Budget travel: 12 ways to save money on your next family vacation

With a little bit of help, you can plan the best family vacation ever—and you won't have to break the bank.

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It’s almost summer and you haven’t made your vacation plans! Before you panic, check out these easy money-saving tips that will help you plan an awesome family holiday—without dipping into next year’s daycare fund.

Cool hotel room13 hotel rooms that will blow your kids’ minds 1. Book early
Guarantee yourself the best deal by booking early. Many companies offer an incentives, like 10 percent off travel (Insight Vacations) or 30 percent off your hotel stay when you book at least 30 days in advance (AccorHotels).

2. Set up price alerts
Instead of obsessing over the cost of airfare, set up a price alert with a company, like KAYAK. Whenever your selected itinerary drops in price, you’ll get an email alert telling you it’s time to book.

3. Be flexible with your travel dates
Everyone wants to maximize their vacation time by flying out Friday through Monday. But if you choose to takeoff on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday, you could save on your airfare—leaving extra cash for things like excursions or hotel upgrades.

4. Choose your destination wisely
Popular destinations tend to be expensive, so consider somewhere different, instead. For example, Philadelphia is a great city for families and it’s considerably cheaper than New York City. Planning a trip to the Caribbean? The Dominican Republic offers way more value compared to Turks and Caicos.

5. Book a tour
Ease the stress of booking everything yourself and opt for a guided tour. The cost of a package can often be cheaper than booking things on your own. Many reputable tour operators such as Intrepid or Trafalgar offer tours that are designed specifically for families so there’s no worry about the kids not having fun.

6. Rent an apartment
Hotels are convenient, but they may not be practical for all families. Instead, consider renting an apartment. Airbnb is the obvious choice to get you started, but Booking.com is also a great resource since you can search hotels and apartments at the same time.

7. Research discounts
It’s surprisingly easy to save if you take a quick look around. Many destinations offer discounts right on their website, such as Visit Orlando. Many major cities in North America offer CityPASS, which provides admission to all the top spots for one (discounted) price.

8. Don’t eat out for every meal
It can be tempting to eat out for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but that gets expensive. One easy way to save is to plan a stop at the grocery store so you can stock up on drinks, snacks, and prepared meals. If you do decide to eat out, see if any restaurants nearby have a kids-eat-free option.

9. The best things in life are free
Regardless of where you end up, always look for free attractions. Many museums and art galleries around the world offer free admission on certain days. Parks won’t cost you anything, and sometimes exploring local neighbourhoods is the best way to learn about the local culture.

10. Use a travel rewards credit card
When used responsibly, credit cards can be a useful tool for bringing down the cost of your holiday. Travel rewards credit cards often have generous sign-up bonuses in addition to the points you’ll earn on your everyday purchases, which you can then use for travel. Just remember that those points are only worth it if you’re paying off your full balance every month!

11. Skip the summer
This may be impossible for some families, but avoiding travel during the summer months when it’s most expensive is the best way to save. In May, October, or November, you can can often pay up to 25 percent less on flights and hotels compared to peak season.

12. Start a travel fund
Need some motivation to start your Spring cleaning? According to Kijiji’s Second-hand Economy Index, Canadians can put around $2,000 back in their pockets by both buying and selling second-hand. That’s a nice chunk of money that you can use towards your next family vacation.

Read more:
7 awesome Airbnb Treehouses to book for your next family vacation
8 easy ways to quickly save for a family vacation

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