10 Ways to Save Money on Family Vacations

Growing up we traveled a lot and with a family of 8, it was tough to be able to do everything we wanted to. Taking a family vacation is expensive! Not only do you need to pay for hotels, gas, food and entertainment, but there are also unexpected expenses that you need to be prepared for. It’s impossible to plan for everything that will come up, but it is easy to save money on some items that you may not think about.

10 Ways to Save Money on Family Vacations


Here are 10 ways that you can save money on your next family vacation:

1. Travel Light

Most airlines charge a fee for each bag you check, and some also charge extra fee for bags that are heavier than 50 lbs. Pack light and bring only the necessities.

2. Look for local deals/coupons before you leave. 

Searching for deals or promotions that are going on at your destination before you leave will help you plan your trip so that you can save money and stress less about how much things cost.

3. Plan your meals

Most hotels offer complimentary breakfast bars, take advantage of this offer. Many breakfast bars offer everything from cereal and fruit to sausage gravy and biscuits. There’s sure to be something for everyone in your family. Also, before you leave the hotel, search for restaurants in the area of where you will being traveling for the day and look online at their menus and prices. This will prevent a last minute meal at a costly restaurant. You can also look for a local grocery store to pick up drinks and snacks. This will save you from raiding the mini fridge when you get a late night craving.

4. Buy sunscreen before you leave. 

When you travel in the summer, there is bound to be sun. That means that you need to protect your family’s skin from sunburn. Stock up on sunscreen and Aloe Vera lotion when it goes on sale at your local drugstore so you will be ready when you hit the road. You can use coupons and find discounts when you are home that may not be easily available when you are at the beach or resort.

5. Basic First Aid Supplies

Sure, you can always run out to a local drugstore or grocery to buy Bandaids or fever reducers, but if you’re prepared with these necessities you won’t have to rush around search for what you need. Pack a basic first aid kit so you will be ready when your toddler gets a splinter or if someone gets poison ivy.

6. Beach Toys/Floats

Most summer vacations involve water of some sort. That means you will need water toys, sun hats,  floaties or beach balls. Don’t end up paying tourist prices for beach toys and essentials when you can get them for cheap at your local dollar store before you get to the beach or pool.

7. Batteries/Power Chargers

Are you taking a camera, a GPS, portable gaming system, toys, or flashlights? Then make sure you have plenty of batteries and chargers in your suitcase. Technology is fun and sometimes considered a necessity. But don’t be caught without the right batteries for your camera and gear. You don’t want to spend extra money on these items that will most likely be more expensive at the visitors store.

8. Take Public Transportation or Walk

You can take a taxi to get from your hotel to visit the local tourist attractions, but those fee can add up fast. Consider taking the local subway or buses.  Or, if your destination isn’t far, consider walking there. This will give you an opportunity to see more of the city than you would have while sitting in a car. 

9. Stay In A Nearby City 

When you’re planning your trip, check to see if there are hotels in smaller towns close to your destination. The rates could be less expensive as well as dining and merchandise. If the drive isn’t too far to and from your destination, then paying for the extra gas could be minimal compared to what you would save on everything else.

10. Plan Your Trip Off Season

One year we went to Hawaii for Thanksgiving. The island almost seemed empty compared to our previous trip there in the Summer. It was great to be able to visit everything we wanted to with no crowds. There are many popular winter destinations that are beautiful in the Spring and Summer, such as Colorado or Utah.


If you are planning a family vacation, how will you save money?