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save-vacationDo you think that a family vacation is out of the picture with your current budgetary constraints? You just might be surprised at how affordable a vacation can be, if you are careful. Outside of shopping travel deal sites, what other ways can you save money on a family trip? The answer may surprise you.

Budget Friendly Meals

Your family’s meals are one area where you can cut your expenses on your family vacation. If you travel on a cruise or to a resort destination, you can purchase packages that include the meals as part of the cost of the trip, if they aren’t already included. If this is not available, look for lodging that has a kitchen, so you can prepare some of your meals in your hotel room. Even just a fridge and microwave can allow you to prepare some quick items or pack a lunch to take with you on the go. This is almost always cheaper than going to a restaurant, and it’s also usually healthier too.

Budget Friendly Destinations

Your destination can also make or break your budget while traveling. When possible, look for options that include the attractions and entertainment with the cost of lodging. Some of these include:

  • Waterpark resorts
  • Amusement park resorts
  • Cruises
  • All-inclusive resorts

In addition, national parks can be an affordable option, if you allow nature to be your primary attraction.

You can also save money by choosing a destination near home. If you do not have to drive long distances or fly to your destination, your entire vacation will be cheaper. A “staycation,” which gives you the chance to enjoy your local attractions, can be one of the most affordable, and fun, family vacations you can have.

Thoughtful Souvenir Shopping

Your kids are going to want a souvenir of their trip, but those tourist traps and amusement park gift stores are going to take every penny you have. By getting a little creative, you can give your kids a way to remember the trip without spending too much.

For instance, if you know you are traveling somewhere, like Disney, that has characters associated with it, find toys and knickknacks with those characters on them ahead of time at your local retailer. Buy them, and then stash them in the suitcase. At the end of a day of fun, pull out a memento for your kids to have to remember the trip. They will appreciate the new toy or item, even if it did not come directly from the gift shop. You can do the same thing if you are visiting a zoo or natural park. Buy your own stuffed critter, then give it to your child after a day of exploration. With a little creativity, you can come up with a more affordable souvenir for just about any destination.

Budgets may be tight right now, but that does not mean that your family cannot enjoy a great vacation. With a little careful planning, you can make great memories together as a family, all while sticking to your budget.