How to Save Big on Family Travel
Are you dreaming of family travel but worried about the expenses? You’re not alone. Most people would love to travel more with their families, but the cost can be daunting. In this blog post, I’ll share some savvy tips on how to save money and make your family trips affordable without compromising on the experience.
Before we dive into the money-saving strategies, let me introduce myself. My name is Shanna, and my family of four loves to explore the world. We’re a homeschooling family, and we believe that traveling is an excellent way to enrich our kids’ education. So, let’s talk about how we save money on family travel.
1. The Homeschooling Advantage
One of the best-kept secrets for saving money on family travel is homeschooling. If you homeschool your kids, you have the flexibility to travel during off-peak times, such as when school is in session. This flexibility can instantly save you money on various aspects of your trip, from plane tickets to theme park admissions.
For instance, popular destinations like Disney and many other attractions are less crowded when school is in session. Smaller crowds mean shorter lines and a better overall experience. So, if you’re homeschooling, you’re already at an advantage when it comes to saving money on family travel.
2. Extensive Research Pays Off
The second tip for saving money on family travel is thorough research. Let me share a personal example. I’ve always wanted to visit London for my 40th birthday, and I started researching our trip almost a year in advance. By doing this, I discovered that February is one of the least expensive times to visit London. Yes, the weather can be a bit chilly, but you can find great deals on flights and accommodations.
Here’s what you can do:
– Use Google Flights to track flight prices and find the best deals.
– Check school calendars to plan your trip when other children are in school.
– Join travel-related Facebook groups and follow YouTubers to stay updated on travel tips and discounts.
My family of four is flying round trip from Miami to London for just $1,700. We used Southwest points to save on our domestic flights. This extensive research paid off, and we’re now looking forward to an amazing European adventure.
3. Maximize Your Points
Another fantastic way to save on family travel is by using loyalty points. If you’re in an area with limited direct flights, consider using points to cover your layover flights. For example, we are Southwest cardholders, and we earn points on our everyday expenses. These points allow us to fly for free or at a reduced cost, saving us a significant amount of money on flights.
4. Shop Around for Discounts
To save money on family travel, don’t hesitate to shop around for discounts. When booking excursions, tours, or tickets for attractions, consider third-party providers. Often, you can find the same experiences at a lower cost, especially when you have a larger family.
Additionally, check out discounts from programs like Tickets at Work, Costco Travel, Sam’s Club Travel, and Groupon. You can often score great deals on tickets and activities that fit your budget.
Several of our annual passes include little-known membership in reciprocity programs! Check out the ASTC Passport program and the AZA Reciprocity program to save with memberships you may already have.
5. Get Creative and Economical
Get scrappy with your approach to family travel. Think outside the box to cut costs wherever you can. For example, if you’re flying with an airline that allows free checked bags, pack some of your favorite snacks and essentials. This not only saves you money but also ensures that your kids have their favorite foods, making your travel experience more convenient. We love to get a jump on our Disney days by having oatmeal in the hotel room before even stepping outside.
6. Never Stop Pricing Your Trip
Here’s a pro tip that many travelers overlook: never stop pricing your trip. Even after you’ve made reservations, continue to monitor prices. Airlines often have sales on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, so keep an eye on flight costs and be prepared to rebook if you find a better deal.
Moreover, if you’re booking a Disney vacation, for example, check for new discounts regularly. Disney often releases promotions that could save you money even after you’ve made a reservation. Don’t hesitate to call and ask for discounts, as they can add up to substantial savings.
We used this approach to save $2k dollars on our Alaskan Cruise with Royal Caribbean.
Bonus Tip: Use Gift Cards for Savings
Consider using gift cards to save even more on your family travel expenses. Look for discounted gift cards at places like Sam’s Club or BJ’s Wholesale. You purchase gift cards for a price below their spend value. For example: you buy a $50 gift card for $45 and can use the card for $50 spend value. This automatically saves you $5. These gift cards can be used for various expenses, from dining to activities, allowing you to stretch your budget further.
In conclusion, saving money on family travel is possible with careful planning, research, and a bit of creativity. By taking advantage of homeschooling flexibility, researching your options, maximizing loyalty points, shopping for discounts, getting scrappy, and continuously monitoring prices, you can enjoy memorable family vacations without breaking the bank.
Happy travels and I hope these tips help you make the most of your family adventures while saving money along the way! If you have any questions or need more travel advice, feel free to ask. Be sure to follow our fun family adventures over on Instagram @makingeverydaymagic.