Traveling

7 Smart Ways to Make Family Travel Affordable


As Smart Mamas, you are looking for ways to make family travel affordable. You want to provide your children the opportunities to explore the world, see different cultures, and have fun. I get it. However, your bank account doesn’t.

Using clever ways, family travel can be more affordable. Some ways work better than others.

7 Ways to Make Family Travel Affordable

Here are some ways to keep your family on budget as you plan your travels:

Be a Mile Master & User

There are ways to earn airline and hotel miles without even setting foot on a plane or hotel room. Keep your eye out of mailers offering a lot of miles. Read the fine print and see if it is worth it. For many of the mile-earning credit cards, you will need to spend a certain amount, often $3000, within a few short months in order to receive their “gift.” Make sure that is within your budget. See my tips on selecting the best credit card for travel.

Most recently, we acquired the AA Advantage card after a great incentive that we were given in-flight on our way home from Boston. We used the card for the specification to receive the “free” miles and then we put it away. We earned enough miles for a trip we want to take next year.

Be Creative with When and Where

When searching for flights, try not to restrict your airports. If you are looking to go to NYC, look at all the available airports. Newark, LaGuardia and JFK are the closest. Is it cheaper to fly into one airport over another? Additionally, consider where you’ll be staying when select the airport. For NYC, certain airports are easier (quicker and cheaper) to access certain parts of the city. When we went to the Benjamin in Midtown Manhattan we flew into JFK.

Pay Attention to Public Transportation

When searching online for a hotel, consider the location. Often the hotel more off the beaten path will be more affordable but will require you to rent a car – another expense – or may or may not have access to adequate public transportation. Uber and Lyft are now considered reliable modes of transportation but those bills can add up quickly.

Receive Alerts

Enroll in price alerts to keep you in the know when your flights drop. This can save you loads of money and save you loads of time. It’s like hiring an assistant to help you with your plans. He/She is in charge with letting you know when the price reaches an affordable price, as you determine. As busy smart mamas, do we really have the time to search travel websites every day. No. Price alerts do it for us.

Here is the price alert option on TripAdvisor. We used this to book flights and save money.

Any Day Travel

Sunday is often the most expensive day to travel, while Tuesday is sometimes more economical. Try to have flexibility in your travel plans to adjust based on more affordable travel days. Many travel sites have calendar rates available, making it easier to compare the price from flying one day to another.

Google helps with affordable flight searches.

On Google (see image above), simply search the travel itinerary. For example, I searched Miami to Washington DC. Then click the date selector and a monthly calendar drops down. You can now see the different price options. I use this for my initial research for family trip.

Well, Hello Family!

Not only will you save on hotel charges, but you will likely get a locales tour of the area. During a trip to New England and New York last year, we enjoyed warm beads, home-cooked meals and fun time with family without having to add to our travel budget for accommodations. It was a win-win. 

VRBO/AirBNB 

Our VRBO in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.

Bring home with you by staying in a rental home. One of the biggest expenses in a vacation is the food. When we visited Ponte Vedra Beach with friends a few summers ago, we rented a 3-bedroom home just a short walk from the beach. The kitchen and grill out back allowed us to save loads of money by cooking up meals at a majorly reduced price. Another added benefit is the ease of feeding kids at a kitchen table versus a restaurant.

Make Affordable Luxury

Our best example of this is sailing Carnival Cruise Lines. For good or for bad, Carnival has developed the reputation as being the affordable cruise line. That does come with the expectation of a “cheaper” quality. In our experience of sailing over 7 times on her ships, the cruise line is what you make of it. We make each sailing give us the feel of a moderate to luxury vacation. Our most important tip is to sail a newer ship. Horizon is Carnival’s latest ship with the Panorama set to set sail in late 2019. See our tips on maximizing a Carnival sailing. Save your family HUNDREDS of dollars on a cruise.

Does this look “affordable?” We enjoyed this incredible meal at the steakhouse aboard the Carnival Vista.

Ways to Make Family Travel Affordable Continues

Help other Smart Mamas by sharing other ways to make family travel affordable. Share a comment below with your recommended manner of saving money.

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