Follow These 7 Steps To Plan An Affordable Family Vacation
1. Determine your budget.While the average vacation may cost thousands of dollars, it doesnt have to be that expensive. There are plenty of ways to trim costs without sacrificing fun. To get started, determine how much you can afford to spend on the trip as a whole, and set that as your goal number to hit. Make sure your number accounts for everything youll need to make the trip go off without a hitch from passports and travel to food and souvenirs. You dont want to get stuck at the end of your checkbook without a plan.
3. Establish a timeline.While 62 percent of travelers will make their trip this summer, according to AAA, you dont have to head out at the same time. In fact, you can save a lot of money by traveling in the off-season not only in lodging costs but in all the other aspects of travel, too.
Consider that while beach destinations are extremely popular in the summer, the early spring or winter months see far less traffic. As a result, everything from tours to restaurants are eager to grab whatever business they can. Your goal is to be the beneficiary of that off-season mentality.
Discount sites like Groupon can offer deep discounts on activities as well. For retreats and resorts, booking farther in advance can have some impressive money-saving benefits. Not only can you get some pretty significant discounts, but in some instances, you may be able to set up payment plans as well.
Tips For Planning A Resort Beach Vacation
Group vacations are fantastic. Some of the closest people in your life are together and having fun in one location. Although this is enjoyable, preparing can be a challenge. Are you organizing a group vacation and need help? Check out these tips for planning a resort beach vacation.
Pros Of A Beach House Rental
- Often have larger accommodations with enough room for multiple families.
- Cost of the rental can be divided between families for a lower overall vacation cost.
- Full kitchens and laundry facilities make a beach house rental more like a home away from home. Preparing meals in the beach house is a particularly budget-friendly option when vacationing in a costlier locale, like Hawaii.
- Can be booked for longer periods of time whether your vacation is a week-long or a full month, like this location in Navarre Beach Florida.
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Book Travel Packages Using Warehouse Stores
We promise this isnt as weird as it sounds. Club stores, like Costco, actually offer pretty good deals on vacation packages. If youre planning a more elaborate vacation, you might want to consider what they have to offer.
For example, one Costco deal we found includes five days of accommodations for two adults at the Sheraton Vistana Resort Villas, Walt Disney World tickets, and car rental for about $1,900.2 But if you paid for your hotel stay, Disney passes, and car rental separately, it would set you back about $2,200. Thats a savings of over $300 just by being smart about who you book with.
We know travel packages like this change pretty quickly, so you might not find this exact deal. The point is: If youre on the lookout for a bargain, you should be able to find one if you know where to look!
Join A Loyalty Program
You cant discuss tips for luxury travel on a budget without talking about travel hacking your vacation. Travel hacking usually refers to using pointslike those you receive from loyalty programs or by using branded credit cardsfor free airfare, travel upgrades, access to airport lounges and hotel stays. While you can also use these points for other things, such as dining on a budget or gift cards, travel hackers often reserve them for big ticket travel expenses like airfare and lodging.
There are a number of websites dedicated to the art and science of traveling using points and, if you know what youre doing, you can save thousands of dollars when you plan a luxury vacation on a budget. Many of the articles on these sites also focus on how to have a luxury vacation for less.
If youre considering tips for luxury travel on a budget, dont overlook the power of your debit card when youre spending on travel prep or during the trip itself. Discover Cashback Debit, for example, allows you to earn 1% cash back on up to $3,000 in monthly debit card purchases.1 Earning while you spend can go a long way toward helping you plan a luxury vacation on a budget.
There is one caveat when using points. When figuring out how to have a luxury vacation for less by using points, you may need to be flexible with your travel dates. Flash sales on hotels are temporary and sometimes airlines only have specific dates available for rewards travel.
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Bring Along A Trash Bag For Litter
I’m always amazed at how often people who never would dream of littering on a sidewalk don’t think twice about littering on the beach. Please don’t be one of them! Carry a trash bag with you for your own litter, and take it with you as you walk along shore so you can leave the area a little cleaner than it was when you arrived. If every beachgoer picks up just a few extra pieces of litter each time he or she visits the shore, our children and grandchildren will be able to enjoy these beautiful spots, too.
Protect Your Valuables From Being Lost Stolen Or Damaged
Leave whatever valuables you can at home. For those you take with you, put them in a safe in your hotel room whenever you’re not using them. But sometimes you’ll want to take some money, keys or other valuables with you to the beach, so be prepared by bringing a small, wearable, waterproof case where you can stash them safely.
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Tips For Planning A Vacation To Ocean City On A Budget
Here are five tips for saving money when you visit Ocean City.
Avoid Peak Vacation Times
Major holidays and weekends are the busiest times of year to visit Ocean City. Many hotels charge increased rates from Memorial Day through Labor Day. In addition to this time of year being more expensive, its also when the beaches are most populated, meaning rooms typically get booked faster than normal.
If possible, plan your beach getaway for a weekday or in September when schools are back in session and rates are lower.
Plan Your Vacation Ahead of Time
Planning your vacation ahead of time is one of the best and easiest ways to save money. This gives you more time to budget and plan for the accommodations, attractions and activities youll want to enjoy when you get to Ocean City.
Click here to read about things to do in Ocean City.
If you plan on taking your vacation in the summer, start planning now. Winter is the best time of year to plan your summer vacation. Not only will you have the excitement of your trip for months, you will also be able to take advantage of early booking offers.
Start Saving Early
Click here to read about free things to do in Ocean City.
Choose Accommodations Away from the Busy Areas
While it may be tempting to want to stay right near the Ocean City Boardwalk or in an oceanfront property near the best attractions, it can be more expensive.
Now Youre All Set Woosah
Picture: Beaches Negrils Pirates Island, an 18,000 square foot waterpark along the oceans edge.
As you prepare to take off for your next family getaway, remember that while vacations are meant for families to experience new things together, there are also hidden lasting benefits. You may find that youre feeling better than you ever have, after a couple days in a new and peaceful environment, which is good for your mind, body, and soul. A healthier and more peaceful you, means youll be able to be more present for your kids once you all get back to reality!
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Make Safety And Health A Priority
The safety and wellbeing of their children is always at the forefront of any parents mind. Vacation time is not excluded. Things like whether you can find an English-speaking doctor if you need one and the quality of hospitals available at your destination are common considerations. Healthwise, its also important to ensure your children have all the necessary vaccinations before heading off to foreign destinations. This can be sorted out with a quick trip to their pediatrician. Overall, travel protection plans are recommended for family and other types of travel. These can help safeguard families against the unexpected, including cancellation fees, trip interruption, medical expenses, and expenses related to baggage loss or delay.
Insider tip: Beaches Resorts offers travel protection and have a registered nurse available on-property in case something happens. Her services are complimentary.
Bring A Comfortable Place To Sit Or Sunbathe
An oversized, plush and thirsty beach towel and/or a comfortable portable chair or folding recliner will give you a comfortable base for your fun in the sun.
Do you want something close to the ground or would you be more comfortable in something with a higher seat? Do you want something with a drink holder? Something that’s lightweight or has a strap that makes it easy to carry? If you’re not going alone, what would the others traveling with you prefer? Will you be bringing a toddler or young child along? What type of seating would make them most comfortable?
Are the beach chairs or portable loungers you have in good shape, or have they started to rust? Are they comfortable?
Are your towels large enough to keep you sand-free when you lie down on them after swimming in the ocean? Are they colorful and distinctive enough so it’s easy for you – and others – to identify which towel is yours? A little pre-trip planning will ensure that you’ll be able to sit, recline, or lie back in comfort while you enjoy the sand and surf.
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If Possible Choose A Destination That’s Walkable
You can save a lot of money if you don’t have to rent a car. Beachfront accommodations can be prohibitively expensive, but there are often other hotels and motels nearby that charge less, and all for a brief walk. When booking your trip, look for all-inclusive packages. Some might even include a shuttle from the airport, meaning you won’t even have to shell out for cab rides to and from the resort.
Unless your accommodations include a kitchen, make sure that there are ample dining opportunities within walking distance as well.
Know How To Escape From A Rip Current / Swim Out Of A Riptide
According to the United States Life Saving Association Rip Current Survival Guide, “Rip currents are the leading surf hazard for all beachgoers. They are particularly dangerous for weak or non-swimmers. Rip current speeds are typically 1-2 feet per second. However, speeds as high as 8 feet per second have been measured–this is faster than an Olympic swimmer can sprint! Thus, rip currents can sweep even the strongest swimmer out to sea.”
Knowing how to escape from a rip current can save your life. If you ever find yourself caught up in a riptide, you’re going to have to fight your body’s natural fight-or-flight response. That’s why it’s so important to read and memorize the important rip current safety tips found in the United States Life Saving Association Rip Current Survival Guide in case you ever need to escape from a riptide.
Do your part to leave the sand and water pristine!
Focus On Activities Over Accommodations
Being choosy about accommodations can make your trip much more expensive. Most of us dont go on vacation for the awesome hotel suite, unless its an all-inclusive resort or a cruise. If you plan to spend most of your time outside of your hotel room, look for something thats clean and simple.
Opting for a hotel room with a kitchenette can save you money on meals outside of the hotel, so thats always a consideration. Most basic hotel suits have everything you need for a nights sleepa bed, a shower, electrical outlets and a TV. Fancy suites can be lovely and fun, but outside of honeymooning, theres really no reason to splurge on accommodations.
Rental Car / Rideshare What Is More Cost
$40 per day / $280 / week
This can be an easy expense to cut if you plan a trip to a walkable city or are driving to your destination. However, even the best cities will often require you to get to and from the airport.
And, if youre traveling to somewhere like Oahu or Southern California, youll likely want to have your own car for exploring.
Again, there are so many factors to determine this expense, but based on my experience I calculate $40 a day. Rideshares can save you money if youre mainly using it for airport runs or only a trip or two.
However, rideshares dont always work well for families because of the luggage considerations to and from the airport and because of car seats. Families might be better off renting a car. But then keep in mind youll need to pay for gas and parking when renting.
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Saving On Daily Expenses
Fifty Tips For Planning An Affordable Trip To Florida From $70 A Day
Most visitors go to Florida to see Orlando’s theme parks or to relax on the beach. Choosing Walt Disney World as your destination is easy, but how do you pick a beach when Florida has some 800 miles of them?
Indeed, the Sunshine State has so much vying for your attention that planning a trip can seem overwhelming. But Florida’s size and diversity also mean that it has bargains galore for the traveler who knows where to go, when to go, and how to mine for discounts.
We have scoured the state to come up with these great money-saving tips, which will tell you where and how to look for the best deals. Also here is information and our advice about transportation, seasons and special events, taking care of your special needs, and picking among the myriad types of accommodations–always with an eye on saving you money.
We’ve captured Florida’s many personalities, attractions, and specific bargains in our destinations section. Peruse each one to see which destinations offer the activities you’re looking for and the prices that fit your budget. If you pick the right place and go at the right time of year, you can have a terrific trip to Florida without feeling forced into bankruptcy.
In an effort to restore the state’s tourism business in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Visit Florida is now offering special discounts on its Web site, www.flausa.com. Or you can call tel. 888/5-FLA-USA.
And now, for the tip list:
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What To Pack For A Family Beach Vacation
Before loading up your beach bag, what you bring will depend on how and where youre traveling. If youre driving your car and have the trunk space, youll be able to pack larger beach items like a wagon, pop-up shade cover and a snack table. If youre traveling via plane, your beach packing list is going to be minimized by the amount of luggage space you have.
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Also be sure to check with your beach resort on what items are available to hotel guests. Some locations, like the West Inn & Suites in Carlsbad California allow guests to borrow sand toys, chairs, umbrellas and boogie boards for their day at the beach. Items like beach towels will likely still need to be brought from home.
Our Traveling Moms have been to beaches all over the world, so check out this beach day must-have list that also includes personal recommendations for popular beach items.
Naturally youll need to pack your day trip bag each day that you go to the beach. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to empty and reload the bag. This way it will be cleaned out and ready to go the following day! Dont forget to make sure you have enough sunscreen left in the tube and that youve packed enough water and snacks.