Traveling with Tots? 4 Ways to Save When Vacationing with Children
Once your family increases in size, you may feel like you may not be able to afford the holiday trips you used to. However, you can still manage your holiday trips abroad without taking too much of a hit to your usual travel budget. Usually, children get discounts on attractions and flights, and can generally be impressed for less. Below, we discuss a few financial hacks that you can take advantage of regardless of your child's age.
Don't Be Afraid to Fly With Your Infant
Travelling while your child is still an infant can be one of the most financially feasible times to travel due to heavily reduced airfare. Not only is it safe to fly with a child older than 3-6 months, but until they turn 2, you may be able to fly with them for free if you seat them on your lap. If it is not possible to fly with the toddler for free, then the airline may charge you an infant seat fee that is typically a fraction of the adult fare (ranging between 10-33% of your ticket). If you have enough points on your air miles credit card, you may end up paying nothing for your infant's ticket. You can also sign them up for frequent flyer accounts (or add them to a family pool) to give them a headstart on accumulating miles that can later be redeemed for a flight once they become old enough to have to pay for a full-priced ticket.
Kids Discounts Can Be Found Almost Everywhere
You can find child discounts almost anywhere, whether it's for amusements parks, museums, hotel rooms or even airfare. Even if your kid is too old to qualify for free or infant-seat pricing, you can still score discounted airline tickets. Some top airlines offer between a 50-75% discount for kids between 2 and 11 years of age if you call them directly and ask. Furthermore, your hotel may also provide discounts for stay or breakfast for your kids. Accor Hotels, which has over 4,840 hotels around the world, is offering 50% discounts for kid stays at select hotels.
At your destination, you should look into museums and attractions that offer free or discounted tickets for young children or students. For instance, the Hong Kong Space Museum charges kids half price for tickets (HK$5), the Museum of Illusions in Kuala Lumpur offers a 30% discount for kids and the National Museum of Nature and Science in Tokyo is free for students in high school and younger. You can also look into booking your attraction tickets online as places may offer discounts for advance purchase tickets.
Stay at Airbnb's Rather Than Hotels
Booking a vacation rental rather than a hotel can not only be more comfortable when you are travelling with young children, but it will also save you a considerable amount of money. First, booking an Airbnb gives you access to a kitchen, meaning you will be able to prepare meals at home rather than eating out for every meal. It can also be more convenient for smaller kids who have a restricted diet or are picky eaters as you can bring and store your own snacks and drinks. In general, we found Airbnbs to cost between 24-52% less than 5-star hotels (with the exception of Bali), but you may find an even better deal depending on the availability of apartments and the season.
Travel in the Off or Shoulder Seasons
Travelling during peak seasons will often result in higher than average prices for both airfare and accommodations. Since you are now travelling with an extra person(s), this pricing increase may no longer be feasible. Instead, you should consider travelling during your preferred destinations' off or shoulder season. If you have a set time window for when you can travel, you can consider researching which destinations have their off-season during your availability period. You can save between 20-35% on your accommodations if you choose to travel during the off-season.
Other Ways of Saving Money When Travelling
Travelling with kids can be overwhelming and stressful, especially when they are still young and need a lot of attention. However, there are many things we didn't mention here that can reduce both financial and general stress during your family travels. For instance, protecting yourself with a good family oriented travel insurance plan can reduce the financial pain if your flight gets cancelled or delayed or if you lose your luggage. You can also consider packing just the bare minimum to reduce the amount you spend on baggage check fees. Similarly, you can make a "no-souvenir" rule to reduce expenses on knick knacks that may end up forgotten or lost in a few years. Most importantly, it is important to do as much research as you can to ensure you will get the best deal before any trip—whether you're travelling with a whole family or alone.