Cheap Family Vacations

Cheap family vacations that will keep everyone happy are a reality for a family used to the frugal living lifestyle.

Planning ahead and spending your money wisely can still lead to a great vacation, all you have to do is to stay away from all the tourist money grabbing traps and to tell your children before you go that you are all on a budget.

I find that if you let them know this before hand it causes fewer arguments and upsets later and most kids are reasonably understanding if you treat them as grown ups.

Here are my cheap family vacations tips to help you plan your trip away as part of your frugal living plan:

When To Travel

  • If it is possible to travel during the off season then this can save you lots of money, often these holidays are 30 to 40% cheaper. It may mean that the kids will miss one week of school, make sure that this won't be too disruptive and make sure that the school is aware of your trip.
  • Check with your destination when their off peak starts, this may not necessarily coincide with other places and so you may be able to go during their first week of their off season and not disrupt your children's schooling.
  • Make sure that when you want to travel does not coincide with any festivals or events at your destination. This can raise prices considerably and reduce your choices of accommodation.

Where to stay For Cheap Family Vacations

  • The all inclusive cheap family vacation is often a good choice for families with small children, as everything is included in the price including kids activities.

  • Finding somewhere to stay for the whole family can be one of the most expensive and difficult decisions you have to make. After all you want somewhere safe for your family that is clean, has good facilities but doesn't break the bank. The idea is to have a great holiday but on a budget, so you don't want to spend all your money just on the hotel. 
  • For families with older children booking your own accommodation directly will work out better, as you won't be paying for things you won't be using, like a kids club.Telephone hotels directly to see if they have any special rates or family deals on offer. When being frugal with your vacation plans it may mean having to take extra time to sort things out for yourself to save in the long run.
  • Home swaps - why not arrange with family or friends who live far away to swap each other's house for a week or so.It will still feel like a vacation and the cost of accommodation is just reduced to paying for utilities.

  • Time-shares - if you have a place you like to visit regularly for your vacations then why not consider a share in a time-share apartment. Top tip though is to deal directly with the owner of the apartment and not through an agent.
  • Book accommodation on the outskirts of your destination rather than in the centre, prices will differ greatly and buying a season ticket for your whole family can further reduce local bus fares.

Where To Go

  • For a cheap family vacation stay in your own country and either drive or take a coach and avoid airfares.Even though airfares look very cheap once you have added all the taxes and luggage costs and insurance it can work out far more expensive than you first thought.

  • If your heart is set on one of the big family resorts like Disneyland and your frugal living budget can't stretch to these then it is still worth checking out any discounts they may have on offer.Again it may be worth finding your own accommodation and travel deals yourself rather than relying on agents.

What To Eat

Eating out with the whole family all the time will cost a fortune. Instead be frugal and:

  • If staying at a hotel, make sure that everyone eats a big breakfast everyday to keep them full for longer. You could also try to take some bread rolls at breakfast with you for your lunchtime snack.I used to sneakily fill bread rolls with bacon and take some of the fresh fruit that was left for us at breakfast and keep it for lunch.

  • Prepare frugal foods for picnics. Use the local supermarkets for cheap ingredients.
  • Always carry snacks for the kids. Cereal bars and bags of crisps are a great way to fill them up and to steer them away from other takeaway options available.

Cheap Family Vacations Activities

  • Always plan in advance if you can what you are going to do every day. Remember that you do not have to do everything and the main reason for your holiday is to enjoy spending some time together. 

  • Take advantage of any free activities offered. Including local play grounds and beaches.
  • Make your own frugal fun activities for the kids, what about:

    • Walking along the beach
    • Climbing rocks
    • Rock pool searching
    • Shell collecting
    • Flying kites
    • Fishing
    • Swimming
    • Rounders or cricket
    • Keep away from the local shops as much as possible, especially gifts shops and arcades. Instead go to the less tourist areas of the town. Keep your frugal living hat on even when away and your holiday won't come back to haunt you later.

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