29 Frugal Family Travel Tips for Affordable Adventures

29 Frugal Family Travel Tips for Affordable Adventures
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Introduction to Frugal Family Travel Tips

Welcome to the wonderful world of budget travel! In this guide, I’ll give you frugal family travel tips and show you how to plan and enjoy amazing adventures, even on a tight budget.

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The Allure of Travel and the Importance of a Budget

While the destinations might seem worth every penny, spending too much money on your journey could detract from the overall experience.

By using smart planning and budget-conscious tactics, you can make sure that you take full advantage of all the beauty and culture that travel has to offer without breaking your piggy.

Overview of Frugal Family Travel Tips

Planning travel on a budget doesn’t have to be overwhelming. In this blog post, I’ll go through simple budget travel tips that you can save in each area of your vacation.

From destination selection and travel planning to accommodation savings, dining on a budget, transportation cost cutting, entertainment and activities as well as souvenir shopping, and more! This post will provide you with a comprehensive guide to frugal travel.

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Four different pictures of families on vacation with the title, "29 Frugal Family Vacation Tips.

The Benefits of Frugal Family Travel Tips

In this blog post, I’ll provide some helpful tips on how to plan a luxurious yet inexpensive vacation.

From researching destinations cleverly to making savvy purchases along the way, you’ll learn all about what goes into taking an adventure without breaking your wallet. So get ready—it’s time to start packing!

Choose a Budget-Friendly Destination

The first step in planning a frugal vacation is to carefully select your destination.

1) Choosing Affordable Family Travel Destinations

There are plenty of lower-cost destinations to choose from, so you don’t have to sacrifice fun and adventure for affordability. From national parks and camping trips to beach vacations and city excursions, many options can fit any family’s budget.

A family is camping - frugal family vacation tips.

Consider factors such as transportation costs, accommodations, and activities when choosing your destination. We recently took a vacation to the Oregon shore. Since it was fairly close by, it saved us money on an expensive road trip.

2) Factors to Consider When Selecting a Cost-Effective Location

Every family deserves a vacation, but not every family can afford the luxurious destinations that are advertised in travel magazines. Our vacation to Oregon (From Montana) was fun and affordable because we didn’t have to invest in expensive plane tickets or too much gas money.

Waves crashing on the coast of Oregon in Newport.
We spent hours at the beach just watching the waves in Newport, Oregon this year on our family vacation.

When selecting an economical family destination, consider factors such as the cost of transportation, accommodation options, food expenses, and on-site activities.

Opt for destinations with affordable airfare or driving distance, lodgings with kitchen facilities to prepare your own meals, and destinations with free or low-cost activities.

3) Plan Vacation Times for Off-Season and Midweek

By traveling during the off-peak season, you can not only save a significant amount of money but also avoid the crowds. Many popular family destinations offer considerable discounts for those who choose to visit outside peak seasons.

We chose to vacation in the middle of the week which saved us money because rates are cheaper during that time. Also, don’t plan a vacation on school holidays because the travel industry usually raises rates during these peak times.

Travel Planning on a Budget

Traveling can be expensive, but with careful planning and budgeting, you can make your dream vacation a reality.

4) Setting a Realistic Travel Budget

Planning a family vacation is no easy feat, especially when it comes to setting a budget. It can be tempting to splurge on all the luxurious amenities available, but what’s the point if you come home with a hefty bill and stress about how to pay it off?

Setting a realistic family travel budget will not only save you from financial strain, it will also allow you to enjoy your vacation without constantly checking your bank account. A travel planner can help you to organize your trip.

5) Booking Flights and Accommodations

Booking in advance and during off-peak seasons usually results in cheaper rates. You might also want to consider alternative accommodation options like home rentals or camping, rather than expensive hotels.

A family is coming through the door of a vacation rental house excitedly frugal family travel tips.

You can also sign up for airline and hotel loyalty programs to earn rewards and discounts.

Another of my frugal family travel tips is to compare prices on different booking platforms and take advantage of promotional deals and discounts offered by airlines and hotels.

6) Utilizing Travel Deal Websites and Apps

Utilize travel deal websites and apps to find the best deals and discounts on flights, accommodations, activities, and more. Some popular ones include Expedia, Skyscanner, and Airbnb.

From last-minute deals to personalized vacation packages, utilizing travel deal websites and apps can save you time and money while ensuring you have a fulfilling travel experience. So, if you’re planning your next adventure, don’t forget to check out one of these platforms to find the best travel deals available.

Accommodation Savings

Accommodations can often take up a large portion of your family travel budget.

7) Affordable Lodging

There are many options for affordable lodging, from traditional hotel rooms to vacation rentals and camping sites.

Children are bouncing on a hotel bed while the parent are watching - frugal family travel tips.

Some hotels offer family suites with multiple rooms and kitchenettes, allowing for meal and snack prep to save money on dining out. Vacation rentals, such as apartments or houses, can also provide ample space and often come equipped with kitchens, laundry facilities, and other home amenities.

For those who enjoy the great outdoors, camping can be a fun and affordable option. Make sure to research campsites in the area you’re traveling to and compare prices before booking.

When I was planning our trip to Oregon, I chose a VRBO because it was much cheaper than renting a hotel room. Since there were 7 of us vacationing, the house rental fit our needs much better because it allowed us to prepare some of our meals in the well-stocked kitchen.

8) Booking Thrifty Accommodations

One of the most important frugal family travel tips is to plan ahead, booking your accommodations in advance. You can get a better deal if you book during off-season or midweek when rates are typically lower.

Another helpful tip is to compare prices across multiple platforms to find the best deal. Researching customer reviews can also provide insight into the quality of accommodations.

Additionally, check and see if there are discounts for families for larger groups or package deals. Also, consider booking accommodations with amenities such as kitchens or laundry facilities to save money on dining out and laundry services.

Because I carefully shopped around, I found a house that was within walking distance of the beach and had a hot tub. Getting private use of a hot tub was a very nice feature and was fun for our family.

A trail to the beach in Newport Oregon - frugal family travel tips.
This is a trail to the beach in Newport, Oregon where we stayed on our vacation this year.

9) Staying with Friends or Using Home-Sharing Platforms

Staying with friends can allow for a more personal touch as you get to know your hosts and may even get to explore the city like a local.

On the other hand, using home-sharing platforms, such as VRBO, can provide flexibility, privacy, and options that may not be available if you were staying with someone.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to personal preferences and priorities.

Dining and Eating on a Budget While on Vacation

Another significant expense while on vacation is dining and eating out. However, there are ways to save money.

10) Local Food Markets and Street Vendors

When traveling on a vacation, one of the bigger expenses can be dining and eating out. However, there are plenty of ways to save money on food without sacrificing the quality of the experience. One great option is to explore the local grocery stores and street food vendors.

A family is shopping at a local grocery store on vacation - frugal family vacation tips.

These options tend to be more economical than traditional sit-down restaurants.

11) Cooking in a Vacation Rental

Cooking your own meals is yet another one of my frugal family travel tips. Try and stay in a vacation rental with a kitchen. You’ll have everything you need to whip up some delicious meals for your family.

A mom is cutting food and her children are helping - frugal family travel tips.

Not only will cooking in your vacation rental save you money on dining out, but it can also be a fun and creative way to bond with travel companions, especially if everyone pitches in to make a meal together.

Plus, you can take advantage of local ingredients and flavors that you might not have access to at home, making your vacation even more memorable.

We were able to enjoy a wonderful fish and crab dinner at the VRBO we rented. My husband and older children went deep sea fishing and caught fish and crabs. It was one of the most memorable meals we had on our entire trip.

12) Balancing Restaurant Dining with Cost-Effective Choices

One way to balance restaurant dining with cost-effective choices is to research and make reservations at restaurants that offer special deals or discounts on certain days of the week.

A family is eating at a restaurant - frugal family travel tips.

For example, some restaurants may have a “happy hour” with discounted prices on food and drinks, or they may offer lunch specials at a lower cost than dinner options.

Additionally, opt for smaller and local establishments instead of popular tourist traps which tend to have higher prices.

Transportation Cost Cutting

In addition to food, transportation can also be a major expense when traveling.

13) Finding Cheap Airfare

With a little bit of research, you can find cheap flights.

First, consider traveling during off-peak seasons or midweek when prices tend to be lower. You can also take advantage of discount airlines or flights with layovers.

Checking multiple airlines and booking sites can also help you find the best deal.

A woman is working on a computer and writing something on a notepad - frugal family travel tips.

14) Rental Cars and Public Transportation

Renting a car can be convenient, but it can also add up quickly.

You can save money by looking for discounts or deals, booking in advance, and avoiding rental insurance if it’s already covered by your credit card.

If you’re staying in a city, public transportation may be a cheaper alternative to renting a car. You can also opt for ride-sharing services or even walking or renting bikes to get around.

15) Saving on Gas While Traveling

If you’re going on a road trip, there are ways to save on gas while traveling. One option is to plan your route carefully, avoiding traffic and choosing the shortest path to your destination.

A family is riding in a car - frugal family travel tips.

Another way is to maintain your car with regular tune-ups, tire rotations, and oil changes.

Also, reducing your car’s weight by packing only essential items and avoiding excess luggage can improve gas mileage.

Additionally, consider taking advantage of gas rewards programs offered by credit card companies or fuel providers.

Entertainment and Activities

While it can be tempting to splurge on expensive entertainment and activities while on vacation, there are plenty of reasonable options available.

16) Discovering Free and Low-Cost Attractions

There are many free and low-cost attractions that you can discover at your destination.

You can look for outdoor activities such as hiking trails, parks, and beaches, which can provide hours of entertainment without costing a dime.

17) Preparing an Affordable Itinerary

There are ways to prepare an inexpensive itinerary while still experiencing all the amazing attractions your destination has to offer.

Researching attraction possibilities beforehand can not only help you narrow down your top picks, but it can also help you save money by finding discounts and coupons.

Many attractions offer bundle deals or family packages that can help you stretch your budget even further.

18) Free Walking Tours

Take advantage of a free walking tour offered in many cities. These tours are often led by locals and provide a unique perspective on the city’s history and culture.

Not only do they offer an affordable way to explore your destination, but they also allow you to get some exercise and immerse yourself in the local atmosphere.

Don’t Forget: tip your tour guide at the end of the tour for their time and expertise.

Souvenirs and Shopping

It can be tempting to bring home souvenirs and mementos from your trip, but these items can quickly add up in cost.

19) Finding Unique and Affordable Souvenirs

It’s easy to overspend on souvenirs and shopping while on vacation.

Instead, make a plan ahead of time to prioritize experiences over material goods.

A young girl is looking at shells in a store with her mother - frugal family vacation tips.

20) Setting a Shopping Budget

Another one of the most important frugal family travel tips is to avoid overspending while on vacation by setting a shopping budget for your family.

If each member of the family has an agreed limit of how much they can spend on shopping, souvenirs, and items like snacks, it becomes much easier to avoid going overboard.

This way, you can focus on the fun and excitement of your getaway without worrying about going over your budget.

Travel Safety Tips

When planning a budget family vacation, it’s essential to consider safety.

21) Travel Insurance

Traveling with your family can be an uplifting and unforgettable experience, but unforeseen circumstances can derail your vacation.

You might want to consider whether travel insurance is worth the added expense. Accidents can happen, and medical emergencies or flight cancellations can put a damper on your plans.

A sign showing different flights that are cancelled - frugal family vacation tips.

22) Health Precautions

It’s important to think about health precautions. Research destinations that prioritize cleanliness. Also, check out the comments of hotels, VRBOs and AirBnbs to make sure they’re up to your standards.

Don’t forget to pack any medications or healthcare supplies you might need. Having a small first aid kit in the car is an idea worth investigating.

23) Protecting Your Belongings

You can take measures to protect your belongings while on vacation. One easy way to do this is by investing in a reliable lock for your suitcase. You can also keep your valuables close to you by wearing a money belt or neck wallet.

A lock on a suitcase - frugal family vacation tips.

Furthermore, it’s also a good idea to leave any unnecessary items, such as expensive jewelry, at home to reduce the risk of loss or theft.

Packing Smart

When going on a budget family vacation, packing smart can save you both time and money.

24) Minimalist Packing

Instead of packing everything you own, use a minimalist approach and focus on packing only the essentials.

You’ll save money on extra baggage fees, and you’ll also have less to unpack and organize once you arrive at your destination.

25) Packing Essentials and Versatile Clothing

When it comes to planning an economical vacation, it’s important to pack smart and choose versatile clothing options. By doing so, you can easily create multiple outfits and avoid over-packing.

Start by packing items such as comfortable walking shoes, a lightweight jacket or cardigan, and a versatile pair of jeans or pants. These pieces can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion.

26) Packing Snacks and Lunch

Traveling can be a bit overwhelming, but packing snacks and lunch can help make it more affordable and enjoyable.

A car fully packed with luggage and picknic basket and cooler - frugal family vacation tips.

Taking the time to prepare some easy-to-carry snacks can help stave off hunger pangs and keep you fueled throughout the day. Whether you’re on the road or taking a flight, packing your own meals and snacks will help save money and keep you on track with your budget.

I make a special trip to the grocery store before a trip and pick out lots of snacks for my children. They enjoy all the different fruits, chips, cookies and other treats that they don’t normally get.

Ways to Save Toward Vacation Costs

Another one of my best frugal family travel tips is to start planning and saving as far in advance as possible. According to Forbes, on average, a family of 4 spends $3,600 to go on a vacation! Using the tips in this blog post, you can significantly lower the amount you spend on vacation, spending far less than the average.

27) Sign Up Bonuses

Many credit card companies offer generous rewards when you sign up for their card, such as cashback or points that can be redeemed for travel.

Credit cards - frugal family vacation tips.

By strategically choosing cards with the best bonuses and using them responsibly, you can rack up significant savings towards your next adventure.

28) Discount Cards

Consider purchasing a discount card. By using one of these cards, you’ll be saving money on everything from hotels and restaurants to entertainment and activities. Plus, many can be used across multiple locations and brands, potentially saving you hundreds of dollars.

29) House Sit or Pet Sit

House-sitting and pet-sitting have become increasingly popular ways to save on accommodations while traveling.

Websites such as TrustedHousesitters and Housecarers connect travelers with homeowners in need of someone to watch their home or pets while they’re away. This is a way to get free accommodation in exchange for house-sitting duties.

Conclusion of Frugal Family Travel Tips

Traveling on a budget doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality or fun. With these frugal family travel tips, you can plan a great vacation and you’ll be saving money on your travel costs.

Summarizing the Key Points of Frugal Family Travel Tips

To sum up, traveling with your family on a budget doesn’t have to be an impossible dream. With careful planning and searching for the right deals, and using my frugal family travel tips, cheap travel is achievable and accessible!

Eating out can add up quickly, so think of ways to save in this area – like being open to eating at local markets or getting your food from the local grocery stores.

Look for the cheapest flights and don’t forget about finding economical transportation including ground transportation, public transport, and other alternative options.

Choose activities that are inexpensive or free such as hiking, visiting public parks or attractions, and taking advantage of city-wide cultural events.

Encouragment to Embark on Thrifty Travel Adventures

To conclude, there are many ways to have a grand and memorable adventure without breaking the bank.

Start by making smart decisions regarding your finances by sticking to and tweaking a budget plan for your journey. Keep an open mind when it comes to exploring off-the-beaten paths that you may otherwise not take notice of.

Also, think outside the box with creative solutions like setting up camp wherever possible instead of spending money on accommodation, or asking around for locals’ favorite spots. They can direct you so you don’t pay tourist prices.

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A family standing while the father takes a picture of them all - frugal family travel tips.

Final Thoughts on Frugal Family Travel Tips

You can enjoy a fun, family adventure without spending a fortune. With careful planning and an adventurous mindset, you can find budget-friendly accommodations, meals, transportation, and activities to make your vacation one to remember.

No matter what your circumstances may be, nothing should stop you from experiencing these wonderful joys of life – so don’t hesitate: plan your frugal family excursion today!


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      1. These are some great tips for frugal ways when travelling. I practice the going to places at the low peak times and buying gifts from local stores in the area which are way cheaper.

      2. Great tips! I wish I could travel non-peak times but it’s so hard with the school schedule. Thanks for sharing!

      3. Great tips, thanks for putting this together! I definitely need it when I organise my next family holiday next summer! 🙂

        1. You’re welcome! So glad you found the post helpful toward planning your holiday with your family for next summer, Ayah!

      4. These are all good ideas. We have to be picky about where we go now that we have a sensitive little one. All of these points are spot on and some I’ve never thought of before. AirB&B’s can get expensive for a week or two. Thank you for sharing.

        Nichole xx

      5. We plan our vacations for the off-season whenever possible. There’s still so much to see and do, and the lack of crowds is fantastic.

        1. I absolutely love that there are very little people. We went to Oregon last year and Virginia Beach years ago both in September after school started. We were the only ones on the beach.

          1. I am.a frugal person so part of my enjoyment in travel is how much I was able to save. Cooking and street food are must. Road trips are the most economical.

      6. Your list of frugal family travel tips is packed with awesome ideas! I love how you make budget-friendly adventures sound so fun and doable.

      7. Some really great advice here. I will probably need to refer back here when we are planning our next vacation

      8. We had to learn some of these from experience but now we know. It’s great to keep this in mind and make the family trip affordable and enjoyable without breaking the bank.

      9. Your article on frugal family travel tips is fantastic! I love how you covered every aspect of budget travel, from choosing destinations to saving on accommodations and dining.

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