Vacations can get so expensive that many large families don’t go. You have to pay someone to care for your animals, gas to get where you are going, lodging, food, attractions, etc. I have a few tips you can try to save a bundle of money so you can travel together more often.
How To Save Money On A Large Family Vacation
1. Animal Boarding And Care
If you don’t have pets, you are already saving a bundle on your vacation, excellent! If you do, try to see if you can trade services with another family or neighbors for animal care when either of your families are in need. On our last vacation, our neighbor was willing to take care of our poultry, cats, and rabbits for free knowing that we would care for their animals when they needed to go away. Small indoor tank or caged pets could be dropped off to stay with a child’s best friend. Aquarium fish do well with timed automatic fish feeders or the slow release fish food pellets that last a certain amount of days. If it will be too long for those options, see if a trusted friend or family member could come in and care for them and check on the house. Dogs or indoor cats: see if they could stay at a friend or family member’s house, or if they could come to your home to care for them. If not, these may have to be boarded. Shop around and visit the locations to see what you feel good about. For anyone caring for the pets for free or exchange, I always get them a souvenir as a thank you gift.
2. Local Travel In An Automobile
Try to do a trip you can drive to (not too far away, if possible, to save on costs and time – we like to stay within two hours) with everyone in one automobile. If you don’t have a large enough automobile, find a way to rent one or pay a driver, if necessary. Shop around for those services too. Keep in mind when packing, how much room will be available in the vehicle for extra bags, etc. and pack accordingly. You can do laundry and buy groceries at your destination. For now, think clothing, necessities, things to do bag, some snacks and bottled water. You may need to add stroller and pop up crib as well.
3. Rent (Do NOT Buy) A Timeshare
The owner of the timeshare for that section of days or week is not able to use it that week and they would lose money on their timeshare if no one rented it. So we are helping them out plus helping ourselves. This is how we save the biggest bucks and all stay in one room. My husband goes on eBay to find a timeshare in our driving area that has an indoor water park included. He will pay attention to what they call that timeshare because there may also be a hotel attached. You don’t want to search the name of the hotel, you want the timeshare name and city. Type that into eBay search. I am going to make up a business name and use a real small town to have this as an example. It might say…
WISCONSIN RIVERVIEW RESORT BOSCOBEL WI JANUARY 15-19 – 3 BEDROOM DELUXE SLEEPS 10 $479 Free Shipping
Credit: Image borrowed from seller 4finleyfan on eBay.
When we do this, we get three bedrooms: two have king size beds, one has two full size beds, and there is a pull out couch that sleeps two. Also: two bathrooms, a small stack-able washer and dryer you do not have to put money in. There is a kitchen with a dishwasher, microwave, full size refrigerator with freezer portion, a great big dining room table and chairs. Plus: water-park wristbands for 10 people for each day of our stay! For an amazing low price. There are arcades and a dry play area with slides. So much to see and do.
You purchase this on eBay, the seller sends you your confirmation of your stay, which you will take to the Timeshare Customer Service desk on check in. Call ahead to confirm what time the room will be ready and details of your stay. You are staying as a “guest” of the Timeshare owner. This is perfectly normal. Timeshare owners have “guests” stay instead of them all the time. Usually it is their family members.
A few tips you can try to save a bundle of money on your next indoor waterpark vacation, so you can travel together as a family more often.
Because they know you are a guest, you will be offered to attend a timeshare sales presentation. It is okay to decline, politely. If you have the time and older kids who can babysit, you may want to attend. You can score free attraction tickets, free meals, $100 VISA or Walmart gift card, additional nights to stay for free, all just for hearing their sales pitch. This sales pitch can run from 90 minutes to three hours. In Wisconsin, USA, (where I live) there is a law that they have to give your gifts up front, so you can hold them to the promised 90 minutes or whatever it is. I recommend you say NO and do not buy a timeshare, no matter what. If you want to stay again, just rent a timeshare again.
4. Buy Groceries At A Store Near The Timeshare
After we arrive and get our huge room and wristbands, we take everything to our room. I give the grocery list (planned ahead of time, including toilet paper, paper towels, garbage bags, dishwasher detergent, laundry detergent, toaster waffle syrup and condiments) to Dad and a helper. They go shopping while the remaining kids and I get settled in the room. We rotate who gets to stay in what rooms or pull out couch, but Mom and Dad always get the master bedroom.
5. Budget Money For Extras And Stick To It
We budget how much will be spent at the arcade per child, how many times we will have pizza delivered (you may have to meet the pizza delivery person at the front of the timeshare building for security reasons), shopping money (we like to go to local antique and trading post stores for fun) for souvenirs (remember to get a souvenir for those collecting your mail, watching your home or caring for pets), snacks (our favorite timeshare has a candy store), or other entertainment (painting a piece of pottery, going to a local movie theater, bowling, etc.), plus tips, parking expenses, roadway tolls, etc. We take cash in envelopes for these items (including groceries) to stay in the budget (when it’s gone, it’s gone!). Our kids bring their own money to spend as well.
I hope you will try these tips on your next large family vacation and rack up the savings and go more often. Please subscribe so you never miss a post! Please share these tips with others who may enjoy them.