How To Travel On A Budget With Your Family: Tips And Tricks

If you're like us, you probably dream of traveling the world with your family. But when you start to add up the cost, that dream quickly becomes a nightmare. How can you afford to travel on a budget? It's not impossible! In this blog post, we will give you some tips and tricks for how to travel on a budget without sacrificing any of the fun!

A little planning and research ahead of time could really make the world of a difference in saving you money on your trip. Additionally, being flexible with at least some aspects of your trip can also reduce the costs more than you would think!

Tip #1: Anticipate Costs and Set A Budget

So, how can you travel on a budget with your family? The first step is to set a realistic budget. You need to factor in the cost of airfare, lodging, transportation, food, and activities. Once you have a number in mind, start looking for ways to save money. 

Even before setting a budget, it would be wise to set aside a separate travel fund. Whether you want to save money in a jar or in an entirely new bank account is up to you. However you decide to do it, the key is to make sure that the money you put in is solely dedicate to expenses for future travels. This way, when you are ready to start planning your trip you already have the budget number right in front of you!

Tip #2: The Best Ways To Plan The FAMILY Trip On A Budget

Once you have a budget in place, it's time to start planning your trip! One way to do this is by using a travel agent. They can help you find the best deals on flights and lodging. Another option is to use a travel website like Expedia or Kayak. These websites allow you to compare prices and find the best deals.

Some credit cards even offer price prediction alerts so you can be notifies when airfare prices drop! You can even book your travels the their site to save AND get more points for the money you spend which can be used to save on your future travels. Pay attention when booking your flights on the airline's website, they may offer you deals on rental cars and hotels, maybe even package deals. Often times, when you book through them, you'll get points and miles, too!

You can sign up to get alerts when flights are cheaper. Scott's Cheap Flights will send you an email letting you know when the airport you designate has flights to places around the world at a great deal.

Tip #3: Saving Money On Food

One of the biggest expenses when traveling is food. If you're on a tight budget, there are a few ways to save money. One way is to eat at local restaurants. Asking your AirBnB Host or hotel front desk can be a good place to start when trying to find some local dining spots. Online social media groups for the destination is another place to search. Usually someone has asked the question and people that have visited or are expats living there will chime in with some cheap eats suggestions.

save money on food when traveling with family

Venture off the "main strip" to avoid eating at tourist traps (you know, the ones where someone is standing in front of the restaurant with the menu, luring in visitors). We have found that even in the most "touristy" destinations, all you have to do is look for a restaurant a bit father out of the radius where everyone else goes and the prices will be a lot more reasonable for food.

Another way to save money is by packing your own meals. This is a great option if you're traveling with kids. We tend to do some grocery shopping on our travels so that we can stock up on some main items (like peanut butter and bread, or milk and cereal) as well as breakfast foods. If possible we make sandwiches (great for those days we are visiting attractions) or pastas for dinners and just have lunch out to keep things on budget.

Tip #4: Finding Cheap Lodging

Lodging can be one of the most expensive parts of traveling. But there are a few ways to save money on your accommodations. One way is to find discounts through websites like Hotels.com or Expedia. Another way to save money is by staying in an Airbnb. This can be a great option if you're traveling with a family or large group. 

start a travel fund

Costs on lodging can also be cut down if you look a bit farther out of the main tourist areas of the destination. Of course, beachfront properties are going to be a lot pricier than those in town at some locations. We booked a hotel right on the beach for our vacation on Isla Holbox in Mexico and noticed that the accommodations farther away cost way less. This would have been a good way to save money without sacrificing much because they were still within walking distance to the beaches!

I know some people may ask the question: how can I travel the world free with my family? We can tell you that you have the option of getting free accommodations if you are willing to do house/pet sitting for someone who will be going out of town. We used TrustedHousesitters for our one week stay in San Diego and saved a ton not having to pay for lodging!

Tip #5: Saving Money On Transportation

Transportation costs can add up quickly when you're traveling. But there are a few ways to save money on transportation. One way is to use public transportation. This can be cheaper than renting a car or taking taxis everywhere. Another way to save money is by walking or biking around town. This is a great way to see the sights and save money. 

walk to keep transportation costs low while traveling

When planning your family trip, you can choose your destination with this factor in mind so that you don't end up overspending on getting around. Find places to visit that are pedestrian friendly and have clusters of restaurants and attractions within walking distance. 

For instance a two week family trip to Costa Rica may require a rental car if you want to see more than one place, whereas there's plenty to see and do just by walking around if you choose to visit Split, Croatia.

Pro-Traveler Tip: The hop on/hop off tours are a great way to get around a city AND get info on the tour!

Tip #6: Where To Travel On A Budget

As you have read so far, when you're trying to save money, it's important to choose your destination wisely. One way to do this is by research. You can look for destinations that are known for being cheap or have a lot of free activities. Look for countries where the cost of living is low and the exchange rate works for your benefit.

Instead of going where everyone else goes, try looking for underrated places like Eastern Europe versus France or Italy. A family vacation in Croatia is a lot more budget-friendly than a trip to Paris. Keep in mind that some destinations may be a little higher in price to get to but super inexpensive once you are there. We have spend two weeks going all around Thailand and eating amazing food out for all meals and still didn't break the bank.

family vacation on a budget

Another way to choose your destination to fit a lower budget is to be flexible and let the prices choose for you. Use Google Flights and leave the destination box blank to see what your travel options are based on the prices shown on the map!

cheap places to travel with kids:

  • Turkey
  • Spain
  • Balkans
  • Southeast Asia
  • Peru


Tip #7: Travel during the off-season

This can help you avoid peak travel prices and crowds. It's a similar concept to the one we talked about above. If you're going WHERE everyone is going WHEN they are going, too, you're likely to get hit with higher prices for most things like airfare and lodging as well as activities. 

Avoiding school holidays will make a difference, but keep in mind that doing activities on weekdays is also a big hack. Depending on the destination, traveling after the holidays and summer break when everyone else is back to work and school tends to be a good time. Spring break is another time of year that you will want to avoid traveling in if you want to save money.

Tip #8: Slow Travel

Slow travel is a great way to save money and enjoy your trip more. This involves staying in one place for a longer period of time and exploring the area thoroughly. This can be a great option if you're traveling with kids.

slow travel to save money on accommodations

It's tough to travel fast when you have kids in tow, so why not make the experience more pleasant by taking it slow when you arrive for your trip. Generally, you can get better deals on accommodations if you book an extended stay. So it's a win-win!

When you stay somewhere longer, you also have the benefit of flexibility to decide when to reserve activities for the best pricing as well!

Tip #9: Don't Overdue The Activities

It can be tempting to want to do everything when you're on vacation. But this can often lead to overspending. Choose a few activities that you really want to do and stick to your budget. Remember that you can usually find great free walking tours in most cities that will give you insight on what is worth experiencing and what you should skip!

where to travel with family on a budget

Tip #10: Use Discounts And Loyalty Programs

You can often find discounts on activities, transportation, food, and lodging by using coupons or signing up for loyalty programs.

Pick Your Favorite Budget Family Travel Tips

These are just a few tips for how to travel on a budget with your family. By following these tips, you can save money and have a great time! It all boils down to being prepared and allowing yourself to be a little more flexible when it comes to making travel plans. You can pick and choose the tips that work best for your family and which you are able to do, so you don't have to do it all to save money!

Also, remember that Travel Insurance  can help you save in case of an emergency so it is also well worth it! Do you have any other tips for how to travel on a budget? Share them in the comments below!

Happy travels! :)

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Taiss Nowrouzi

About the Author

Taiss Nowrouzi

Hi! I'm just a California girl addicted to travel and adventure with a passion for art and dance on the side. Born in Iran, but I consider myself a citizen of Earth, adhering to the belief that "The world is but one country and mankind its citizen." I strive to make a positive impact on everyone I meet and learn as much as possible from them. My degree out of college is in Marketing. However, I entered the hospitality business at an early age and worked my way up to hotel management. After about 13 years in that industry (5 of which I was a hotel assistant manager), I made the decision to move to Thailand and leave the 9 to 5 grind behind. My husband and I set off for a life of living abroad and hopes to continue traveling the world, just 3 months after our wedding. It all started with the two of us, along with our cat, together in Thailand. Can't wait to see where life takes us next!

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