Travel season is one of my favorite times of the year that allows me to feel free and see the world without the hassles of daily stresses. However, traveling does not always come stress-free, there are some moments that I wished I learned how to properly plan my trip and budget it accurately before the trip was made.
Therefore, I decided that this time was going to be different; I decided to create ten traveling bullet points to help me budget the trip better and obtain more results, and guess what? It worked! So because it was such an inspiration, I created the same top 10 tips for traveling on a budget with a family for you. Hopefully you do not have to go through some of the stresses I did before traveling this year.
1. Make Itinerary’s Before Going On The Trip
The most primary function of a trip is to pre-plan everything! I learned this the hard way and lost a lot of money because of it. I created a preliminary itinerary for my family and me to follow that worked out blissfully, and it saved me a lot of extra money. This even was pinpointed to where we were staying, what we were doing, and a breakdown of how much to spend each day.
I also decided to add additional time to visit family and friends to cut out additional expenses that might arise, and it was a perfect plan that was able to adjust a little while in the trip. Overall it made my budgeting easier to follow and my family and I the ability to not freak out about overspending on random ideas.
Newsrooms clarifies, ” “Two-thirds of Americans say spending quality time as a family is the most important part of taking a family vacation,” said Bill Sutherland, AAA senior vice president of Travel and Publishing. “Whether it’s a cross-country road trip or a dream vacation to a far-off destination, travel offers busy families an excellent opportunity to share experiences and connect with each other in meaningful ways.”
2. Look For Free Leisure’s And Fun Activities
While I started to make my itinerary, I decided that random ideas while on the road may not have been the best plan because it could end up becoming really expensive. So I decided to research different places and things to do that worked well with my family in the area that was on a low-cost or free budget plan.
I added extra time with the family and friends, at areas like a beach or a national park where there were many opportunities to have fun and still get the most out of traveling. I learned that by adding the free events and fun things to do dramatically cut down the expenses, giving us more time together without stressing of what to go do to have fun.
Forbes expresses, “Multigenerational family travel tops the list of travel trends, according to the 2014 Virtuoso Luxe Report. Rounding out the list are river cruising, active or adventure trips, celebration travel, and luxury cruises. Families whose members are geographically separated often find multi generational trips a good opportunity to reconnect.” Therefore, consider looking up new and free leisurely places to see and do, and it will be more worthwhile for the entire trip, and more cost-effective.
3. Consider Bundling And Using Rewards Programs
Most people just go with the flow and see what happens on a trip. If you pre-plan the trip you then have access to bundling and seeing what your rewards can give you for each trip. This step was more complicated to figure out. Once I learned what type of rewards that I accumulated over the years through insurance or even coupons, it allowed me to see what I could add to the trip to give it an extra “wow” factor.
For example, maybe your credit card or local grocery store gave you a number of points that have been adding up. You could save on travel and overhead of the entire trip by using the rewards for your trip instead of spending the extra money.
I also learned that by using rewards program you really have to be conscious and use them as much as possible. When I realized that it allowed me to start saving money for the next trip and build up my rewards, which worked out beautifully in the overall trip planning aspect.
4. Consider Timing Of Actual Vacation
Planning a trip can be a difficult process to accomplish if you are not fully prepared. For example, there was one year that I didn’t plan a single event and that led me to have a negative experience that almost made me never want to travel again.
However, I learned that timing the trip was a cost-effective choice to help reduce my stress and the negative outlook with my family. I decide that by changing the timing of the vacation made the trip more memorable.
If you travel during dates that are more popular, like holidays, you are automatically going to spend more money because of the increased traffic in the area. However, by adjusting the time of the vacation, my family and I were able to see more and not stress about parking or increased holiday prices. Overall, this was a huge impact on my trip planning to be more budget friendly.
5. Separate Travel Accounts
UsNews says, “Keep a separate travel account. Instead of scrambling to figure out how you’re going to pay for a trip at the last minute before you book. Establish a specific account for travel and save throughout the year.
“It’s essential that you keep your vacation fund separate from your other savings account,” says Leslie Tayne, a debt resolution attorney and managing director of Tayne Law Group. “The best way to deal with unexpected costs is to be prepared, so this doesn’t take away from your [allocated] vacation fund.”
This was an entirely new concept to add to my trip planning, as I never thought that a secondary account could be beneficial. However, I decided to try it on my last vacation, and it made such a difference in expenses.
What I learned was that with the secondary vacation account, I was able to only put in how much we were allowed to spend, and then break it down to a daily basis, so if there was not enough in the account, it was easier to explain to my family that we had to consider other ideas. In addition, this secondary account allowed my family and me to all be on the same page, which made a tremendous difference in the entirety of the trip.
6. Lower Monthly Phone Bill
This was a good idea that was brought up through a friend of mine to consider for my trips with my family. I decided to change up my phone plan for the entire family so I could manage the phone usage for the duration of the trip.
By doing so it forced my family to really consider how much time and data they were able to use. by doing that it actually increased the family time that was much needed. It honestly even made me consider changing the entire plan for the whole year; however, I am still working on that one.
Encyclopedia shares, ‘Budgeting may be described as the art of living within an economic constraint.” Overall, this helped decrease the monthly expenses giving my family and I more access to additional funds for the trip.
7. Entice Conversation With The Local’s
CNBC shares about a families journey from a family of nine that properly went through every scenario on how to budget their trips to make the most out of them. “Too often people go right to the touristy places and pay the highest prices,” Greg said. “Spend a little time looking for deals in the lesser-known, but often better places.” Their story gives inspiration to other fellow travelers that want to learn how to travel on a budget, even if they are not doing it full time. The context clues are obvious and simple to follow because of this family.
You can view the video
I also found out that by talking with the locals that lived in the areas that we traveled gave us insights on cost-effective choices of things to do. For example, on a trip, I was talking to a local about a good place to eat, and they mentioned to me a local food truck that was nearby. It wasn’t on the internet when planning the trip, but it saved us money on the food budget for the day.
Moreover, we were able to go see a local event that was not planned that was free, and I was able to tip them with the extra money saved. So it not only was beneficial for my family but also helped increase the local community in a different sort of fashion.
8. Consider Alternative Places To Sleep
Finding places to sleep is one of the most expensive parts of a trip. So I decided to change it up one year and try new ways to sleep in the areas. For example, I decided to buy some camping gear, and take the family a few nights to random locations to get back in touch with nature, and it was free.
New York Times discusses a good insight on budgeting for trips, “Among seasoned travelers, selective splurging — picking the one thing they’ll spend big on while saving everywhere else — is a common strategy for getting the most out of a trip.
The additional spend doesn’t have to be sizable; it can be several thousand on a nice hotel room — or a hundred dollars or less on a local experience. It’s about mindfully choosing to allocate a little extra on one part of the trip to make it easier, more memorable or more engaging.” You can also talk to the locals about ideas they may have that some of them do. It increases awareness of their culture, and allows for the additional budgeting to be effective.
9. Bring Your Own Meals
Another expensive part of traveling is the food aspect. No matter where you go, you will have to eat. Moreover, if you are traveling with a family, it becomes very expensive. So change it up, and bring your own prepared meals and snacks. Yes, it may take up room for the beginning of the trip; however, the savings are incredible.
Business Insider voices, “You also need space for snacks, entertainment devices, and materials to change your child’s bottom mid-air. And of course, you’ll need several extra outfits on hand and within reach during the trip — you know, just in case your kid vomits unexpectedly or spills chocolate milk at the worst possible time.
While family travel can seem overwhelming, experienced parents know that the success of a trip depends on how well you prepare. If you plan for every possible scenario under the sun and pack accordingly, chances are you’ll be okay.”
On another note, if you cannot bring your own food, consider going to a local grocery mart and buying ingredients to make your own food, rather than go out. Keep eating out to special occasions on the trip. It will save you time and money.
10. Travel Like The Locals
Huff Posts gives some details on some facts for traveling families, “Our family travel survey uncovered some interesting statistics and trends across a wide range of travel-related activities, including air travel, vacation living accommodations, purchasing habits — and some naughty behaviors, too.
45% said airline mile redemption was a deciding factor in taking a family vacation, 75% said they “stole” overhead bin space that wasn’t theirs, more than 1/3 said they brought their own food to eat on the plane, and 72% of family travelers have either booked a non-traditional vacation accommodation or would consider it, such as hostels or home and apartment rentals.”
Therefore, I suggest seeing how the locals in the area travel, as it could be more cost-effective and fun for your family. One year, I decided to travel by horseback with my family, instead of a taxi, and the memory will forever remain. There were some fantastic pictures that were gained. So it saves on money, increased fun, and it became a new type of tradition that was used on every trip.
In conclusion, traveling with a budget can be accomplished if you pre-plan most of the trip. There are many ways to save on expenses that can increase every aspect of the vacation, and not break your bank while embarking on the adventure. Therefore, consider implementing these tips into your next trip like I do, and see what a difference it makes. You will come home thinking of the memories, rather than your bank account, thus making the trip an adventure you always wanted.