Travel time! Spring break is around the corner. Three more months until summer vacation. The kids want to go to Disney. We have family in North Carolina and Florida. How can you get it all in? Time is challenging and everything is expensive. They are talking about gas going to record highs in the coming months too.
Here are my top 10 tips for getting away with great family travel deals:
1. It goes without saying, “Fail to plan, plan to fail!” If you do not plan ahead, you might miss out on some early bird deals. Start thinking now about where you might want to go.
2. Research! Go online and Google away. Check to see what reputable sites are offering incentives or discounts. See if all-inclusive is better than ala carte. Some places let kids stay free.
3. After you have done your research, Call. Yes, call. Get on the phone and speak to a real person. A computer can only give you the price listed. Calling and speaking to a person can establish a relationship. You can explain what exactly you and your family are looking for on vacation and then maybe they know of some discounts.
4. While you have them on the phone. ASK if that is the best they can do. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn’t. As a family of five, I am always looking to save so that we can do as much as possible on vacation. Ask – what is the worst they can do, say no.
5. Shop around. These days it is hard to. I often hear people say I don’t have the time. I think it is important to check with the different travel sites to see what options are best for you.
6. Ask around. I have found that sometimes the best gems or places to go with kids are found by word of mouth. Find out where people have gone and what their opinions are. If only Club Med knew how much I spoke about them and their camp program for young children, they would send me for free – lol!
7. If your schedule is flexible, try to travel at off peak times. Less crowds make it easier with kids and it can help you save money too.
8. Traveling with kids always involves lots of preparation and hidden expenses. If going to a beach area, I try to pack as many sand and water toys as possible. If you don’t, that could be an unexpected $20 – $30 dollars right there.
9. If you can, drive. I know it sounds crazy, but you are then able to take all that you need – groceries, toys, stroller, and baby essentials. And, if you do decide to drive, begin your journey at night. While driving to North Carolina, I leave around bedtime so that they fall asleep quickly. Less traffic and less bathroom stops helps you get to your destination sooner.
10. Finally, remember to have fun. If there is something that your child or you really want to do on the vacation – an activity, a special character breakfast, do it! Plan ahead financially to incorporate all the special things that you and your child will remember forever.
Vacation is always something to look forward to. It can be overwhelming to plan and prepare for a family of any size. Plan to include some relaxing time for your family and especially for you! Mom needs a moment too!
Disclosure: “I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”