If you’re like most people, one of your primary goals is to enjoy more vacation time and travel. Time away hopefully includes some time for you to relax and recharge your batteries, as well as encouraging your kids to explore the world and expand their horizons.
We firmly believe that your wealth should be enjoyed, including the opportunities it provides to your and your family. Travel can be a big ticket item, especially with a growing family. Here are our top tips to help you maximize your enjoyment, without maxing out your credit cards.
Know When Your Kids Must Pay Adult Prices
Visiting some locations can become dramatically more expensive as your kids mature. Disney parks are a great example, where kids ages 3-9 pay kid prices, but kids 10+ pay the same prices as adults.
Make Your Big Trips Special
Consider taking a year in between larger trips so you can afford more luxurious travel on major vacations. For example, consider cheaper domestic travel for one year, followed by a bigger trip the following year. If you’re trying to create lasting travel memories, save significant trips until your kids are over 10 years old.
Create a Travel Fund
Save in advance and include flexibility for splurges. This avoids having to say ‘No’ to your kids all the time, so you can all enjoy your time away and be financially stress-free when you return.
Travel During Off-Season
Peak travel season means peak prices. While school time may limit your options, sometimes just a week’s difference in timing can dramatically reduce travel costs. Apps like Hopper and Ship Mate can help pinpoint the cheapest booking dates, times, and more.
Know the Best Times to Book Online
Similarly, timing can be everything when booking online. Tuesdays and Wednesdays are often the best days to capture lower prices. Remember to clear your internet browsing history to get the best deals.
Look for Last Minute Deals
During the summer months, you may have enough flexibility that you can take advantage of last-minute deals on sites like Kayak and Expedia.
Use Your Miles and Travel Points Wisely
Use the airline miles and other travel points you’ve earned wisely to gain the most value. For example, using your air miles for a class upgrade on a long-haul flight to Asia typically makes more sense than using them on a shorter domestic flight.
Extend Your Travel
Travel can be fun, but it can also be exhausting, especially for young kids. Make sure your getaway includes enough enjoyment to justify the time it takes to plan, pack, travel, and catch up. If you’re traveling by air, a longer vacation can help absorb flying costs, overcome jetlag, and provide more time to explore without everyone feeling rushed.
Consider Other Travel Options
International carriers may be cheaper than US airlines if you’re traveling overseas. In places like Europe, budget airlines and train passes are often economical options for traveling between destinations. Be sure to confirm policy, safety guidelines and seating arrangements for your child.
Hedge Your Currency Bets
Fluctuations in exchange rates can significantly impact the cost of your international travel, particularly in today’s volatile economic environment. You may be able to take advantage of favorable currency rates by paying for some things in advance.
Forego the Car Rental
If you’re traveling to one central location, particularly if it’s a walkable setting, you might be able to forego a car rental, opting to take a shuttle, taxi, Uber or other transport when needed instead of hiring a family size vehicle.
Research Destinations in Advance
Take the time to investigate beforehand so that you can enjoy every minute when you get there. Sites like TripAdvisor and apps like City Papers and CityMaps2Go offer reviews of hotels and restaurants, plus listings of family-friendly events, festivals and more.
Explore Beyond Tourist Areas
Discover areas beyond popular tourist destinations, if safe to do so. Outlying areas are often less expensive, just as enjoyable, and may give you a better sense of the region.
Stay With Family and Friends
Visiting family and friends can offer an inexpensive getaway option that allows you to reconnect and spend time with those you love, and may include bonus babysitting for an evening out or mini adult getaway!
Discover Simple Weekend Getaways
Sometimes you don’t need a lengthy or exotic vacation to recharge. Enjoying a local getaway can be easier, especially with small children, and avoids costly airfares.
Enjoy Nature’s Wonders
Some of the most breathtaking sights and magnificent adventures can be found at our nation’s regional and national parks, many of which are low-cost or free.
Economize on Large Family Vacations
If you’re planning a large family vacation, renting a house instead of hotel rooms can be more relaxed, and allows you to economize on food by cooking instead of eating out.
Consider Socially Responsible, Charitable & Volunteer Travel
A volunteer trip might provide just as much enjoyment as a traditional vacation, with the added bonus that your travel could be tax deductible if it’s related to a charitable organization. It’s also a great way to instill family values.
Take a Sabbatical
If you’re a seasoned employee, find out if you’re eligible for a sabbatical. Combining an extended vacation with some meaningful time at home with family provides relaxation for your body and soul, and helps reduce travel costs too.
Traveling as a family is a wonderful bonding experience that creates long-lasting memories and exposes your kids to new experiences, cultures, cuisine, and more. Working with a financial advisor to develop a comprehensive financial plan can ensure that you plan wisely for your future, while enjoying what matters to you and your family along the way. Please contact SageVest for more information.