I know it’s only early March, but I can’t stop thinking about the upcoming summer. Based on my personal experience, it is never too early to begin planning your summer family vacation.
If you’re like me, the two most important things to keep in mind while mapping out all the madness are fun and affordability.
The best way to make sure you plan a memorable vacation for everyone that won’t break the bank is to begin planning NOW! Below are 5 helpful tips for mapping out the perfect summer vacation that will, thankfully, be here before you know it.
1. Research potential destinations with your kids.
This process can be quite enjoyable. All you need to do is spend a few hours online with your children as you investigate possible destinations. They can scout out places that pique their interest, and you keep an eye out for the best deals.
2. Book everything NOW!
Whether it is a hotel, flight, or rental car, get the best deal possible by booking it now. It’s possible to get a great deal by booking at the last minute, but is it really worth the stress?
Right now is the time to book the lodging you’ve been eyeing. Ask for a discount before you lock in your reservation. Simply call or email and ask if there are any discounts for special memberships such as AAA or for folks who want to book several days.
3. Plan your meals.
Try to stay someplace with a kitchen or a fridge. If that is not an option, try to stay somewhere that offers a free breakfast. The last thing you want to do is waste time and money having to eat all your meals in a restaurant every day of your vacation.
Have a picnic for lunch when you can. Bring your own sandwiches to the park or the beach. Remember: kids typically don’t like waiting in restaurants anyway, so try to avoid them.
4. Resist impulse purchases by researching specific mementos.
Heading to a cool science museum? Browse the museum’s online gift shop to see which specific items you and your family are interested in. Knowing what you are looking for will help you avoid the whole “kid in a candy store” thing that often leads to spending too much money.
Encourage your kids to start a collection based on your vacation. This could include patches, stickers, or postcards. Do a little bit of hunting beforehand so that you have an idea of what to look for as you and your family begin your adventure.
5. Replace pricey attractions with those that are free (or nearly free).
This one is sometimes easier than done. A good example of opting for a less expensive alternative is attending a minor league baseball game instead of a major league game. You will save possibly hundreds of dollars, and unless you or your family are beholden to a specific major league team, you will have the same pleasure of watching America’s pastime during the warm summer months. You might even find it a more charming experience.
What are some tips you’d suggest for planning the most fun and affordable summer vacation ever? Feel free to share in the comments section.