This Budget Tips for Family Trips post is sponsored by PSECU, a Pennsylvania-based credit union.
It's summertime, and that means that it is the perfect time of year for family trips. Unfortunately, these trips can take a big chunk out of your wallet, so it's essential to plan a reasonable budget so you can enjoy everything on your vacation without running out of money by the end of it.
Here are a few tips and tricks to help you budget for your next family vacation.
PSECU created this graphic with their best tips for traveling on a budget.
Book Travel Off-Season
Summer vacations are great, but they tend to be the most common travel times which means that airlines and hotels often charge higher fees. The best time to plan your vacation is during the off-season – between November and March, when most people aren't planning their vacations. School year summer vacation, between mid-June and August, is the peak season and you'll end up paying more for your trip.
Airlines are expensive to begin with, and they tack on extra fees wherever they can. Many include additional fees for checked baggage, so if you can squeeze everything you need into your carry-on luggage, you can save yourself a lot of extra money. Make sure you check with your airline to learn their carry-on restrictions, so you don't end up having to check your bags when you arrive.
Don't Forget the Snacks
Airport food is expensive. You'll end up paying $5 for a bag of chips that you could buy at the grocery store for $0.50. Bring snacks with you, as well as an empty water bottle that you can fill once you get into the terminal, because they won't let you bring in water bottles from outside the airport.
Discounts and Loyalty Programs
Just because you're planning a vacation doesn't mean that you have to pay full price for everything. Discount sites are a great way to book your hotel and airline, especially if you do it ahead of time. According to experts, using a discount site could help you save up to 70 percent on your tickets and hotel rooms.
Airline and hotel loyalty programs can also help you save money if you travel frequently. If you stay with a certain hotel chain or fly with a specific airline, you can accumulate points that can be used for free rooms, free flights or other perks. If you take a vacation once or twice a year, those points add up quickly and can save you a lot of money on future trips. Pick a company that offers good rewards, and you might even be able to use them to save some money on your Christmas shopping too!
Vacations are a great way to spend time with your family and get away for a while, but they don't have to break the bank. Plan ahead, book in advance and use those discount sites to get the most bang for your buck, and you can plan a vacation without worrying about if you'll need to mortgage your house to pay for it!