For many parents, spending a long vacation with kids is scary. After all, how can we possibly manage to see the kids on vacation and still have time for ourselves? But what if we could cut our vacation expenses in half? What if we could also have a perfect vacation with our kids without breaking the bank? Well, that’s possible, as long as we follow a few simple tips.

And by simple, we mean no expensive hotel rooms, no duty-free airport shopping, and overpriced in-car meals. In other words: budget-friendly family vacations with kids won’t break your wallet.

1. Make the Most of Public Transportation

When it comes to public transportation, there’s no such thing as too conservative. You can always find a way to fit your family into the most available seat, even on the most congested trains and buses.

Try to get along with as many people as possible, and don’t be afraid to look out for your fellow travelers. This may seem obvious, but so many visitors to the U.S. seem clueless about public transportation.

So whether you’re a seasoned international traveler or a first-time visitor, you’ll be glad to know that European public transportation can be just as accommodating for you and your kids as in the rest of the world.

2. Travel During the Off-Season

Traveling during the off-season is another way to save money on your vacation. This is when there aren’t as many tourists around, so the cost of living is cheaper, so things are generally cheaper, too.

During the off-season, you may be able to find a hotel room for less than you’d pay on the weekend, and if you can’t stay in a hotel, there’s always the couch-surfing option.

Also, because there are fewer people around, the gas price is usually lower, as well as the price of groceries. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to save on utilities like water and power.

3. Plan Your Meals/snack Wisely

Kids love food, and you’ll spend a lot of time with them on your vacation. So, you need to plan meals and snacks to keep your kids happy and stop them from going hungry.

This is usually easier said than done, though. Your first rule regarding snacks is never to buy in-car snacks. These tend to be overpriced, unhealthy, and loaded with sugar. 

Bring your own small bag or pack a lunch if you have to buy food on the go. Another tip is only to take the food you know your kids like. This will allow you to save time and money in the long run.

There are plenty of online food lists and rating systems that you can use to find out what your kids like. And last but not least, try to avoid buying sugary drinks in bulk. You can also buy smaller sizes in convenience stores or supermarkets, so you won’t get stuck with a large bag of candy when you’re moving.

4. Plan Out Where You’re Going to Eat Ahead of Time, Especially at Resorts Like Disneyland

While most resorts have a “kid-friendly” restaurant, there are plenty of family-friendly options at other resorts and Disneyland. Disneyland has some of the best food options around. You can visit the hotels’ restaurant chains and splurge on full-service hotels. 

It’s worthwhile to research which local restaurants are kid-friendly and affordable. You can research through this list of best Disneyland restaurants to help you plan ahead and make the most of your trip. You’ll notice a vast difference in the quality of service at different restaurants after your first visit, and you’ll have a good feel for what your family likes.

5. Stay in Low-Cost Hostels

Hostels are often expensive, and you’ll probably want to stay in hostels most of the time. Plenty of affordable hostels provide a cozy, home-like environment for travelers on budget trips. If possible, try to book hostels that are a couple of years old; this is helpful as they have had time to grow a good reputation. 

If you’re looking for a budget-friendly vacation, here are a few tips to help make your vacation a success. Remember, you don’t have to spend a fortune to have a great vacation with kids. Following these tips can save money on your vacation and have more time for yourself.

Published by HOLR Magazine.