When you have kids, you want to show them the world. But you already know how expensive it is to get away. Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce costs so that you can enjoy a much-deserved vacation with your family. From steering clear of air travel to knowing what to cook in a vacation rental, the following tips (brought to you courtesy of Precious Petcare) can help you make the most of your travel dollars.

Skip the flight.

Flying is convenient; there is no doubt about that. However, it can get pricey fast, especially if you’re planning to travel during the peak season. Plus, when you have young children in tow, changing elevations can cause everything from anxiety to earaches. Instead of wasting hours at the airport, plan to drive. If you’re going more than just a few hours away from home, you can save wear and tear on your vehicle by renting a car. Enterprise Rent a Car is a great budget option since they have locations across the country, and you can usually find ways to save even more by poking around on the internet for coupons and deals before you book.

Stay in a vacation home.

There are perks to hotels, and housekeeping is one of them. But, fresh towels and a made bed aside, a vacation rental is a much better option for trips lasting longer than a single night. Not only is renting a vacation home or condo usually less expensive per room, there’s also more space to spread out. More importantly, you can save money while pleasing picky palates because you have a kitchen to cook your own meals. Martha Stewart offers many vacation house recipes, including spaghetti carbonara and tuna macaroni salad that you can make even if cooking utensils are scarce.

Let the kids bring their own entertainment.

It’s true that part of the appeal of travel is that you get to experience things that you would normally not at home. However, children are creatures of habit, and it’s almost always best to let them bring a few familiar things along to keep them entertained, especially if you’re driving. Otherwise, you may wind up stopping at Walmart at every exit to buy them something to do in the car. If you are heading to an event that might not completely appeal to the kids, let them bring a small backpack with things to keep them busy. This is a much less nerve-wrecking (and cheaper) option than running to the gift shop constantly.

If you decide to let your children bring a smartphone (or use your smartphone) during the trip, take a moment to safeguard this device from potential accidents. Consider picking up a case to protect it from drops and a screen protector to help safeguard against scratches.

Look ahead for deals on local attractions.

One of the easiest ways to save money on vacation is to do your research before you go so that you know where the best deals are. If you are traveling to a place like Mexico during the week or in the off-season, you may be able to find buy-one-get-one-free admission to museums, amusement parks, and other area attractions. Many local schools also have fundraisers, selling coupon books for the closest metro area, so check with a few elementary or middle school PTOs in or around the city that you would like to visit. Similarly, keep in mind that you don’t have to visit the tourist traps to enjoy your destination. Use a website to help you plan out your trip or check Facebook Events before you travel to find out the best-kept secrets that will give you a truly authentic experience.

Make Plans for a Cash Emergency

Although everyone wants to have a great time during their vacations, sometimes things can go awry. Luggage gets lost, reservations disappear, rental cars break down — you have to prepare ahead of time for the worst-case scenario. One way to prepare ahead of time is to set up an account through a service such as Remitly, which allows friends and family to send you money in the event of an emergency. Did you lose your wallet in Mexico? Use Remitly to receive money to your bank account or at one of the many cash pick-up locations across the country.

Traveling is one of the most important things you can do as a family. And although you can’t get away from whipping out your wallet, you don’t have to overextend your budget to enjoy a few nights away. From skipping the airport to looking for the best local attractions, the above tips can help you enjoy your time together without worrying about how you’ll pay the mortgage when vacation comes to a close.

Precious Petcare can help keep an eye on your pets while you’re away. We offer services such as cat visiting, dog walking, doggie daycare, boarding, and overnight care. Call (858) 433-5063.

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