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How to Save Money on Family Vacations?


Low Budget Family Trip

Traveling with the family is a great way to spend quality time with our Loved Ones

With some organization, it is possible to have a fun and frugal family vacation

We just came home from a mini Mother-Daughter trip and I am happy to share with you our best hints on how to save money on family vacations 😊

How to save money on family vacations

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How to Save Money on Family Vacations?

Honestly, if that would be possible, I would spend all my money (and time) on traveling 😅
So saving money during our trips mean that we also can afford to go on more vacations!

Nowadays I prefer shorter trips, such as 2-3 night "long weekends", that do not require too much planning and missing many days from work and school.

But these short family escapes still give us many new experiences and opportunities and time to really focus on each other!

I collected our best 5 tips that you can choose from, in order to save some money on your family vacations

1. Be flexible

You can search for the best deals if you can be flexible both in timing and destination.

Traveling during the off-peak season can save you money on flights, accommodation, and activities.

As my Daughter needs to attend school and I am also working, we are pretty limited by school holidays and try to benefit from extending some of the weekends.

But for example, my Mom is just about to plan a trip on weekdays, which allows her to find better offers!

Discuss with your family what type of vacation they would like and choose a destination that suits everyone's interests. Consider factors such as weather, accessibility, and cost. But do not limit your searches to only one location, have some in mind to choose from according to the best deals you are able to find.

Consider destinations that are affordable and offer a variety of activities for the whole family, such as camping or visiting national parks.

2. Search for family deals

You can search for specific family deals, eg. in some hotels kids under certain ages can stay and have meals for free or at a lowered price.

Or in several cities, there are city cards offering discounts and the use of local public transfer. If you are planning to visit different sights, and museums, and use public transport instead of walking or renting a car, you might consider these options! 

We have used the Vienna City Card which allows free travel for one child under 15 with each adult card purchased. I also used Venice City Pass years ago, and now when writing this article checked their page and they even offer a discount if you book your cards or travel passes 30 days in advance!

If you are planning a sightseeing trip in a bigger city, it is worth checking their deals and offers in advance! And you can also consider searching for accommodation outside of the city center - but with good public transport connections.

Hotels and booking sites might also offer discounts and packages designed for families, you can check CostcoTravel, Expedia, or Momondo to browse their deals - and if you can be flexible with dates and destinations, you can save a lot on your next family trip!

3. Book early or book at the last minute

With school kids planning ahead is more important, booking as early as possible can help to benefit from early bird prices

With younger kids, last-minute trips can also be an option, as they do not have obligations yet 😊

In both cases, it is easier to get better offers. 

I would suggest starting with booking the most expensive element of your planned trip, eg. flight tickets. Airlines show their cheapest prices (I heard that the best is to book a flight ticket approximately 2 months in advance), so you can pick the best ones. 

You can also consider flexible tickets or adding cancellation insurance. And I would definitely buy travel insurance for the duration of the whole trip for all family members.

Honestly, when traveling with kids and booking well in advance, I try always to book accommodation with free cancellation too - just to stay on the safe side.

4. Save on food

By renting a vacation home or apartment with a kitchen you can cook your own meals instead of eating out.

I am not a big cook, but with meal planning and preparing at least some of our meals during our trips, we can definitely save a lot! Both in time and in money 😊

Alternatively, you can also search for hotel deals with some meals included. I remember as a kid we usually had breakfast and dinner at our accommodation, and we brought some food with us for the daily trips. 😊

5. Look for free activities

Research and plan activities that everyone in your family will enjoy. Look for free or low-cost activities in the area and consider purchasing attraction passes or discount tickets to save money.

You can think about free activities such as hiking, visiting local parks, or attending free events in the area.

You don't need to spend a lot of money to have a great time. 😊

Remember to involve everyone in the planning process, including children, to ensure everyone feels excited and included in the vacation planning. 

You can also grab this opportunity to teach your Little Ones how to pack for vacation!

How to create a budget for your next family trip?

Ideally, you have a family budget that you can turn to when starting to plan your next family vacation.

First I would suggest deciding how much you can spend on this upcoming trip - this might narrow down your options regarding destinations and timing. 

Be realistic about the costs of transportation, accommodation, food, and activities. This will also help you determine how much you need to save for the vacation and make creating a budget easier.

Saving money for a family vacation can seem like a daunting task, but with some planning and dedication, it can be accomplished. 

Here are some tips to help you save money for a family vacation:

  • Tighten up your grocery budget (plan your meals, buy in bulk, use discount coupons...).
  • Give purchases a waiting period.
  • Sell things you do not use.
  • Consider a home swap or rent your house while you are away.

Remember that saving money requires discipline and commitment. Make a plan, stick to it, and before you know it, you'll be on your way to an amazing family vacation.

Set a budget for your vacation and stick to it. Avoid overspending by tracking your expenses and adjusting your plans accordingly.

But do not forget: a family vacation is about spending quality time together, creating memories, and having fun.

If you need some help with planning and organization, you can choose from various Travel Planners

These might include activity planning pages, packing lists, as well as budget planners and trackers.

Like these printable ones in The Organized Family Etsy Shop 😉


  1. Anonymous5/08/2023

    Great tips!

    1. Thank you! Glad you find them useful :)

  2. Great tips! We love traveling in our RV and taking lots of 2-3 day trips. It's about spending the intentional time with your family.

    1. Thanks for your comment Amber! Traveling with RV is on our bucket list too! ;-)

  3. Anonymous5/08/2023

    Even though I mostly travel solo, these tips can be useful to any form of travel.

    1. Thanks for your comment, I am happy that our hints can be useful even for solo travelers :)

  4. I definitely agree with book early or last minute. We’ve saved this way. Also, we try to find accommodations where we have a kitchen to save on food. If we don’t have a kitchen, then we look for rooms with a fridge so we can store breakfast and lunch items. Eating out really adds up!

    1. Thanks for your comment Julie! You are right, a fridge can still be very useful if you have no access to a full kitchen! Especially when the kids wake up and they need food at that exact moment :D

  5. Anonymous5/08/2023

    All very good tips to keep in mind! We try to take a few day or weekend trips through the year as well. With the right planning, it can certainly be done on a budget.

    1. Thank you for your comment, I am glad you found our hints useful!

  6. Love these tips, you are my tribe. In the Spring/Summer we’ll picnic to save money. Find a bakery, some fruit from a supermarket and a nice spot in a park or garden. Lovely memories for minimal spend 😊

    1. Thanks for your feedback, Helen! Picnic is always such a great experience, we love it too! :)

  7. Anonymous6/02/2023

    My #1 comment is to start a vacation fund


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