It’s finally time to get out and travel this summer! In all your excitement to get away, it could be easy to forget one important thing: budget. Here are ten easy, breezy tips to help you save money on your family vacation and make it the best summer ever!
Shop Before Your Trip
It can be tempting to leave shopping for essentials for your travel destination, but not always the best ideal if you want to save money. Headed to a beach town? You don't want to be stuck having to buy swimsuits for your family at a pricey surf shop as your only option! Same with drinks, snacks, sunscreen—it's best to plan ahead and get those items at a discount store near you before you hit the road.
Look For Campgrounds with Entertainment
Sure, you could go to a waterpark on your trip, or you could book a campground that has one on-site! Many campgrounds have family-friendly amenities like pools with waterslides, lakes with kayaks and outdoor movie nights—which save you cash and are conveniently located right where you're staying.
One of the best ways to save money on a vacay? Stay at a place with your own kitchen! Restaurant meals can be upwards of $200/day per family, which can really cut into the fun budget—one of the many reasons why an RV is the way to go! Traveling in an RV saves money, gives you more freedom than other modes of travel and is just plain fun! You have options by traveling in an RV, with the space to refrigerate and cook your own meals (campfire, anyone?!). Not only that, renting a car and hotel stays are expensive—think of your RV as a super-fun two-in-one!
RVs are for everyone, not just campers, and they open up a world of possibilities while traveling that traditional hotel stays and car rentals don't offer. With an RV, you set your own schedule. No airport lines or packing restrictions. You have the safety and comfort of bringing your own sheets, towels and pillows (not to mention, all the stuffies the kids want!). Whether you rent one or go all in and buy your very own vacay house on wheels, you can't go wrong with an RV for travel.
Check Out Harvest Hosts
Looking for a unique outdoor stay? Harvest Hosts is a website that connects RV travelers with wineries, breweries, farms and more unique locals—all with no camping fees! The annual membership is $99, and lets you book as many stays as you'd like.
Mix Up Your Meals
Going to restaurants each day adds up quickly, especially with kids in tow. Rather than going to restaurants to entertain the family, plan a few nights of making your own campfire meals! Cooking over a fire will be an exciting new adventure for your kids, and you'll save big by only having to buy ingredients.
Get the GasBuddy App
Want to pay less for gas? Us, too! The GasBuddy app provides prices of gas stations in your area based on your GPS location. Now you can "shop around" to find the cheapest gas near you, on the road or close to home.
Bring the Fun
One of the biggest perks of traveling in an RV is the extra space! Pack a few board games, a frisbee, and, if you have space, your kids' bikes. When the inevitable "I'm bored" comes up, you'll already have entertainment on hand!
Travel During the Week
Being flexible with your travel dates means big savings. Try to avoid traveling on the weekend and opt for mid-week options instead. Special deals for families, and for destinations in general, are more readily available during the week, and at off-peak hours.
Get Tickets for Events Ahead of Time
Don't wait until you get to the door—tickets are usually more expensive last minute. Buying online and early not only ensures that your whole gang gets in, but that you get the best price. Pro tip: Don't forget to search the web for deals and coupon codes before you hit "send"!
The U.S. Park Pass
Parks and Rec your thing? This is your pass to see it all! The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is your ticket to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites across the country. For an $80 annual fee, this pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees and day-use fees per vehicle.