Planning a memorable family vacation that won’t break the bank simply involves taking the time to know a destination inside and out and discuss trip activities with children in advance.
“It’s all about prioritizing where you spend your vacation dollars and taking advantage of great deals,” says Eileen Ogintz, syndicated travel columnist and creator of <www.takingthekids.com>.
For families looking to have a budget-friendly blast, Ogintz is offering some tip-top ideas:
• Research the destination online with the kids. Become familiar with all of the family activities and attractions available in the areas to be visited. Keep a look out for local coupons and deals.
• Talk to the kids before heading out. Make sure they understand everyone is going to work together to keep the vacation on budget, so the most desirable experiences can be funded.
• Stay someplace with a kitchen or a fridge, or somewhere that offers a free breakfast. Don’t waste time and money having breakfast in a restaurant every day of the vacation.
• Picnic for lunch, and even dinner, when possible. Bring sandwiches to the theme park or the beach. Opt for takeout around the pool at night. Kids don’t like sitting in restaurants anyway.
• Have a souvenir strategy to resist impulse buys. Encourage kids to start a collection, such as patches, pins, stickers or postcards. Save change in a jar before the trip and discuss getting souvenirs that can only be found at your destination.
• Travel greener and cheaper with reusable water bottles to not have to buy bottled water every time someone is thirsty.
• Alternate pricey attractions with those that are free or nearly free. Opt for a minor league baseball game rather than a major league game, for example.
• Reserve a rental car ahead of time at the final destination to help stick to an agenda and budget. But be sure to find the best deal available.
Some companies make this search easier. For example, the Alamo Deal Retriever, an online tool from Alamo Rent A Car, allows clients to compare Alamo coupons and deals specific to their travel plans and select the one that best fits. To locate a deal and join a free loyalty club for deeper discounts, visit <www.Alamo.com>.
Pizza for dinner at the hotel pool, a bonfire on the beach, or a rainy morning spent watching cartoons together are something families may discover are the best travel moments and the least extravagant.