Spring break, summer vacation and winter break are by far the most popular times for family vacations. And, judging by the peak season prices in the marketplace that I have seen year after year, the travel providers always gear up to take advantage of the increased demand during these time periods. But, no matter what you are planning for your family vacation – camping in a Provincial park or visiting Southern California for a week – there are strategies to help you stay on budget.
Before you even decide on your destination- think about how far your budget will go in different places. Look up the cost of living in each of your top choices on NUMBEO, which will show you how much you can expect to spend on things like a cup of coffee and transportation.
Once you’ve settled on a destination, check if one of the Canadian charter airlines, such as Transat, Air Canada Vacations, WestJet Vacations, or Sunwing, flies there as they may offer the most competitive rates. If your destination permits, you should also look at ultra-low-cost carriers, such as Ryanair, EasyJet, Frontier or Air Asia, to check whether there is an option fly with one.
You can also potentially save hundreds of dollars by booking a connecting flight. Some layovers can be short and sweet. That said, even if there is a long layover, you can take advantage of it by taking a quick tour in the city you are stopping in. If you have lots of time this can be a great way to add value to your trip by seeing a new destination while saving money on your total cost of air.
And before you leave, research what sights, attractions and tours your family is interested in and then pre-purchase the tickets. Not only is buying tickets in advance cheaper, it will save you so much time waiting in line-ups. Typically popular destinations have a line to buy tickets and then another line to enter, which can be a life saver when towing around young children.
If you’re a family of 5+, I would suggest booking a suite with a kitchenette. Eating every meal out while travelling gets expensive, especially with young children who don’t always finish their meals! You can still spend your other meals out, experiencing the local cuisine, without breaking your budget.
Another option if you’re a larger family is to look into AirBnB, VRBO, and home exchanges. Having a full apartment or house with younger children can make all the difference on your vacation and cut down costs in the long run!
Budget can be the most important part of the puzzle when it comes to travelling as a family, but with these tips in mind it’s possible to make your holiday happen!