Since everyone reading this blog is presumably not Bill Gates, we all welcome ideas on saving money when traveling with children. Surprisingly, saving money is not as hard as you think and actually having kids with you works to your advantage.
Off Season Travel
When we travel to places that are traditionally expensive, we try to go during off season. Off season means cheaper everything. Will you encounter possible rain or snow? Maybe. We went to Thailand in July and everyone told us that we were crazy because it was monsoon season, but other than a few days of driving rain for about 15 minutes in the afternoon, it was spectacular. And we stayed at a fantastic resort in Phuket at about half the price we would have spent during high season. We still dream of going back to this hotel.
Family Friendly Discounts
Many resorts run great deals specifically aimed towards families, which include meals, certain activities, kid’s club activities, etc. Peruse websites such as www.familyresortsonly.com, www.familycruise.com, www.familyvacationcritic.com to get a start on finding great deals.
Using the phone
Instead of trying to find the best deal on the web, call the resort directly and talk to a reservation agent. Many times, reservation agents are willing to come down on price if you guarantee a certain amount of nights stay. Wheeling a dealing can work quite well over the phone. This especially works for last minute travel if a hotel is not booked at capacity.
We almost always get a condo or house of some sort via www.vrbo.com and eat many meals inside. Eating out is a huge money sucker.
Consider a Pensione or Hostel
I know, I know, a hostel??? With children??? It takes detective work, but there are hostels and pensiones (2 or 3 star hotels) that are safe, clean and have private rooms with bathrooms, depending on where you are traveling to.
Camping out can be fun for the whole family. A favorite?www.cinnamonbay.com
Take Advantage of Free Admission
Many museums and historical sites have free days. Or at the very least, free admission for children
Don’t Use Credit Cards
Use cash or travelers checks to avoid conversion rates when traveling to other countries. Using credit cards also makes it very easy to exceed a budget. A great solution is getting a prepaid Visa or MasterCard. It will help you stay within your budget.
Prepaid Cell Phone
Don’t pay exhorbitant roaming charges. Get a prepaid disposable phone for the trip.
I’ll keep adding to this list as I think of and encounter more! 🙂