By: Susan Finch
If the rising cost of a family vacation feels out of reach, you’re not alone. According to American Express the average cost of a vacation runs $4,580 for a family of four. But before you shelf the idea of a vacation, there are ways you can budget and trim down your costs without compromising on fun. Here’s how to get started.
Creating a Vacation Budget
It may sound counterintuitive to start a budget with room for indulgences, but a family vacation needs some flexibility to succeed. Make a list of what your family wants to do that requires the biggest financial commitment. A day at the zoo, theme park or just a fabulous beachfront property with a pool are all on the table for discussion. Once you can identify which expenses hold the biggest importance for your family vacation, you can plan accordingly.
Find Free Fun Activities
There are plenty of free things to do on a family vacation, especially in Southern Florida from beaches to festivals. For example, Naples City Pier, the Marco Island Historical Museum, and Lowdermilk Park and beach are all free. In Sarasota, hunting for prehistoric sharks teeth on Venice area beaches makes for a one-of-a-kind souvenir, and on Mondays admission is free at the Ringling Museum of Art. Remember the point of a family vacation is togetherness, and activities like hiking, taking a sightseeing stroll or finding a seasonal festival are usually free and offers plenty of opportunity for bonding.
Look For Off-Season Deals
If you can’t make your dream vacation work on your budget, all hope isn’t lost. Look for off-season deals in the area from airfare, to hotels, to attraction tickets. Mid-week travel and accommodations are usually cheaper than hitting a popular tourist destination during a busy weekend. And if your kids can stomach a long car ride, turn it into an adventure and make a few stops along the way to transform your family vacation and skip the expensive airfare.
Strategize Meal Time
Eating out with your family multiple times a day can start to chip away at your family vacation budget. Instead of opening your wallet during every meal, choose healthy hotel-friendly foods like breakfast bars and fruit that you can eat throughout the day. Or better yet, choose a hotel with a free breakfast buffet and fill up before heading out for the day. Next, strategize your one meal out during lunch when prices are typically cheaper, and split entrees or appetizers with the family to reduce your overall bill.
Get The Kids Involved
Kids often surprise parents when it comes to rising to financial challenges. Get them involved with the family vacation budget and get them brainstorming. Ask for ideas on how to reduce expenses while still having an amazing time on vacation. They may come up with ideas you’ve never thought of and transform your family vacation into a new adventure.
Start planning your Southwest Florida vacation by exploring all there is to do in Sarasota, Fort Myers, Naples, and Marco Island. Must Do Visitor Guides travel tips and things to do.