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Spring and summer are popular times to travel and following the steep decline of vacations during the pandemic, families are rearing to get out there. To give some sense of just how antsy travelers are, 68 percent of those polled in an American Express survey said they’d give up family gift exchanges in favor of going on a trip. Vacation rental company Vrbo conducted their own survey and found some new trends in how families will travel. Forty-three percent of parents surveyed said they’re willing to let kids skip school in 2022 in order to go on a vacation. America has made its stance clear: it’s ready to hit the road (or the skies or seas) this travel season.
Travel has never been cheap, but it experienced a nice price drop for a while during the height of the pandemic. Unfortunately, those days are about over. Travel Weekly reports that hotel prices are up an average of 18 percent and flight prices are up 32 percent. That leaves many wondering: how do I scratch this itch to travel without going broke? We’ve got you covered with tools and tips to help you explore and adventure throughout travel season, on a budget.
While amusement parks are marketed as being family-friendly, they’re anything but budget-friendly. Business Insider created a useful cost breakdown for attending major theme parks and found that going to Disneyland will cost over $200 between parking, the ticket itself, accommodations and more. But if your kids have been begging to go on roller coasters, you need to know about Undercover Tourist. This site is all about saving you money on amusement parks and reducing some of the misery associated with them. Along with listing daily deals for discounted tickets and coupons for other products like rental cars or hotels, it also has a useful crowd calendar that shows when crowds are the busiest at major theme parks. The site also lists tips for first-time goers to major parks.
With national gas price averages hovering at around $3.50 a gallon and reaching over $5.00 in some areas, according to AAA, road trips aren’t the affordable form of travel they once were. Gas Buddy is a very useful app for families packing into the car to see the country this summer. The app determines your location and regularly updates you with a list of nearby gas stations, along with their prices and useful filters like which ones take cash or credit and what sort of gas is offered.
If your family wants to get on the open seas this summer, Cruise Sheet is a must-use website. This niche site has everything you need to know about ocean travel. It is easily organized and regularly updated to help you find cruises of all kinds, ranging from Caribbean to Alaskan, family-friendly to singles-friendly and beyond. If you enter your nearest port and sign up for their newsletter, Cruise Sheet will send you weekly deals for trips leaving in your area.
Family Vacation Critic
While there are many travel blogs, this one is designed specifically to help families enjoy a (nearly) seamless trip. It’s full of ideas and tips for family travel and lets you search for destinations based on filters like “special needs” “budget-friendly” and “age-specific.” The site hunts for and publishes deals on the regular that will appeal to families, like all-inclusive resorts and fun activities, and offers helpful advice on traveling with children.
You’ve likely heard of Eventbrite but you might not have explored all of its features that help you save money and find the perfect activities for your family. You can search for kid-friendly events, free events, music shows, comedy shows, charity events, food festivals and beyond. It also has a travel and outdoor filter showing great activities to enjoy in the spring and summer like discount days at botanical gardens and park concert series.
If you need a little help creating a travel and entertainment budget, there are many apps that can help you figure out exactly what you’re spending, and find you more ways to save. We compiled a helpful list here. Some family-friendly options allow for multiple users so you can track a family’s finances. Others let you create categories of spending, and when you underspend in one area, you can move those unused dollars over to the “fun” category, building that vacation fund. Most link directly to your credit cards or bank accounts for accurate updates on your money.
Your kids will want to do all of their summer activities in style. But, updating kids’ wardrobes regularly gets pricey, especially because they constantly outgrow their clothes. Kidizen is a site that lets parents buy and sell gently used clothes. It has categories for boys, girls, baby and even mama. You can sort by brand, condition, price and more. They also have fun spring and summer collections like the Easter collection, warm weather shop and swim shop, where you can find all of those playful essentials kids need for warmer months.
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