I have shared stories about my frugal family vacations in the past. For the past 5 summers, I have been able to take my family on vacation completely funded by my online earnings. Family vacations are always fun and memorable, but FREE vacations are even better!
Here are 10 of my favorite ways to save on travel:
- Plan Early! Planning early is probably the biggest money saving tip that I can share! If you plan your vacation in advance, often times the prices are lower and the deals are better. Last year we reserved and paid for our Oregon beach house rental in February and got winter rates. Even though we didn't vacation until August.
- Kids Eat Free! Look for family friendly restaurants where kids eat free. Even if that opportunity is only available one day a week, you can save money. So many restaurants offer that deal and it can really pay off.
- Eat Dinner Early! Many restaurants offer a lunch menu price on their meals if you eat before 4pm. Plant to eat an early dinner and save! The portions are still the same but the price is often $2 - $5 cheaper per meal.
- Travel Off Season! Prices are always more expensive during holidays (Spring Break especially) and the summer months. By traveling during the "off season" you can save a bundle, often 50% or more. Your family will have a blast no matter what time of the year you travel.
- Pack a Cooler! Whenever we travel, we take a cooler full of drinks and snacks with us. It's so much cheaper to buy drinks in advance rather than purchasing them when you stop at gas stations and convenience stores along your trip. Buy a case of water or juice boxes and take them along. A bag of ice every couple of days will keep them cold and save you a bundle!
- Free Continental Breakfast! If you're going to be staying in a hotel, find one that offers free breakfast. This could save you $20 or more each day. Hotels often offer cereal, fresh fruit, waffles, oatmeal, muffins and so much more.
- Be Flexible! Especially if you are traveling by air. Often times simply by changing your travel dates by as little as a day or two, you can save a bundle. Just last summer my sister saved over $300 on airfare just by changing her flight dates by two days. That's a huge savings and a great way to help ease the financial costs of traveling.
- Hotel Stay Rewards! Many hotel chains offer a rewards program. You can earn points each time you stay and in return you can use those points for free stays, gifts cards and more. Two years ago we had enough points through our hotel rewards card to stay 8 free nights on the Oregon coast.
- Coupons! You can use coupons no matter where your travels take you. You can find them in advance online, in restaurants and in hotel lobbies.
- Online Earning Sites! I'm a member of several online earning websites and use them to their full advantage. When we are planning a vacation, I redeem my points for gas and restaurant gift cards than we can use on our trip! Be sure to redeem your points with enough time for your gift cards to arrive! Filling up the gas tank and the tummy for free will make your trip even more enjoyable (and frugal)!
Taking a family vacation is suppose to be fun and memorable. By planning in advance, sticking to a budget and being prepared, you can have a fun and frugal vacation that the entire family will love!
What frugal travel tips do you have?