Friday, January 7, 2011

Planning a Family Vacation

Family vacations don't have to be some unobtainable dream.  I've come up with a list of money saving tips you can use to make your next family vacation unbelievable.

  1. Road Trip.  If you are close enough to drive to your destination and you have more then 2 people traveling with you, you will save money over buying airfare and renting a car.
  2. Airfare.  If your destination is too far to drive, search numerous sites so you know what a good rate is.  I always start with Kayak.  When buying airfare for numerous people, you may have to purchase them in smaller groups.  Sometimes airlines will raise rates for large groups of tickets.  You can always change seats later, just be sure to get the rates you want while they are available.
  3. Hotels.  Families on vacation can benefit from condo rentals over hotel rooms. Hotel rates can get expensive per night and limit the number of people per room. Some condo rentals give discounts for week long rentals (vs. daily rentals) and you get the benefit of having a kitchen where you can cook meals instead of spending money eating out. Condo rental on our Hawaii trip was $1,200 for 10 days.  Hotel costs in Maui run a minimum of $345 a night!  If you do rent a hotel room, sometimes it pays to call the hotel directly and ask about rates and any special discounts you can get.  We called a hotel in Washington DC and found out that hotels were 1/2 the price on weekends as they were during the week.  This helped us plan our schedule to be in DC over the weekend.
  4. Travel with other families. Condo rentals, grocery bills and even car rental costs can be shared among other families if you can travel with others.  We saved a ton of money on our Hawaii trip by traveling with my in laws and splitting condo and grocery costs.  
  5. Choose the best time to go to your destination.  HERE is a post I did about when to travel. The best time to book vacations are the first week of Summer break, and the week before school starts again.  Book Spring vacations in Jan/Feb and book Summer vacations in March/April.
With a little planning and some research, you can plan that family vacation that you will remember forever!
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