Plan an Affordable Family Trip

Couple and Samsung-esque phone

Family vacations are the kind of experiences that create lifelong memories for parents and children. Thee forays into the back roads of the American Heartland are also an incredible opportunity to strengthen family bonds and solidify the family unit.

When looked at through the prism of family relations, there’s hardly a downside to the classic American road trip. The only real downside to packing up and hitting the road is that expenses can quickly spiral out of control. This isn’t the 1950’s when gas costs pennies a gallon and a decent hotel room could be had for a few bucks.

According to a recent report in USA Today, the price of the average American family’s summer vacation is a whopping $1,180…per person. If you think that seems a little bit on the high side, you’re not alone. Family vacations don’t have to break the bank, especially if you do a little advance planning.

When your family is ready for that big, summer break, here are a few things you should think about.

Couple and Samsung-esque phone

Advance Planning

The number one factor that influences how much money your family winds up spending on their summer holiday is advance planning. This doesn’t have to be intense, print-piles-demographic-information research, but an accurate idea of how much to budget for meals and activities can prevent heart breaking sticker shock when you arrive at your destination.

Once you start digging around on the Internet you’ll quickly realize that there’s no reason to ever pay full price for a hotel stay. Big discounts on nightly stays can be found for almost any hotel chain by simply Googling the name of the hotel and the words, “coupon codes” or “promotional codes.” You’ll be surprised at the discounted rates you’ll be able to dig up this way.

Saving on Meals

One of the biggest expenses you’ll encounter on any family vacation is the cost of food and beverages. When you’re eating out breakfast, lunch and dinner you’re suddenly on the hook for hundreds of dollars a day.

A great way of avoiding this financial black hole is by staying at hotels that include breakfast with the price of the room. If you’re budgeting $10 per person, per meal, a free breakfast saves a family of four almost $450 on a five-day trip.

Family-Friendly Destinations

Of course the best way to save money is by visiting some of the great vacation spots that aren’t packed with throngs of tourists year round. Just compare the price of Bryce Canyon hotels to Disneyland hotels and you’ll see that off-the-beaten-track is the way to go. Besides, overcrowded, expensive vacation spots can be more headaches than they’re worth.


At the end of the day, vacations are all about getting away from the rigors of daily life. That means that while you don’t want to too much for the good times, you’ll definitely want to budget a little bit for splurges and luxuries. Even if it stretches your budget, most people find that’s the splurges are where the memories are made.


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