Parents Guide to Saving Money on Vacation with Kids

One of the best things about having your own family is that you have your go-to people you can enjoy any kind of day with, especially the good ones, such as holidays. But when you add children to your family budget, it becomes more important to consider ways of saving money on vacation.

As a parent, it is rewarding to share the wonderful experiences that traveling can bring with your little ones. Allow them to see new things and learn important lessons as they explore places through your guidance.

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“Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.”

– Ernest Hemingway

While a getaway for a day or two seems an excellent option to bond and build life-long memories with your kids, it can also be expensive. However, when you welcome the opportunity with the right mindset, saving money on vacation can be a goal you can easily achieve.

Making your dream holiday come true is possible when you know the tips and tricks to plan one that is fun, unforgettable, and budget-friendly. If you want to learn the best ways for saving money on travel, please keep reading this article.

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Parents Guide to Saving Money on Vacation with Children

Planning a Family Vacation

You’ve envisioned the perfect family trip you and your loved ones will have soon. But have you put in the work of rigorously planning it? If not, this is your sign to outline your upcoming vacation, including all the details you need to prioritize. Doing the work on the front end will give you the peace of mind of having a hassle-free getaway.

Here are some pointers that you can take into consideration when planning your much-awaited family vacation:

Decide where you would like to go.

Knowing where you are going with your children will make your vision a little clearer. While you have your dream place in mind, it is important to consider what destination will be rewarding and enjoyable for each family member. If your kids are old enough to participate in the selection process, then welcome their opinions and let them feel that they are involved.

Once you have ideas about your loved ones’ interests, you can select a destination that is collectively agreed upon by everyone. That way, you are not the only one who is anticipating the exciting getaway, but also your kids. Here are some Multi-Generational Travel Ideas For Families.

Plan your vacation as early as possible.

Plotting out your vacation ahead of schedule gives you leeway for changes. Nothing is ever that concrete when planning a vacation. However, preparing in advance allows you to think things through and discover options.

When you have a plan, you have the liberty to look for deals that are much more affordable. Compare this to booking flights and accommodations just days before your scheduled trip. There will also be a lesser margin of error, which means you are in a good position of foreseeing the challenges you may face during the trip. Thus, allowing you to prepare and be ready.

Search on a weekday.

Have you noticed that most people like to do fun-related things during weekends? This includes booking flights for vacations. If you are planning your vacation early, you have the chance to set aside time and secure holiday tickets during weekdays.

Studies show that affordable deals are often available midweek since most companies offer bargains on Monday evenings. From Tuesday to Thursday, competitors rival these initiators by offering cheaper ones.

Consider the type of vacation (beach, city, long- or short-haul).

Similar to the first point, considering the type of vacation you will have is important so you can plan accordingly. Are your loved ones the type of people who prefer hanging out by the beach and enjoying the sun and the water? Perhaps they seek adventure through hiking and mountain climbing? Or maybe they would have a good time strolling around the city and sightseeing at modern tourist spots?

There are plenty of options when it comes to traveling. Your planning task will be much easier when you sit down with your family members and discuss their preferences. It is also worth noting to choose a meaningful place. Plan an itinerary where you can truly make memories and strengthen connections with your little ones.

Read this article to learn more about planning a multi-generational vacation with grandparents and extended family.

Ways to save money on vacation

Before Your Vacation

Do you think it is important to let your children experience the joy of traveling while they are still young?

Now that you have all the basic yet important details of your upcoming vacation, you can consider the smaller details that will lead you to achieve your dream holiday with your kids. Before your getaway, you must do the following to be financially ready:

Cut back on your expenses before the trip.

If saving money on travel is your goal, the work should start before your dream vacation begins. Pinching pennies will free up your travel funds. Thus, you will have more bucks you can use during your trip. You can start by reducing the expenses for takeout meals, shopping, and other miscellaneous activities.

You can also involve your kids in this by packing lunches for school instead of giving them money to buy their own. To make this tip work for you more, you must review your regular spending and see where you can make adjustments.

To learn more, read this article about How To Start Saving For A Vacation With Kids.

Budget effectively.

When going on a trip, you have to remember that most aspects of it may involve shelling out money. Some budget considerations you should prioritize are airfares, lodging, and food. There are also add-ons, such as baggage, parking, and tipping fees. Planning ahead will help you foresee all these, permitting you to establish a budget and timeline.

You may set up a fund in advance solely for your dream vacation with your little ones. Additionally, as consistently emphasized in this article, you can get your kids involved in saving up for your family’s upcoming vacation. Engage them in the process of preparing for the trip. You will not only teach them the value of making good financial decisions but also the beauty that comes with delayed gratification.

Utilize credit cards if needed.

Various credit cards offer cashback and other privileges when you use them for travel purposes. You can use points to pay for airfares, meals, and accommodations. But please be reminded to use your credit cards responsibly. Pay off the balance each month. They will only help you save money when you know how to make the most of them through best financial practices.

Avoid peak seasons if possible.

When traveling with kids, you wouldn’t want to go to crowded and bustling places. That is why traveling during the off-season is the best option for you. Not only will you truly enjoy your chosen itinerary but also score some amazing deals when booking flights, accommodations, and tour packages.

There is a decrease in demand during these times. It is a great opportunity to go on an excursion with your children and live a luxurious tourist life even for just a few days. Traveling outside peak season is an easy way of saving money on vacation.

Check exchange rates.

International travel would require you to learn about the current exchange rates. This is important since your purchasing power during your vacation will be determined by the equivalent of your domestic home currency to the ones in the country you are visiting.

Ensure you are well-versed in foreign currency exchange rates to get the most out of your travel fund. You can start by looking up and monitoring the current rates before heading to your destination. That way, you can assess your financial standing during your getaway and be informed about any changes.

At the time of writing, in October 2022, the US Dollar is at an all-time high against the British Pound Sterling. A strong dollar means this is a great time for Americans to visit the United Kingdom and get a great exchange rate. Our family visited London with children this summer and found local prices much more affordable than in previous years.

Visit London with Children

Research and book your vacation using a VPN.

Virtual Private Networks, also known as VPNs, will help you score great deals while booking your flights, accommodations, and other important travel essentials. Through a VPN, you can hide your current address and change it to another location or country where rates are significantly lower. You may also use this during your travels so that you will be difficult to track in the online world.

Know the destination’s local holiday calendar.

This is as important as knowing the “off” or “peak” seasons. When you are aware of the holidays in the place you will be spending your vacation; you can organize your schedule accordingly. This includes determining which accommodations, restaurants, and tourist attractions are open or closed during your family’s stay.

Stay outside the city center.

While for some, traveling is all about seeing a place’s iconic spots, usually the city centers. This may not be ideal for other tourists, especially those wandering with their kids in tow. Staying outside of the city center is a great way of saving money on hotels. Therefore, staying in the suburbs of a place is better if you are touring with your family. Some benefits you can reap from this are cheaper accommodations, accessible parking spaces, a quiet environment, and a safe neighborhood.

Know where to look for deals.

Planning a vacation is even more convenient now that we have unlimited access to various resources through the internet. Because of this, you also have the privilege of finding the best deals that will help you in saving money on vacation.

Numerous travel applications offer affordable rates for flights. It also provides a good way of saving money on hotels. Just make sure that you are browsing through reliable applications to avoid being scammed.

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Best Way For Saving Money On Vacation

During Your Vacation

Planning what will potentially happen during your family’s actual vacation is also important. Aside from the strategies you have to plot out when attending to the needs of your little ones, it is also essential to have concrete plans to put your goal of saving money on vacation into practice.

Read on to learn the different approaches you can use to reduce travel expenses. These are great tips to save money on vacation.

Use your kids to get deals.

While it seems challenging, touring with your children can bring many perks. Such as scoring sweet deals that will cut your assumed travel costs. Most airlines and bus companies offer discounts and complimentary rides for kids of certain ages.

Accommodations in various tourist spots also have special deals, such as low-priced suites and extra beds when you stay at their lodging with your family. Even attractions and museums charge less when you visit with your little ones. Look for restaurants that offer a kid’s menu or even “kids eat free” with the purchase of an adult meal.

Make the most of local experiences.

Immersing your kids in the culture of the place you visit is one of the most effective ways to allow them to learn and grow during your vacation. With all the local experiences they share with you, you will surely create special memories forever etched in their minds.

You can make this possible by going on group tours with your children led by locals. This way, you will explore the place through the guidance of natives who know your itinerary by heart. You can also buy your kids some traditional souvenirs that they can keep with them to remember your family trip.

Avoid high-tourist places.

It is easy to fall into the trap of exploring overhyped and overrated spots when planning your upcoming holiday. Be it because of Instagram posts or high-ranked blog articles on search engines. Being lured into visiting a famous destination is a challenge you have to conquer.

When traveling with kids, it is important to consider visiting less crowded destinations. Aside from dealing with the ever-changing moods of your children. You must also add to your list of things to mind the long lines, taken seats, and jam-packed roads if you choose a tourist trap.

Avoid wasting your time, energy, and, most of all, money by opting for a quieter and less popular place. That will not only grant you a peaceful vacation but also well-spent days with your loved ones.

How to save money on vacation meals

Cook your own meals.

Are you wondering how to save money on vacation meals? If cutting back on expenses while having a good time is your goal when traveling, then cooking your own meals is another trick to help you achieve that. You can make this possible by researching in advance the available ingredients you can purchase at a local market in your target vacation spot.

When you and your family have settled in, you can allot a portion of your time to shop for fresh produce and signature products they have that you can use to create your dishes. You can keep your kids comfortable and well-adapted because of home-cooked meals. And you will also ensure that your family stays healthy during your holiday.

Bring your own beverages.

Like cooking your own meals, bringing essential beverages with you during travel will also help you save money. Bottles filled with drinks, including water, can make a huge difference. When you have these, you will not be forced to purchase over-priced beverages in tourist spots.

This is one of the easiest and best ways to save money on vacation. Moreover, you can ensure that your little ones are always hydrated, no matter how hectic your schedule will become.

Explore local cuisines.

While cooking your own meals is one of the best ways to save money on vacation, you should also try the local cuisines of your holiday spot to maximize your experience. This will greatly help in introducing other cultures to your kids. As well as allowing them to appreciate what the place can uniquely offer.

Use public transport instead of renting a vehicle.

Budget-wise, opting to use public transportations during your travel is a great option. Aside from affordable fares, you can also pass by various attractions by riding buses, trains, or trams with your kids. This is one of the ways to save money on vacation. Additionally, you are also guaranteed to have a less stressful travel experience by letting someone else do the driving for your family.

If traveling with a baby, toddler, or preschool child, here’s what to consider before you travel with a car seat.

Take advantage of free activities.

Touring will not be as expensive as it appears to be if you know how to maximize all the free activities a certain place offers. You can take a walking tour with your kids to explore your chosen itinerary on foot.

If your family prefers spending a holiday by the sea, you can search for public beaches where you can enjoy swimming, surfing, and snorkeling without paying anything. Going to a city park and hanging out there is also a great option to cut back on expenses while enjoying a good vacation.

Use cash to save money on vacation

Use cash to avoid overspending.

Despite the convenience credit cards and other cashless payment options can bring, cash has the power to bring discipline to your spending habits. This is especially helpful when you are traveling with your little ones. By using bucks to pay for your expenses, you are seeing that you are losing money. This way, you will be reminded not to go overboard and live like a millionaire during your getaway.

Search for free entertainment.

Keeping your kids entertained can be affordable if you have planned ahead and looked for complimentary amusing events that will pique their interests. Take advantage of art and music festivals, sporting events, and museum openings that are free and open to the public. There are various kid-friendly opportunities you can benefit from when you know what to look for in your itinerary.

Visit the library or stock up on movies and audiobooks.

Consider visiting a library and spending a chill afternoon with your little ones between transferring from one tourist spot to another. This is also a great way to keep them entertained and balance their schedule. There are a variety of libraries that are accessible to visitors who want to make the most out of their cultural experiences while traveling.

It is also important to prepare some movies and audiobooks you can play during those moments when your kids are bored or not really into the spot you are currently exploring.

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Inexpensive Family Vacation Ideas

8 Inexpensive Family Vacation Ideas

Saving money on vacation is possible if you search for inexpensive family holiday ideas that will not only bring peace to your mind but also to your bank account. Who says having fun with your loved ones needs to be pricey? Instead of opting for trending and popular getaway options, why not be creative and explore the ones that will bring the same experience to your little ones, if not better?

Here are some ideas you can consider when planning your next holiday with your kids. Let’s discover how to save money on vacation!

Go camping.

This budget-friendly vacation idea will bring you and your family closer to nature. In this age of technology, children don’t have the privilege to truly appreciate the beautiful landscapes the world has to offer. Going camping (see also, ‘How Much Does Camping Cost?‘) with your little ones will help them detach from the internet and develop a healthy balance in life.

Aside from appreciating the natural surroundings, your kids will also learn basic survival skills during your vacation. Creating fire, discovering edible plants, and studying outdoor safety measures are some lessons you can teach them that will later help them in life. They can also build their self-esteem because they will constantly be learning throughout your fun and adventurous holiday.

Additionally, as a parent, you can have more genuine connections with your children since you have the opportunity to share stories with them around a campfire without the interruption of other forms of entertainment.

Go to a less popular destination.

As emphasized in an earlier part of this article, choosing a less popular destination to spend your holiday with your kids is a brilliant idea because of the various benefits it offers. The lower tourist demands in these places will help you save money on travel. Your little ones will also enjoy the itinerary even more since there will be a smaller and quieter crowd.

Consider a staycation.

If you cannot imagine yourself touring around a place with your kids in tow, having a staycation is the best option for you (see also, ‘What is a Staycation?‘). This will allow you and your family to have a change of scenery without going overboard with planning and booking flights and accommodations.

All you need is lodging with everything you need, including kid-friendly spaces, services, and dining options. Then you are ready to spend a relaxing getaway with your little vacation buddies in your hometown.

Visit a national park.

Like going camping, visiting a national park is an excellent idea to let your children develop an admiration for the outdoors and nature. Allowing them to play and spend time in the open air will improve their mood. It is also a great way for them to get some exercise, something they aren’t likely to have when staying at home. There is also a variety of fun activities for each of your family members in a national park, no matter their age.

Besides the emotional and developmental benefits of taking your little ones to a natural reservation, this holiday idea also has advantages for your budget. You need not pay for passes just to access something wonderful—it is all in front of you, courtesy of Mother Nature.

Did you know? Each year, beginning on September 1, all kids in the fourth grade have access to the Every Kid Outdoors pass. This pass provides free access for 4th graders and their families to national parks across the United States.

Road Trip - Inexpensive Family Vacation Ideas

Take a family road trip.

This is probably the easiest vacation idea that will allow you to have fun and create memories with your children while they are still young. Sitting in a car, seeing the same views, and sharing conversations with your loved ones are simple yet precious things you can do on a road trip. Aside from that, your kids will also have a lot more say about this type of vacation since they can tell you to stop somewhere that piques their interest. Learn more about how to simplify a road trip with kids.

Consider a group tour.

If you are looking for a vacation idea that requires less work in the planning stage yet guarantees eventful days in the actual getaway, going on a group tour is the one for you. Participating in one with your kids will grant you a hassle-free and enjoyable vacation time while being immersed in the culture of your chosen destination.

With a group tour, you will have a unique look into local experiences through the leadership of a tour guide. Everything that you may not be able to cover when you plan a holiday by yourself will be taken care of. You have a local that will accompany your family throughout the trip.

Travel regionally.

There is this common misconception that traveling means going somewhere far. While the distance of a place does make a difference, you can also opt to spend your much-awaited holiday in a place within your region. This is a great chance to appreciate the beauty of states near your home. Regional travel also provides the opportunity of trying local immersions with your kids. And mingling with the natives to truly experience their daily lives.

Go on a family cruise.

Luxurious as it may seem, going on a cruise with your kids is inexpensive and worth trying. There are a variety of deals offered to families who are traveling with their little ones. Not only that, but cruise ships also have amazing environments for children of every age.

Because of onboard activities and extensive dining options, a sailing expedition will truly grant your kids a wonderful vacation time. They also can travel from place to place and benefit from cultural enrichment because of stopovers at different ports for a specific period. Check out our Guide To Going On A Family Disney Cruise.


All in all, saving money on vacation is possible if you know the right planning strategies that will dictate how your holiday spending will go. There are a lot of resources that will guide you in preparing for your dream getaway. You just have to think ahead and dedicate yourself to outlining all your priorities. Ultimately, it is you who knows what is best for your little ones and your budget.

For more about family travel, check out these posts:
How To Start Saving For A Vacation With Kids
The Complete Guide to Traveling with Children
Multi-Generational Travel Ideas For Families
Tips and Tricks for Disney World
Ultimate Guide & Packing Lists for a Family Beach Vacation

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Parents Guide to Saving Money on Vacation with Children
BE Family Products Inc., or (BE Family Travel) participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Using any of the links on this website does NOT cost you anything but does help us continue to create content on this blog. Thank you so much for your support and for partnering with us. Let’s BE Family.

Ruth Hutchins grew up in England and now lives in North Carolina with her husband, Doug, and their two young daughters. They always loved to travel, but once having children everything changed because family travel is more complicated. Traveling with a baby may feel overwhelming to new parents. Travel with a toddler can really test your patience, and traveling with kids can lead to utter chaos. However, travel with your little ones doesn’t have to be that stressful or exhausting. On the BE Family Travel blog Ruth shares her parenting wins, and even epic failures about traveling with kids. She provides resources to help you feel empowered to plan a family vacation and travel with your children.