With the price of gas falling through the floor recently, you have begun to entertain the thought of getting away on vacation with your kids this year. However, money is still tight, as the economic recovery in recent years haven’t been reflected in your paycheck.
With these following budget family travel tips though, you can all go on that trip you’ve been dreaming about for years without obsessively glancing at your bank balance.
1) Take advantage of sharing economy websites
In 2015, the days of roughing it in a tent or a roach motel to save money on vacations are on their way to extinction, as the ascent of the sharing economy is supplanting these less than ideal options with far more posh accommodations in the homes of trustworthy strangers.
While this has been a bit of a psychological hurdle for some, sites like AirBnb offer sufficient checks and balances to allow you and your family to have the property of your dreams at a steep discount to what holiday rentals have traditionally cost in the past.
On top of this, other sites like Eatwith allow you to sample home made local cuisine at a fraction of the price you would pay for a comparable experience in public, while transport options like Uber offer an affordable and faster alternative to cabs, allowing you to enrich your travel experience by meeting locals while saving money at the same time.
2) Give them a daily stipend to spend
Whoa! This doesn’t sound right, but this counter-intuitive strategy will very likely save you money on your next trip. Buying them something every time they want it will deplete your pocketbook faster than you realize, but once you give them a daily stipend that is non-rechargeable, two amazing things happen.
Firstly, they realize after the first few purchases that their supply of cash is finite, so they end up conserving what they have left … kids are often smarter than we adults give them credit for. Secondly, as a result of this exercise, they learn critical budgeting skills that are invaluable in adult life, especially in the times we are living in.
3) Stock up on refreshments and treats before leaving for the beach, theme park, etc
An unfortunate side-effect of certain travel destinations and environments involves the price of food and drink being grossly inflated, as demand is constant and competition is non-existent. This holds true at places like beach concessions, ski lodges, airports and so on.
However, by planning ahead and dropping by a local supermarket, you can save a bundle by picking up juice packs, crackers, cheese wedges, and other noshing favorites at more sane valuations than digging deep into your purse to pay for the extortionate rates that colluding or monopolistic vendors charge with impunity.