Time off is incredibly important; not only does mental health stand to benefit, but studies suggest it also results in increased productivity. Perhaps you’ve worked hard and waited a long time to be able to take a vacation with your family and the opportunity has finally arrived. While the urge to take vacation as soon as possible without weighing family travel options can be tempting, due diligence can be greatly rewarding.
You might be surprised at the amount of money you can save and the degree to which you can customize your experience. Between plane tickets, hotels, and restaurants, the choices can be overwhelming. The upside of this, however, is that the market competition between these companies means there are great deals to be had.
Below are some ideas to keep in mind when planning your vacation.
Use the Internet to Your Advantage
When hunting for the right plane tickets, finding the cheapest choices can seem like an insurmountable task. Services like Kayak, however, can make the search dramatically simpler. Whether you are traveling within the country or internationally, this service makes it easier to find the ticket that fits best with your wallet.
Some people swear that airline tickets get more expensive the more times you search for them online. While the matter is debatable and hard to verify, anyone who has used a computer for the last decade knows that online marketing tactics have gotten progressively more dubious. There’s no harm in playing it safe and clearing your web browser’s history and cookies just in case while seeking the best deals for family travel.
Not All Resorts Are Created Equally
Some couples resorts mainly cater to adults, while others are bonafide kid-friendly destinations. Opting for a family-friendly resort is one of the best ideas to be found on the market. Everything is all-inclusive, which takes the hassle out of unpredictable pricing, while everything you will need for your stay is located conveniently on the premises.
Other resorts often lure you in with a tempting price for room and board but then nickel-and-dime you for all the things they know you will need. The last thing you want is to end what you expected to be an affordable stay with the family with an empty bank account.
Consider A Different Season
Everyone travels in the summer, which translates to increased demand and proportionally jacked up prices. Apply the lessons you learned from visiting a movie matinee to your travel schedule and take advantage of discounted rates in the fall. The off-peak advantage applies differently to different locales, however.
If you are going somewhere in Northern Europe, bargain deals can be found in the fall and winter seasons. However, going south of the border can mean big savings in the late spring or summer months. This can be a great opportunity to catch up on all the sunshine you’ve missed throughout the chillier part of the year.
Flying With Infants
There was once a time when airlines frequently offered discounted rates for all children. While those days are long gone, many airlines will still allow you to carry a child younger than two years of age at no charge, or offer you a lower rate. Don’t assume that a baby means you have to be anchored in one place indefinitely.
While some parents may feel uneasy about tending to a baby on a plane, it beats having to keep them content for the many more hours that a road trip would entail. In case flying as a form of family travel has you uneasy, flying is still the fastest and safest form of family travel. According to the National Safety Council, chances of a crash are dramatically lower in the case of flying versus traveling via car.
Look Into Camping
Going for a hike with your loved ones and setting up shop in the wilderness is a great option for a number of reasons. It helps the family get in touch with nature, cultivates survival skills and a sense of hardiness, and can be done relatively cheaply. Once you invest in the equipment required, you can also use it for the rest of your life.
This is an option you can also feel good about from a physical health perspective. It generally entails plenty of exercise, fresh air, and sunshine. Camping as a form of family travel offers the opportunity to disconnect from the various distractions and busyness of the day-to-day. Many campers find they also get great sleep due to both the inherent physical exertion and decrease in exposure to melatonin-disrupting screens.
Learn From The Locals
Travelers often find that the best-kept secrets of a foreign location can be revealed by the local inhabitants; after all, they do live there. Traveling with a group of tourists has its perks and may offer a sense of security, but getting a taste for the native culture by going off the beaten path has tremendous potential to enrich the experience.
In much the same way that a familiar fast-food chain might bring you comfort in a place you know so little about, taking a chance with a local restaurant or store gives you a chance to expand your mind and pallet. This generally means that adventurous travelers are rewarded with better quality as well. Who knows – your cavalier attitude might culminate in a new favorite food or restaurant.