This is a sponsored post in partnership with Homewood Suites. All opinions are my own.
So you've decided that you and your family are going to take the plunge and experience a family vacation this year. Maybe this is even the first year that you have taken your kids with you on family trip. Trust me, this upcoming trek can produce some lifelong memories for everyone. However, one of the first things that probably comes to mind, when you are planning, is the budget. Don't worry if you don't have the bank account of a Kardashian, that doesn't have to stop you from enjoying your vacation. Just follow my tips below to save money and also one lucky Lunchbox Dad reader will win a free vacation from Homewood Suites!
1. Do your homework early.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you can never start looking for deals too early. Even if you don't pull the trigger on purchasing tickets, you can always make notes to come back to when you are ready to buy. In fact, I recommend building your vacation budget before doing anything else. So then when the deals do appear, you can buy them immediately because they usually don't last long.
2. Read websites that focus on family travel.
Family travel blogs and websites are your new best friend. You're off to a good start by reading this blog post right now. Websites, such as Men Can Plan Travel, curate some of the best trip planning and money saving tips around. The fantastic thing about bloggers is that they are on the front lines and constantly scouring the internet for the best money saving deals and hacks, no matter where you are going.
3. Decide what attractions are best for your family.
Not all attractions are a fit for your family. Some might be great for toddlers, while others will work best for teenagers. It is absolutely essential for you to know which is which before you go. Some helpful sites to visit are Deal News and Trip Advisor. Users can not only get tips of what attractions to see in a specific location, but also how much money that you can plan on spending. Sites like these also offer ticket packages and city passes, to bundle your attractions together, and save you money that can go towards other parts of your trip.
4. Don't forget to check the websites of the attractions themselves.
For some destinations and attractions, some of the best deals you will find will be found on the attractions own websites. For example, when my family visited Atlanta recently, we found out that the World of Coca-Cola was offering free admission on one of the days we would be near there. We were able to arrive early and spend the morning touring the museum for free! Just checking their website saved us almost $60.
5. Sign up for airline email updates and free frequent flyer plans.
You might cringe at the idea of signing up for another email list, but when you are looking to save money, airline deals go lightning fast. One of the easiest ways to be the first to know about them is to get their emails. Sometimes this is also the only way to to find discounts on flights. Also, many airlines also offer free frequent flyer plans. Sign up your entire family for each of these plans. When you do this, you can quickly accumulate mileage that will give you free flights later on. Who knows, you might take a few unforeseen trips ahead of your scheduled vacation and these miles can knock a significant amount off the price of airline tickets for your vacation.
6. Create a folder in your browser with all of your favorite travel and deal sites bookmarked.
If you don't keep yourself organized, you can waste time and create mounds of frustration. What happened to that one really good blog post about family-friendly places to eat in San Francisco, or the deal website that gave you 20% off of that amusement park in Dallas? Create a folder in the bookmarks of your internet browser that contains all of your favorite sites. You can continue adding to it as your family vacation comes closer. Keep everything there until after your trip, you never know what you will need to refer to when you are in the middle of traveling with your family.
7. Win my free vacation giveaway courtesy of Homewood Suites!
You will be hard pressed to find a better deal on a family vacation than getting it for free. I have had the chance to stay at Homewood Suites with my family and we have been impressed with the number of locations they have, as well as how clean and family-friendly the hotels were. That is why I am so excited to give away one family vacation to a lucky Lunchbox Dad reader (must live in the United States only). You can win a $1500 Amex gift card to use towards your trip as well as a two night stay at any Homewood Suites/Home2 Suites location! Just enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Win a $1500 Amex Gift Card and 2 Night Stay at any Homewood Suites or Home2 Suites! #TravelMANager #DadTime