Not even two decades back, many families could afford to take up to two short vacations annually. That was possible simply because the economy was in a much better shape than it is in now. However, in the course of last fifteen years or so, living costs have risen phenomenally making it difficult for most families to plan even a single vacation or holiday in a year.
Traveling costs have indeed gone up tremendously over the last few years rendering the entire process of scrambling together a family vacation quite expensive. Furthermore, the costs of putting up in a hotel, car rentals for visiting sightseeing places, having regular meals, and shopping at all have also increased. The final budget, after making all the necessary adjustments might burn a hole in your pocket.
One reason for the spiraling cost of vacations is rooted in economics. With the inflationary trend becoming an ever present feature of the economy, the real value of money has taken a beating. You now have to pay more for purchasing the same things that you did in the past. Moreover, the touring and traveling options that are open to us nowadays are highly commercialized.
Almost every resort, hotel, cruise operator, and travel agency worth its name advertises heavily in a bid to gain more customers. These costs are passed on to the tourists. Therefore, you end up paying more for a plane ticket or for making your hotel bookings. So what these all add up to? Does it mean that you should forgo your yearly trip with your family that you so eagerly look forward to?
The answer is of course is a resounding ‘no’ because there are many ways and means by which you can bring down your traveling and vacationing costs. Nevertheless, cutting down on costs does not mean that you’ll have to compromise with your plan. If you’re on the lookout for techniques or strategies to save money on your next family vacation, then you’d have to be a little creative.
You’d have to look for good deals as regards lodging, tickets, sightseeing, entertainment, and food both online and offline. You’d have to plan well in advance and conduct a lot of research before you can have a plan in place that is within your budget. The following techniques and ideas could be of use.
1. Book in Advance and Keep an Eye Out for Special Offers
If you care to go online, you’ll come across many travel sites advertising package deals especially for families or those who prefer to travel in groups. Even hotels and holiday resorts promote such package deals and bundle offers mostly during off-peak seasons to keep the cash registers flowing. If you’re willing to be a little flexible with your vacationing period i.e. touring during the height of winter or rainy season, you’ll be able to economies a lot. Never go for hotel bookings or ticket reservations at the last minute. Avoid traveling during the months that see a maximum of hotel bookings.
2. Go For a Credit Card That Offers Touring Incentive
These days, many travel agencies, banks, airlines, and several other establishments offer credit cards that come with add-on benefits and offer bonuses for traveling. Airlines have ‘frequent flyer’ schemes that win you traveling miles every time you board a plane. Many resorts and country clubs offer handsome deals if you sign a contract with them for spending certain number of days in their villas or holiday homes every year.
3. Be in the Know About Flight Schedules
Arrange your travel schedule in a manner so that you can fly in the middle of the week rather than on weekends. Tickets are cheaper when you buy a plane ticket mid-week. Flights with stopovers also cost less than direct flights. You should keep track of special travel offers (read cheap travel) frequently advertised by airlines in both the print and electronic media, including of course on the Internet.
4. Plan for Off Season Tours
Avoid visiting tourist destinations and sites during the peak season. If you make preparations for a family trip during the tourist season, you lose in two ways. Not only will you have to pay through the nose for almost everything before and after the sojourn, you’ll have to deal with the crowds everywhere and anywhere you go. Your aim of leaving on a vacation is to get away from the hustle bustle and drudgery of urbanized living.
So if you’re looking for seclusion and quietude during your break, then avoid traveling during the peak season. Try touring during the transition months that is just prior to and after the peak season. The only flip side of traveling during the off season is that the weather might not be very pleasant. However, the benefits far outweigh this drawback. The rates will be rock bottom in most hotels and restaurants, the service will be good as there will be fewer tourists to deal with, and you’ll not have to push your way through the crowds.
5. Be Inventive When It Comes to Accommodation
Steer clear of staying in high priced hotels and look for budget accommodations. You’re taking the vacation not to stay holed up within the four walls of a room but to stay outdoors as long as possible. So why blow up your hard earned money on staying in a hotel where you’ll at best spend not more 8 to 10 hours on a given day.
Many cheaper options are available these days in almost every tourist spot or vacationing destination. There are holiday homes, inns and hostelries, apartment rentals, and house-sitting arrangements for tourists traveling in groups and families. Many colleges and universities also let out their residential quarters during the summer and winter vacations.
House-sit arrangement allows you to stay in someone’s home or apartment for free in return for looking after their premises while they’re away. Apartment rental offers you all the facilities of a standard hotel or resort at less than half the rates charged by them. You’ll need to cook your own meals and buy groceries from the market. Since you’ll be traveling with a family it surely won’t be a problem.
6. Plan Visiting Sites Near To Your Home
In your craze to visit exotic and glamorous destinations, you seem to miss out on visiting locales that are nearer your home or local attractions. Sometimes, instead of following the herd and treading the beaten track plan a vacation to a site that is closer home and rarely frequented by tourists. You’ll be surprised that such gems even existed in your backyard. You can prudently spend the money in so many different but useful ways that you’d easily spent on accommodation or airfare.
7. Team Up With Other Families
Two heads are always better than one. So when there are 20 heads together, think of the ways in which you’ll be saving money. Cost per head always comes down when two or more families pool their resources. You’ll be able to save on accommodation, food and travelling. You’ll be able save a lot as you’ll get discounts and rebates when you go for package offers.