How I Save Big Money on Plane Tickets for the Family
Tho cost of flights for a family can be extremely expensive. I have found some great ways to save a lot of money when booking plane tickets. I start my research early for flight prices. I play around with the dates in the online booking tools to try to see how low the flight prices can go. I sign up for the airline’s email distribution list so that I know when the airlines are having a seat sale.
I look at the total price of the flights including tax when comparing costs. Most airlines offer a 25% discount off the base ticket price for children. Due to the fact that the taxes and surcharges may vary depending on the airline and flight path, I might get a better deal on a higher priced ticket that has lower taxes when I factor in the child discount.
Travelzoo is an excellent source for finding the best travel deals. Every week they email me a list of discounted flights, hotels and tours. I have gotten excellent information on cheap flights from Travelzoo such as tickets from Toronto to Lima, Peru for less than $400 including taxes. Travelzoo has different versions depending on where you reside.
I check out the cost of flying out of nearby cities. I live in Ottawa but its a four hour drive to Toronto. The cost of flying out of Toronto can be significantly less than flying out of Ottawa. I can save hundreds of dollars even when I factor in the cost of gas, parking and an overnight hotel.
Plane Ticket Savings
Regular price of ticket Toronto to Lima $896.00 including tax. My price was $396.00 taxes in for each person.
How I Save BIG Money on Accommodations
The cost of accommodations can be quite pricey for a family if you are looking at staying in a typical hotel room. I look for hostels to save money when I travel with my kids. A lot of hostels offer family rooms with ensuite bathrooms at prices significantly less than a hotel. Another option is a serviced apartment where you have access to a kitchen to cook in and lots of space to spread out in. This is usually much cheaper than paying for 2 hotel rooms. I also look for cheap accommodations that are centrally located so that I also save on local transportation.
Cost of the Beijing Swissotel for a family of 4 was $220.00 per night. Cost of the hostel I stayed in was $37.00 for a family room!
How I Save on Local Transportation
When traveling with my kids the cost of local transportation can really add up. I take public transportation whenever possible. If there is a subway at my destination then I use this to move around. My kids also have fun trying to navigate the subway. I try to always book a centrally located hotel close to public transport and close to markets, stores and restaurants.
Local Transportation Savings
The cost of a taxi from my Shanghai hotel to the Science and Technology Museum was $12.00 each way. Cost of the subway for my family of four was $2 each way.
How I Save Loads of Money on Tours and Attractions
I always look for free or low cost attractions for my kids and I to enjoy. We always head to a local park for a few hours. The kids have fun exploring the different playgrounds and usually end up making some new friends too. I always search for free activities, museums or festivals. Organized local tours can also drive up the cost of your family trip. On a recent family vacation to Negril Jamaica I wanted to visit YS Falls for the day. I managed to save quite a bit by hiring a driver for the day and paying our own entrance fee. It was also great to have the flexibility of having a driver as I was able to leave when the kids were tired and we were able to stop for a delicious jerk chicken meal along the way.
Savings on Tours
The cost of an organized tour for a family of 4: $270.00
The price of a taxi driver and entrance for 2 adults, 2 children $145.00
How I Save Money on Dining
The cost of eating on your vacation can take a big bite out of the family travel budget. There are lots of ways to save money on dining on your trips. For breakfast I head to a local grocery store and stock up on fruits, baked goods and cereal (I pack a couple dollar store bowls and spoons). I try to book hotel rooms with a mini fridge and stock up on drinks and snacks as well. I also try to eat where the locals eat. The food is usually cheaper and much tastier than at the inflated tourist restaurants.