Family vacations can get expensive and if you are like me you have to figure out ways to save money to make it happen. I love to travel but my budget does not always allow for the amount of travel I would like to do. To make some of the little trips happen and still be able to do our big trips I like to find fun ways to be as frugal as possible. This allows us to take an extra weekend trip or day trip. I try to make it fun for the family too! Use my tips to help you save money on your family vacation.
If you have a membership to your local museum or zoo go to their website and check out the reciprocal list. This has saved us a lot of money visiting other cities. Usually the discount is 50% a ticket but some places offer free admission. With a family of five this can be a tremendous savings.
If you don’t have a membership look into purchasing one and stretch your dollar for the year. We have a membership our local children’s museum the Strong Museum of Play and use it often. It helps during weeks we are trying to save money but still allows us to spend some time together as a family.
We did this a few years ago for the Pittsburgh Pirates. We signed each kid up and they each received a free game ticket and free kids meals at Chick-Fil-A! We ate a lot of Chick-Fil-A this trip but we saved a lot of money! Be sure to do this well in advance of your trip because the packets are mailed out.
Often times emails are sent with discounts and promotions. I always get Great Wolf Lodge emails that notify me of promotions and sales. Hoping to use those soon! Facebook pages also have giveaways and promotions that are worth checking out.
When we go away we always pack food for the first day of driving. It saves us money and prevents us from feeling sick eating fast food all day. Typically I pack bagels, sandwiches, pretzels, goldfish, trail mix, etc. I always cut up fruit and put it in a gallon ziploc bag. Bring spoons and cups and you can scoop out a healthy yummy snack. When the fruit is gone you can toss the bag and have one less thing to take care of in the car!
If you want to save even more money on the road pack lunches and only got out for dinner. Most hotels have a fridge that you can store a small amount of food. We also save money by ordering pizza in the hotel room and enjoying a night in watching tv and swimming in the hotel pool.
Playgrounds are my number one free attraction. I always look for one that is close to our hotel. It is nice to let the kids get their energy out after a long day in the car. The best place to start is to search the town you are going to or check out the cities park and recreation department. This will lead you to parks, playgrounds, and often local free events. The beach and hotel pools are also a great way to unwind, unplug and enjoy each other on vacation.
Play for free!! Get creative and find free things to discover at your destination. Find a park, go for a walk in a neighborhood. Ask some locals. There are so many undiscovered places that you can find.
Saving money for your family vacation doesn’t have to be difficult. Last year we used these tips and saved over $500 on food and entertainment in Pittsburgh. Of course it is vacation and there are times when we splurge, but when you want a quick trip and want to do it cheap this is a great place to start.
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