. Sometimes I feel bad imposing my entire family of six people on family and friends, but I am always happy to return the favor. Any time! Luckily, we seem to have the most amazing family and friends – from the East Coast to the West Coast, and most often we can find very willing people to accommodate us!
Just this summer we went on an epic 5,000 mile plus road trip to Seattle and back and stayed with friends and family on the way! Over the years, I have driven (on my own with four children) to New York, Boston, Philadelphia, and Florida. I love that my children have driven across the entire US – from the Atlantic to the Pacific. They have seen so amazing sites!
Cook your own meals
While we love eating out when we’re in new places, one fabulous way to save money is to eat in. Especially when we stay with family and friends, we make sure to supply as many groceries as we can. One was we save significant money on road trips is to pack lots of snacks and bring a cooler. Stop at grocery stores instead of restaurants, and instead of eating every meal out, try to eat out only once a day.
Use museum membership cards
Museum membership cards have saved us a ton of money because of the reciprocity they offer with other museums. I highly recommend researching museum membership benefits to see if it would benefit you. Many memberships cost around $100 and are good for an entire year! If you travel a lot a $100 investment in your local area can save you huge when you’re on the road.
4th Graders (and their families) get in Free to National Parks
Our fourth grader was so excited at how much money she saved us on our road trip to Seattle last summer. Because of her, we got in free to Yellowstone, Glacier, Badlands, Mt Rainier, and Devil’s Tower. Definitely check into that program if you have a fourth grader! Make sure to get your own Every Kid in Park Pass before heading out on your next family vacation.
Research ahead of time and use coupons
Did you know destinations often offer discounts and coupons? Make sure to research your destination ahead of time and reach out to the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. Sometimes you can find great coupons to print out online and sometimes you can request that they send you coupons in the mail! Either way, coupons are a great way to save money.
Find free activities to do!
Almost every single place we’ve visited is rich with free family friendly activities. From Florida to New York, to Seattle, we find amazing free things to do everywhere we go. Parks, beaches, downtown exploration! They are all often free. Make sure you do as many free things with your family as you can.
Whatever you do, don’t let money stand in the way of your next family vacation. Get creative and find a way to get out and explore! For more money saving travel tips, make sure to check out Alamo’s Scenic Route! They offer travel guides, vacation tips, and more ways to save big money on family travel. You’ll find a wealth of information there.