The recent article about the UK couple that got fined over $1,500 for taking their children out of school to go on holiday got me thinking about how their reasoning was no different from most – travel for a lot of families is not affordable, both in time and money.
Fitting travel into a family budget is challenging for many. As a mother of two kids myself, travel is important to our family because we want our children to learn about other places and cultures so they will become global citizens, AND it is fun! I recognize that it is a privilege that we have been able to travel as a family and I know how much time it takes to plan a trip. But, I have also learned how to make travel affordable for our budget and less time consuming to plan.
Here are my 6 tips on making travel more affordable and planning easier for your family:
1. Plan Early
It can take a considerable amount of time and effort to plan a solid family vacation no matter the destination – so you should start planning at least 9 months in advance, and start booking your travel at least 6-7 months in advance.
2. Travel Wednesday or Saturday
Off-peak air travel is not only less expensive than flying on Friday and Sunday (peak travel days), but airports are much quieter and easier to navigate. And if you are planning on doing hotel accommodations, it can be much easier to find better deals.
3. Ask about Discounts for Kids
When researching travel destinations, be sure to inquire about deals for kids, particularly if they are under age 10. For example, in some countries like China, entrance to sights is based on the child’s height. If you are booking a tour and sharing a hotel room with your children, make sure you ask about accommodation discounts.
4. Include a Homestay or Volunteer
Many tours include a local homestay, which allows you to cut down on accommodation costs, and gives your family the experience of living like the locals do. Spending a few days on a family-friendly volunteer project during your travels gives your family the opportunity to do something purposeful and immersive by working with the community, and saves on the cost of a tour guide or outing for the day.
5. Simplify Eating Out
Save on eating out by making picnic lunches and sharing with the family. And if you do eat out – why not share meals? Most kids are not going to finish a full adult meal, so consider ordering an entrée and sharing it with the kids.
6. Let someone do the planning for you.
If you work with a reputable travel company like Global Family Travels we can help arrange all your travel, prepare and educate your family about the upcoming trip, saving you both time and money in the end. We love hearing about what you want to do as a family and making that a reality to build meaningful travel experiences for all of you.