I recently shared some travel booking tips and I want add a few critical budget saving tips for traveling families.
I’m sure I will be debated on booking hotels over renting a house or apartment but I prefer hotels because I like all of the services and amenities available in hotels when I go on vacation. I like my bed made, towels refreshed and food service, no apologies. That said it’s expensive to feed a family PERIOD, and going to restaurants for breakfast, lunch and dinner adds up fast, which is why nine times out of ten I book hotels with free breakfast included. Free breakfast can save an average of $50 per day for a family of four, which can add up to hundreds of dollars saved over the course of a week long vacation.
Real example, when I traveled with my family to Austria, I booked a ski resort that offered half board (breakfast and dinner) which saved hundreds. I could’ve booked less expensive accommodations but I would have quickly spent any savings and then some for breakfast and dinner. In addition to the cost savings, breakfast included means no searching for places to eat and you’re free to start your day bright and early.
Rent a car vs. using taxis and public transportation. I’m a huge fan of taking public transportation in major cities but sometimes it’s just not feasible for multi-city trips or in cases where the airport is far from your hotel. Renting a car gives you the flexibility to design your itinerary and timing according to your schedule. Once you’ve decided the places that you want to visit, estimate how much you’ll spend on taxis to and from the airport/train station plus traveling from place to place vs. how much a car rental plus parking, gas and tolls will cost. Now assess the intangibles like the train/bus frequency/schedule and the “hassle” of moving around with children and it may pay to rent a car. Check your credit card rental car coverage and your drivers insurance policy to avoid buying a redundant policy.
Real example, for the same trip to Austria I was quoted an average of $200 per person for round trip transfers to the ski resort located 90 minutes from the airport. The car rental costed approximately $300 for the entire duration of my trip, the resort offered free parking plus I had the car at my disposal to use during the trip.
Don’t pay extra to reserve airline seats together. The airline will seat you together most of the time but check in early to get best chance. In the odd case where the airline doesn’t book your seats together, there is usually some accommodating person who is willing to switch seats as not separate parents and children. Sometimes it’s fine to rely on the kindness of strangers. Just make sure you return the favor one day. 😉
Travel safe! ✈️