Family Travel On A Budget: The Best Tips For 2024

This post has been updated for 2024.

Are you looking to travel with your family on a budget in 2024? If so, you’re in luck! There are plenty of ways to save money when traveling as a family. Whether you’re planning a trip to the beach or an adventure to another country, these tips will show you how to stretch your travel budget further.

Check out all my top tips below for Family Travel On A Budget!

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The key to affording family travel is to start planning and saving early. Setting aside a little bit of your income every month can go a long way in building up your travel fund. You may also want to consider getting creative with ways to generate extra income that can go towards your trip. From selling old items online, to taking on freelance work, to hosting a virtual event, there are plenty of ways to make money on the side.

Planning family travel on a budget provides an opportunity for quality time away from the everyday hustle and bustle of life, while making sure your normal day-to-day is still in tact. It’s important to take time out to explore new places and make memories with your family.

So how do we do this? Let’s figure it out!

Research Travel Options Ahead Of Time

Make A List Of Places You Want To Visit

To get the most out of your vacation, it pays to plan carefully and research ahead of time. Make a list of all the places you want to visit in order to narrow down your options. Once you have your list, start to break it down into categories. I like to label each destination with who I’d like to take the trip with- my family, just my husband, a group of friends, etc.

Next- I break it down into what time of year I’d most like to visit each place. This will help with planning later on. Then- I decide which year I’d like to go to each place. This won’t be set in stone, but it gives me an idea to break up my travel. There are places I’d like to visit when my kids are at certain ages, as well as, trips I might want to save up for.

Ask Others For Tips

Once you have your list, ask around for suggestions and advice. Ask friends and family who have already traveled to the places on your list, or consult online forums and reviews from travelers like yourself. You may get some great ideas that will make planning even easier.

You might also get some new ideas of places you’ve never heard about before. This can be especially helpful if you’re looking for off the beaten path destinations.

Check Out Ways To Save

It’s wise to scout out deals ahead of time on websites offering discounts for accommodations, attractions, transportation, etc. Look for package deals that bundle together different aspects of your trip such as airfare, hotels and car rentals. There are even websites specifically designed to help you save on family vacations.

You also want to think outside the box. There are tons of cash back sites that could get you started on saving some extra money. I would first make sure you have a credit card with a good rewards program. We have Chase Freedom and get 1% cash back on all purchases, along with 5% cash back on certain quarterly purchases.

There are some great cash back sites like BeFrugal and Rakuten that I am a part of and would highly recommend checking out. You can save money on products, as well as, get cash back from purchases and even more money from referrals.

I also recommend joining a Facebook group for general travel or your specific destination. My family and I are going to Disney in a couple months and the information I have found from Disney groups has been very helpful.

Shop Year Round To Find Deals For Your Trip

Once you have an idea of where you want to travel, keep your eyes peeled for discounts throughout the year. Many airlines and hotels will offer special deals during certain times of the year or on specific days. To make sure you don’t miss out, sign up for newsletters from companies related to the places you’re visiting. You’ll be able to get discounts, insider information and more.

You can also make a list of things you might need for your trip and look for sales throughout the year. If you are planning a ski trip you might want to look for sales on ski gear, or if you’re planning a beach trip you could keep an eye out for deals on beach essentials. Shopping year round will help you save money in the long run.

Choose Destinations Wisely

Find The Cheapest Destinations

Planning a vacation can be an exciting yet intimidating task, especially if you’re on a budget. To make sure that your dream trip doesn’t turn into an unaffordable burden, it is important to research the best possible destinations beforehand.

Consider places like Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and Central America, which are known for their affordability. Doing a bit of research on each destination will help you find the right balance between cost and experience. You want to find nice countries with a low cost of living.

If you want to stay in the United States, consider areas like Oklahoma City and San Antonio, Texas. These areas are known for their budget-friendly options and can provide you with an unforgettable experience without breaking the bank. Check out even more options HERE.

Research Low Exchange Rates & Visa Fees

If you’re traveling abroad, it is important to research exchange rates and visa fees before booking any flights or accommodations. Exchange rates can fluctuate daily, so it pays off to keep an eye on them.

Visa fees also vary greatly between countries and can range from around $25-$100. Some countries even have e-visas that allow you to apply online and get approved in a matter of minutes. This is incredibly convenient and can help you save money. If you’re not sure of the visa requirements for your destination, it pays off to do some research beforehand.

family travel in the mountains

Travel During Off-Peak Seasons

Avoid Holidays & Festivals

Traveling during the off-peak season is one of the greatest ways to save money on your next vacation. Not only do you avoid the hefty sums that tend to come with peak season reservations, but you can also enjoy smaller local festivals and events without the hustle and bustle of a crowd.

Try to visit during the shoulder season, which often offers great weather and a more relaxed atmosphere. Some destinations may even offer discounts or free attractions for travelers during this time of year!

Embrace Less Than Ideal Weather

Traveling during the less than ideal weather can be a great way to save money on your vacation. For instance, if you’re planning a beach trip, consider visiting in the autumn months when temperatures are cooler and flights are cheaper. Several beach towns offer lots more to do than just seeing the ocean. You may also find that accommodations offer discounts or complimentary activities during this time of year.

Similarly, if you’re looking for a mountain getaway, consider visiting in the spring when prices are lower and you can still enjoy the beautiful scenery without having to deal with the cold temperatures.

Take Kids Out Of School

Letting the kids miss a few days of school can be a great way to save money on your family vacation. Many destinations offer discounted rates for families with children, so it pays off to take advantage of these offers.

We plan to take a trip this April and our kids will miss three days of school. I plan to speak with their teachers beforehand and coordinate any missed assignments. You can even plan a few fun activities that will help them keep up with their studies while they’re away. Education can always be taught when traveling and trying new experiences.

Consider Different Types Of Accommodations

Consider Home Exchange Services

If you’re looking for a more affordable way to travel, consider using home exchange services. These services allow families to stay in one another’s homes while they are away on vacation. This is a great option for those who don’t want to spend too much money on lodging and can provide you with the opportunity to explore a new place and make new friends along the way.

Rent An RV

If you’re looking for a great way to explore the country without breaking the bank, consider renting an RV. This is the perfect option for families who want to save money and experience the great outdoors. RVs come in all shapes and sizes, so you can find one that fits your needs and budget. Plus, you can take advantage of campground discounts and other perks that come with renting an RV.

Find The Cheapest Transportation

Budget Airlines

If you’re looking to get around on a budget, consider using budget airlines. These airlines offer great deals on flights and can help you save money on your vacation. Budget Airlines are appealing because they often offer no-frills flights, so you don’t have to pay for extra amenities.

We have traveled with Allegiant a few times, and I honestly prefer them to the major airline carriers. Just make sure to check the airline’s policies and restrictions before booking your flight, as some may have hidden fees or limited baggage allowance.


Joining Skyscanner is a great way to get the cheapest flight deals. This platform provides you with the latest price comparisons and discounts across all major airlines, so you can find the best rate for your trip. You can also sign up for their newsletter and have fare alerts sent directly to your inbox.

Turo Rental Car Service

Traveling with a family can get expensive, so consider using the car rental service Turo. This platform allows you to rent cars from private owners in your area and save money on transportation. You can browse through cars of different sizes and prices, so you’re sure to find one that suits your budget. Plus, all rentals come with insurance coverage and 24/7 support, so you can rest assured that your trip will be stress-free.

family vacation

Save On Food & Drink

Kids Eat Free

Trying to feed a family on vacation can be expensive, so make sure to look for Kids Eat Free offers. Many restaurants offer free meals for children when a full-priced adult meal is purchased. This can help you save money and get a delicious meal that everyone in the family will enjoy.

Bring All The Snacks

If you’re looking to save money on food while traveling, consider bringing snacks from home. This will help you avoid having to buy expensive snacks on the go and can also help keep your family energized during long drives or hikes. Plus – you already know what you’re kids like. You won’t need to deal with the stress of trying to find snacks that your kids want.

Take Advantage Of Happy Hour

Happy hour deals are often offered at restaurants and bars in the evenings and can help you save on drinks and food. They usually have specific times or certain days of the week that they run these specials, so make sure to check ahead of time.

Make The Most Of Meal Prep

To save on food costs, consider doing a little meal prep before your trip. This will allow you to bring snacks and meals from home that can last for a few days. You can also make use of leftovers from previous meals and combine them with fresh ingredients to create something new. There are lots of good recipes out there to prep ahead of time.

Bring Water Bottles

Buying bottled water can get expensive, so make sure to bring your own reusable water bottles on the trip. This will help you stay hydrated and save money at the same time. Plus, it’s better for the environment! A few of my favorite water bottles are the Simple Modern Tumblers and the Ello Stainless Steel for Kids.

More Tips For Family Travel On A Budget

Pros & Cons Of Using A Travel Agent

Using a travel agent can make planning your trip easier and faster, as they’re familiar with the destination and can help you find the best deals. Plus- they can also provide valuable advice on where to stay and what activities to do. Some are free services offered / Others you save in discounts they find.

However, travel agents may charge additional fees for their services, so it’s important to consider if the cost is worth it. Additionally, if you’re looking for more of a personalized trip, using a travel agent might not be for you.

Find Free Or Discounted Activities

Once you arrive at your destination, look for free or discounted activities that the whole family can enjoy. Many cities offer free walking tours and museums, so make sure to research ahead of time to see what’s available. You can also check websites such as Groupon for deals on various attractions and activities.

My kids are usually very content with activities that are free or at little cost. Even when we aren’t traveling we always have a fun summer with tons of activities that don’t cost anything.

family travel on a budget

In the end, traveling with family on a budget doesn’t have to mean compromising on quality. There are so many options available that can help you stick to your budget and still make sure your family has an amazing vacation.

Planning well in advance and seeking out discounts are key to making the most of your money while still having a fantastic trip. Take advantage of loyalty programs, consider camping-style accommodations, look for package deals, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want when it comes to special offers. Most importantly of all—enjoy yourselves! After all, that’s the whole point!

Whether you decide upon road trips, large destination events or simply exploring your own backyard, this is an opportunity for your family to relax and create lasting memories together.

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