Stupid that traveling as a family is so expensive! But there are ways and means to reduce costs without paying for the fun.
Saving tips for the whole gang
Traveling as a family is expensive. Not only because you – at least with schoolchildren – are forced to drive away on holiday, which travel companies shamelessly exploit by drastically increasing prices. But also because all costs are incurred multiple times: for travel, accommodation, sightseeing and food.
But fortunately, there are some good tricks that allow you to go away with the whole gang anyway. Lonely Planet has collected useful savings tips for families that we would like to introduce to you:
1) Good timing is everything
If you need to travel during the holidays, you should book your vacation as early as possible – at least months, if not years in advance. As a rule, prices only rise sharply towards the end of the previous year. Of course, if you do not have any schoolchildren, you’re well off traveling during the high season.
2) Use your parent network
In the baby-time we often make our first contacts with other parents, in kindergarten and school much more. This gives you access to a huge wealth of experience. Ask other moms and dads what vacation experiences they have made – and what they would do differently today to save money.
3) Avoid the mainstream
Venice, Barcelona, Majorca: Holiday destinations like these are extremely popular and are bursting at the seams in the high season. This is not only exhausting, but also expensive, because the higher the demand, the higher the prices. Look for travel destinations that are not so popular. Your nerves and your kids will thank you. And it gets more adventurous!
4) Seek the adventure!
Going by long-distance bus, a caravan or in your own car, sleeping in the hay, on the farm or at the campsite, heating the canned soup over the fire – all this not only saves a lot of money, but is also more exciting than staying at the hotel to put a laid table. Yes, okay, that’s very nice, but it will not happen until the kids go their own way.
5) Stay in an apartment
Yes, hotels are nice, but apartments are more practical and much cheaper. You can cook for yourself (or put a frozen pizza in the oven), everyone has their retreat and maybe you come in contact with neighbors who give you great tips. Many hostels also offer family rooms .
6) Nothing like it!
Fortunately, the most beautiful thing in the world – nature – is free. Go with your children to the forest instead of the zoo, to the playground instead of the miniature golf, to the beach instead of to the pool – and pack a delicious picnic from the supermarket.
7) Use family discounts
It pays off to look for family discounts online or locally – they are available almost everywhere in the world.
8) Minimize extras
The fiestest costs are those that you did not really expect – the many little extras that come together in the course of a day with children: Here’s a little something from the souvenir shop, there an ice cream, here an embossed coin from the machine. Better: take your water bottles to refill, buy your ice cream at the grocery store instead of the piazza, and save yourself the audioguide fees by making yourself smart about what you see. So your kids will also learn how to save money while traveling.
9) Change travel habits
Stay home and explore your own area, visit old acquaintances (and invite later) or rather drive away for a while longer instead of three times shorter – even with this you can significantly reduce travel costs.
10) Specify wishes
If the South Sea trip is not in it, it’s smart to think about what you really need to be happy when traveling as a family. Children are usually not that demanding – sometimes even a bathing lake or a stable Wi-Fi network is enough to make them happy. And of course the feeling of being able to discover the world with the whole family – and to be seen in the process.
You are looking for even more saving tips? Lonely Planet gives further valuable tips in the book ” The Best Things in Life are Free – The Ultimate Money Saving Travel Guide” (about 19 euros).