By Debra Loew · March 2022
Many travel experts are predicting that 2022 will be the year family travel returns as families look to take their first vacation in two years. Below are some tried and true tips for families to travel sanely and to save a little extra money along the way.
According to Lauren, a North Carolina-based travel advisor, having flexible dates is the number one way to save money. If you can, also consider traveling during the “shoulder season” before or after popular breaks. “To save money once you are on property, I encourage my clients to consider purchasing from Instacart, or other local grocery delivery services, and having the items delivered to your resort. You can have them waiting for you at bell service when you arrive. This allows you to make breakfast in your room and enjoy snacks, drinks, and even alcohol without the up charge at the gift shop or resort restaurants. I also encourage clients to either pack in carry-ons or consolidate suitcases to save money on checked baggage,” Lauren said.
Remember, it’s your vacation, too. “You do not want to be booking tomorrow’s accommodation or activities when you could be having a quiet glass of wine (or something stronger) while spending time with your spouse/partner after the kids go to bed. Fret the details before you leave so you can simply glide along and have time away from technology and devices while you’re on your trip,” suggests Bronwen, a travel advisor based in British Columbia.
Have all your documents in one place. We recommend traveling electronically as it makes your bag lighter and it’s better for the environment. Make sure to download COVID test results, vaccination records, copies of passports, itineraries, insurance paperwork, etc. onto your device (or multiple devices if there’s more than one adult). Put them in a specific folder so it’s easy to access them. Many people are going to ask for your documents, and you won’t always want to connect to the internet or use your data to access them.
Being in a confined space for a long period of time is not easy for younger kids. Try to create a surprise bag that includes a combination of special treats and some games that can be doled out through the flight. Also, for younger kids who have a hard time keeping their masks on, turn it into a game. Every 15 or 30 minutes that they keep their mask on results in points they can use to pick out a special souvenir or activity during the trip.
With general admission to theme parks costing hundreds of dollars, families can save money once inside the park with a little bit of pre-planning. Stacie, a Disney travel expert offers these tips: “Pack, or purchase at a local drugstore, items that are very costly once in the park such as snacks, drinks, ponchos, sunscreen, cooling towels, neck fans, hand warmers, and many other items that can quickly add up. I also encourage my clients to make a Dollar Store run before they leave to pick up a supply of the glow sticks and bracelets that are sold before the evening shows to save big money by not buying them from the cart.”
And, of course, consult with your travel advisor. They know a good deal when they see one, and they also have access to negotiated rates that are almost always better than what you can get on your own. These rates often include complimentary breakfast, upgrades when available, and other amenities that can save you money. Plus, they know the ins and outs of all things travel and will save you time and energy during these uncertain times.