Ways to Save Money on Family Travel

by Lexa Pennington / Sep 10, 2012 /
Lexa Pennington's picture

When traveling as a family, it's always a good idea to try to save money - so you can travel for longer! Whether you're looking for an extended vacation, or just a weekend away, there are definitely ways to save money on all aspects of travel, from transportation to accommodation to activities and food.


Top 10 ways to save money on family travel



1. Travel Guides. While many will head online to buy travel guides, head to your local library and stock up. If your library doesn't have what you need, use the ILL (inter-library loan) system. I can guarantee you'll find a gem in those off-the-beaten path travel guides, or even specific interests. Don't forget the Weird books, for each state in the US.


2. Do your research!  You can find discounts for just about anything online, including amusement parks and restaurants (check restaurant.com for coupons). If you're driving, always hit the first rest area in each state. They will have racks and racks of coupon books, for everything from hotels to activities.


3. Use a travel agent. Although we're used to doing all the work ourselves online, travel agents have a lot to offer. Take a look at Directline Holidays for a good example. These travel agents work with established travel companies to provide excellent deals on everything from flights to packaged holidays. You'll save both time and money.



4. By Car. If you drive, make sure your car is in optimal condition and the tires are full. Use gas cards to save up to 10cents a gallon on gas. Or, see if some gas stations provide a discount for paying cash. You can also check out websites that compare gas prices, by zip code.


5. Flights. Fly into smaller airports - you can often save a great deal of money this way. Be flexible on your schedule, and you can save even more money.


When to go

6. Shoulder season! This is that price-sweet spot between high season and low - and provides great deals for flexible travellers. It's not only cheaper, but you'll have fewer crowds, friendlier locals, great weather, plenty of cultural events to attend, and space to breathe.



7. Bring your own. Bring your own food, especially on flights or while driving. Fast food and airline food aren't great for saving money (or for being healthy).


8. Shop local. Not only is visiting local grocery stores a cultural experience, but you can definitely save money on eating out. The extra bonus of this is you can sometimes get recipes from local vendors at the farm stand or weekly market - and bring home a different kind of souvenir, that you can make over and over again.


9. Use Coupons. Sign up for groupon local deals, a few months before you travel. You'll not only find great eating deals, but you'll also get to explore new neighbourhoods. Hint: always double check on urbanspoon or yelp for reviews, before purchasing.



10. Free things. There are always free things to do, from local parks to free days at museums and national parks. In the summer, there will be free movies and concerts in larger cities. Check local libraries for book readings and free kids activities. Get outside - exploring nature is usually free (unless you're in a special park). Play frisbee, swim, hike or bike trails. You'll be having so much fun - for free!