Our family LOVES TO TRAVEL. I've always told my husband that if we ever end up wealthy, we will not own a large house–we will travel. But what I love more than taking a family trip, is saving lots of money on that family trip! Here is where I spill all the best secrets (as well as some fun tips).
Some families save up for a big TV or some new toy, but when we save–it's for the next family vacation. We try to do two a year at least. We have done Disneyland or Disney World for the last 3 years in a row, so if you are going that route, you will want to check out our Disney Travel Guide. It's jam-packed with all sorts of tips, printables and good ideas. Many of you know that family vacations can get expensive if you aren't careful. Here's some great ideas for getting the best bang for your buck on your next family trip.
How to get the biggest bang for your buck on your next family trip
At home with the kids? Instantly access any of these printable activity bundles to keep them learning!
Websites to Know About
Airfare Watchdog I have been using airfare Watchdog since college and I'm always surprised when I find someone that hasn't heard of it. If you know where you want to go in advance, you can set up fare alerts and they will send you an email when flights to that particular destination are really low! If you don't know where you want to go, but just want to go on a fun trip, you can use their fares from a city search tool to see what flights are currently super low from your particular airport. I have been able to find super cheap flights to Europe using this feature!
Google Flights. Once you have found your flight, if you aren't sure if it's a good deal or not, you can look on Google flights and it will actually tell you what the average rate is for your travel dates.
Trip Advisor Many people know about Trip Advisor and that you can find reviews there, but not everyone knows you can search by all-inclusive resorts, family-friendly, romantic — WHATEVER YOU ARE LOOKING FOR! It really helps to narrow things down. You can also use Trip Advisor to see where rates are cheapest for that hotel (whether it be Orbitz, travelocity, etc.). This is what I do when I am searching for a hotel: I will do a search on Trip Advisor, narrow down my results to what I'm looking for (Specialty lodging is great for finding condos and hotels that sleep more than your typical 4 people), and then I will sort by ranking. This is super important for finding the best hotels at the best price. You really don't want to book something that is ranked #240 out of 350 hotels in a city, no matter how nice it looks, or how cheap it is. You can almost always find awesome, affordable lodging in the top 20-50 rankings (depending on how big the city is). Once I find a hotel I like (and have read through the reviews) I will click over to the actual hotel website to see what the pricing is. Sometimes that is where it will be cheapest. After that I will check the prices that Trip Advisor gave me and see if I have found the lowest price.
VRBO. If you are traveling during peak season (or if you have a large family or group) try a vacation rental on VRBO. In fact, if you are staying at a resort, type the name of that resort into VRBO and oftentimes you can find it cheaper there. We are going to Hawaii next month and everything is super pricey during our travel dates. We were able to book at two of the top-rated resorts in both Maui and Kauai for way cheaper than the resort website (in fact one was sold out and we couldn't have booked it if it weren't for VRBO).
AutoSlash. Great for getting good deals on car rentals. Basically, you set up what you are looking for, and then it constantly scans for deals and discounts up until you leave on your trip, and automatically applies the discounts! It's like having someone constantly bartering the best price for you, and you don't have to do anything! And like other rental car reservations, you don't pay until you go to get your rental car.
Ebates. Ebates is basically a cash back program that allows you to earn cash back on almost anything you purchase online! It's like having credit card perks without having to have a credit card. I recommend downloading their little bookmarklet tool so that you can a little reminder when you are on a website that you can earn cash back on. They also tell you what coupon codes are available. Vacation is the best time to use Ebates because you can get cash back on all your hotel bookings (and sometimes even flights), which adds up fast! You also get $10 for signing up here.
Get Away Today. This is by far our favorite travel agency (especially if you are going on a Disney trip). They are so friendly and awesome to work with, and they can usually beat any other deal you find. If you are going to Disneyland, they are Disneyland EXPERTS! They have personally visited all the nearby hotels and know all the ins and outs and what would work best for your family! They also have access to discounts on many of them (4th night free, etc.). If you do a Disneyland vacation package, use code “MOTHERSNICHE” for an extra $10 off.
Skiplagged. Skiplagged can be a great way to find super low flights because it shows you hidden-city fares. Meaning, a flight to Chicago might be $400, but a flight to JFK with a layover in Chicago is only $249. So in this situation, you would book the flight to JFK, but get off at Chicago and never take your layover to JFK! It's pure genius. As you can imagine, the airlines have tried to sue the 22-year old that created the website, but instead have only helped him to go viral.
Zulily. We have gotten most of our kid's travel activities, suitcases, backpacks and even swim and beach gear on Zulily! They have deals going like crazy this time of year (as well as Disney-themed apparel), so definitely check them out!
MORE FUN TIPS for your next FAMILY TRIP
If you can't already tell travel is my favorite thing ever, check out these other blog posts and travel tips:
SO MANY FUN PRINTABLES in this one!!!
These are great for traveling with older kids, or for doodling yourself if you are going to be on a long flight or car ride. You can also get a free printable page on our blog here: GeoPattern Printable
NOT GOING ANYWHERE THIS SUMMER? That's okay, we've got you covered!