Has the travel bug bitten you yet? If you haven’t been on a vacation in a while, now might be the time to start planning. I find that a lot of people use their kids as an excuse for not going on a real trip. Sure, you could travel locally and still have a great time, and save money, but many times it costs just as much to do that as it does to go far from home. Many kids love to travel and get a lot out of the experience, including patience and social skills. If you need to find a way to make a vacation fit into your budget, I’ve included some helpful money-saving options.
Kids eat free. Most hotels offer free stays for kids under a certain age. What’s harder to come by are ones that offer free kids meal programs. Since dining can be a huge chunk of your budget, this can save you significantly. Even if you find a hotel that just offers free breakfast, that is a good savings.
All-inclusive resorts. Many times you can find all-inclusive package deals at resorts that offer kids stay and eat free rates. If you would pay the same or less for the total trip if you paid for hotel, air and food separately, then you’ve found yourself a great deal, because family-friendly resorts not only include food and most entertainment, they also have kids’ clubs where your children can interact with other guests’ kids and you can have a bit of grown-up time.
Shop the farmer’s market. If you can find an open farmer’s market where you are traveling, you can spend some time finding new and unusual foods, interacting with locals and then you can buy a nice selection of foods for lunch and find a spot in a local green space to enjoy your new fare and the fresh air. If a farmer’s market isn’t available, it’s likely you can seek out street carts with local cuisine. You’ll save money by not paying sit-down meal prices and tipping isn’t required.
Europe in the Fall. I don’t think I know anyone who doesn’t want to go to Europe and, despite what you may think, most European destinations are really kid-friendly. There are so many things to do and see that even the most fidgety child will be entertained. As long as you make time for resting and you aren’t go-go-go the whole time, you will all get a lot out of a trip there. Fall is by far the least expensive time to travel to Europe and is less crowded, meaning you can get to a lot more things in less time. This is awesome, because attractions and shops keep shorter hours, but that also means you can’t run your kids off their feet if your day isn’t as long and you’re forced to sleep or rest more than you would normally.
Visit developing countries. I think this is one of the best tips for everyone, not just those with families, because developing countries have lower economies and come with super affordable price tags for your entire vacation. You don’t have to cut costs if you don’t want to, because accommodations, dining and entertainment are all so much cheaper than at home. You’re also helping a country that depends on tourism to survive and finding an entirely new vacation experience. Countries like Ecuador, Belize and Peru are great examples, and if you want to go further, India or Morocco can be budget-friendly destinations, too. These trips can be a total immersion for you and your family. This is a nice option if you have kids who like to try new things and meet people.
Kids are resilient and adaptable. They love new experiences and you can teach your kids tolerance and new languages by traveling to foreign countries with them. Sure, taking more things might be somewhat inconvenient, but having a piece of home will allow them to be more comfortable in their surroundings and love travel more. Discovering the world with your family doesn’t have to mean discovering more debt. Your little travelers can also fit into your small budget.
The post originally appeared on Totally Temberton.