1. Parenting

Take Cheap Family Vacations

8 Ways to Get Travel Deals and Stick to a Budget

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Photo credit: Rebecca Emery/Getty Images

Parents know it's not the cost of a vacation that makes it fun for kids; it's the time spent together. Whether it's a winter break getaway to a budget ski lodge, spring respite to an amusement park or summer trip to a nearby beach, there are many cheap family vacations to take on a limited budget.

However, when families set out to take cheap family vacations, they often find they've far exceeded their budget by the end of the trip. Cheap family vacations can become reality by applying the following planning and budget tips to your travel plans.

Plan Cheap Family Vacations

Search for Travel Deals. From browsing discount vacation websites, to calling your local travel agent to inquire about package deals, search for options that will allow you to take cheap family vacations.

Inquire About Extras. Travel packages often come with extras, which can be anything from an extra night free, to extra tickets to a dinner buffet. Any extra that can reduce the cost of your trip is worth inquiry. Any time you speak to a travel or booking agent, ask how you can take advantage of extra options.

Look for All-Inclusive Packages. Cheap family vacations can sometimes be found at all-inclusive resorts or family-oriented travel destinations. All inclusive usually refers to bundled one-price packages that include meals, hotel accommodations and activities. Because these all-inclusive packages are higher priced than a la carte travel, many resorts will offer discounts to attract vacationers, especially during off-peak travel times.

Travel off-Peak. Take cheap family vacations during off-peak travel times, such as when school is still in session if you have an infant or toddler. For example, take a summer vacation at a nearby beach the week before school ends. At this time, you can get reduced prices on everything from hotel rates to amusement park ticket admission.

Take Advantage of Last Minute Travel. Many resorts and family vacation spots offer last minute travel specials one to two weeks before traveling. Often, this is due to vacant rooms left unbooked. The cost for these rooms are lower, and may be up for price negotiation.

Be Budget Conscious

Book Activities in Advance. You can save money by booking activities, such as off-ship excursions on a cruise, prior to travel. Cut rate activity prices are usually offered as part of package deals through travel or booking agents.

Reserve a Room or Suite with a Kitchen. By cooking one meal each day in your room, you'll save a significant amount of money. Even if you simply ask for a refrigerator in your room, you can make cereal for breakfast every morning, and eliminate the cost of three meals a day.

Pay Cash. It's easy to rack up extra expenses by using your credit card for purchases, such as room service and souvenirs. Instead, pay cash or use traveler's checks purchased in advance of traveling. This way, you won't exceed your allotted budget on vacation.

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