Savvy budget travelers know that, aside from the holiday season, summer is the most expensive time of year for a vacation. For many families, however, it’s the only time they can spend time together without the hustle and bustle of school and extracurricular activities. If you want to take a summer vacation with the family this year, but don’t want to spend too much, there are countless ways to save. Try these suggestions for finding great travel deals and discover destinations that are not only fun but affordable.
Grab Big Savings Before You Leave the House
Start your search for travel discounts as early as possible. According to U.S. News & World Report, flexibility is the key to discount travel in the summer. For example, if your children have their hearts set on a resort, check the rates for a weekday visit instead of a weekend trip. Many resorts offer reduced rates during the week that you can take advantage of.
A great way to save on summer vacation costs is to book through a discount travel site that negotiates directly with the airlines, hotels, and car rental companies. Sign up for email alerts and follow the site on Twitter to stay informed about sales and special deals. In fact, calling is sometimes your best option, because customer service representatives often have inside information about deals and bookings that aren’t yet published.
Look for an extended stay hotel or vacation rental with a kitchen. Cooking most of your own meals drastically reduces the cost of eating out. Many hotels offer free breakfasts, which can also save big bucks. Check the website of tourist attractions you want to visit. Many zoos, parks, and other attractions offer coupons you can get online. Look for free events that are scheduled during your visit.
Budget-Friendly Family Vacation Spots
Camping is one of the best and most affordable family vacations. If staying in a tent is not your thing and you don’t own an RV, you can still camp at one of the many campgrounds around the country by renting a yurt or cabin. Camping near one of America’s beautiful state or national parks provides a rich experience in a natural setting at an affordable cost. Resorts near the national parks are typically a little more expensive, but offer lots of activities to keep children busy.
Water parks are budget-friendly choices, too, because most offer packages that include lodging and park admission. Many water parks and lodges are near other tourist attractions so you can add sightseeing activities for more vacation fun.
Washington D.C. is a great destination for a family vacation. Hotels are a bit pricey, but many attractions are free. You can visit the National Zoo, the National Mall, the planetarium at Rock Creek Park, tour the National Air and Space Museum, and view the Washington Monument at absolutely no cost. If you don’t feel like walking all day, purchase a budget-friendly all-day pass and ride the Metrorail to go from site to site in comfort.