Family travel is always so much fun and builds lifelong memories you and your kids will cherish forever. However, the number one thing I hear most from people when they are hoping to travel is how expensive it is. Which then leads to the question of how to reduce travel expenses. My answer is usually the same… “when we are looking to stretch our vacation budget we start by cutting back on our transportation cost.” Transportation cost add up quickly when you factor in the cost of an airline ticket, rental car, and/or train travel. Worry no more, we have you covered with the best tips for saving money on transportation while you travel. Also, check out our Family Travel Hacking 101 Guide for tips of saving money on your whole trip.
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Saving On Flights With These Tips And Tricks
Airfare is usually the most expensive type of transportation cost on your family vacation. Saving a few dollars on each plane ticket can add up to hundreds of dollars when traveling with a big family. Finding deals on flights can be a game of patience and waiting. Here are a few ideas that will get you started saving on flights for your next family vacation.
1. Use Top Flight Search Engines By Being Flexible On Travel Dates
“The best trick I have discovered to find savings when booking is using Skyscanner’s ‘Whole Month’ function. This enables the user to compare and choose the cheapest day in the entire month to fly. Being flexible is an important factor in getting cheaper flights from top flight search engines. This includes avoiding peak tourist periods, festivals and school holidays. Skyscanner is a fantastic tool and I use to research prices every time I look for international tickets.” Plan your next trip with confidence! Skyscanner is making it easy to identify flexible booking options. — Kris from Gadsventure
2. Use Kayak Website To Find Cheap Flights On International Travel
“We plan international travel far in advance when tickets are first available. A favorite research tool is Kayak to follow prices on different airlines and understand the options. We save money by choosing the no frills, low-cost airlines, traveling with carry-on backpacks, bringing our own food, water, and entertainment.” Check out your flight options on Kayak here! — Deborah from World Wise Kid
3. Top Flight Booking Sites Help Save Money By Shopping Around
“When we do fly I use CheapOAir, Skyscanner, Kayak, CheapAir, or Travelocity to find the best deals available for our family vacation. I love that you can get loyalty status with them as you book more and more vacations. Don’t think of the transportation as getting to or home from your trip. Use that time as part of your trip and making memories with your family!” — Melissa from Disabled Disney
4. Save Money When Traveling By Signing Up For Airline Credit Cards
“The best way to get good deals on flights is to get an airline credit card. Most airline credit cards give you perks like first check bag free, discounted or free lounge access, priority seat upgrades, and/or discounts on buying or using points to redeem flights. We are currently loving the travel perks and the miles we get to accumulate from our credit cards.” Our top picks for all around travel credit cards are American Express Gold Card and Chase Sapphire Preferred. — Annette from Tips From A Typical Mom Blog
5. Save Money On Flights By Redeeming Reward Points For FREE Flights
“I focus my money-saving energy on reducing the cost of plane tickets. The absolute best way to save here is to redeem reward points for FREE flights. Don’t worry if you don’t have enough to cover everyone on in your family. My next best tip is. Drumroll please. Break up your airfare into two separate reservations and use the miles you do have for those FREE flights first.” You can also buy those extra point you need at a discount through websites like points.com. Check here to redeem fewer points and miles for more rewards! — Regina from Full Time Field Trip
6. Save Money On Air Travel By Maximizing Airline Alerts
Sign up for all the email alerts from your favorite airlines and budget travel websites. This allows you to quickly know when an airline has a flash sale. Don’t miss the buying opportunity, be ready to click buy at a moment’s notice. In addition to each airline sign up for alerts from Secret Flying and Scott’s Cheap Flights. — Tiffany from Mommy And Me Travels
How To Save Money On Train Tickets For Your Family
Getting around is part of the educational experience when on a family vacation. Taking the train is a chance to understand the culture. This means avoiding the tourist track of pricey packaged tours and living like the locals. When looking for tips to save money on vacation, taking the train usually is significantly cheaper than flying. Arriving somewhere may take longer, but the journey is just as important as the destination!
7. Tips To Save Money On Vacation With A Railcard
“Consider investing in a railcard. We recently bought a ‘Friends and Family’ railcard that gives 60% off for kids and 30% off for adults when traveling together. The card is valid for one year and can save you money right from the very first trip. Lastly, do check both standard and first class fares. Sometimes first class fares are not much more expensive than standard and you could receive perks in first class (such as free food and drink) that makes the upgrade actually better value.” — Nikki from Yorkshire Wonders
8. Use Train Booking Sites To Find The Best Deals
We like to get creative and think outside the box when finding the best ways to travel for cheap. Instead of flying, we also look at taking the train and/or amtrak. This will add adventure to your family vacation. In many cases, you can buy a first class train ticket for the fraction of the cost of a plane ticket per person. Of course, this only works if you are staying on the same continent. Check out location specific train options: Amtrak, EuroRail, Bahn.de, and/or HeathrowExpress. — Tiffany from Mommy And Me Travels
Tip And Trick On Cheapest Way To Rent A Car
While it can be a complete sensory overload to drive in a foreign country, it is also one of the least expensive and most time efficient ways to get around most countries, especially if you want to get out of the city and explore sights off-the-beaten-path. These travel experts have you covered with tips and tricks on the cheapest way to rent a car at your family vacation destination.
9. Shop Around To Save Money On Rental Cars
“Once I have my flight worked out, I move on to the rental car. Unless I am staying in an all inclusive resort that we won’t be leaving, I always rent a car. My family loves to drive around and see everything there is to see in the area we are visiting and it’s just so much easier to have your own form of transportation. There are a lot of discount places you can rent cars through like AutoEurope, Costco, and AAA. Shopping around to save money on rental cars is the easiest way to add a few extra dollars back into your vacation budget.” — Annette from Tips From A Typical Mom Blog
10. One-way Car Rental Tricks To Help Save You Money
“Plan an itinerary that incorporates alternative transportation (train, bus, short flight) to a less popular city. From there, rent a car and continue on your family travel adventure, simply returning your car at the end of your trip to a predetermined destination. Many major car rental companies in Europe have one-way rentals very affordably priced, if you are willing to drive a specific vehicle back into a more popular city or airport. Example, returning a car from Scotland to London helps out the rental company as more people fly into London than anywhere else in the UK. For helping the rental company out, they offer ridiculously cheap rental fees and then you just pay for your own gas. It’s a genius way to save big on in country transportation in Europe!” — Shannan from Captivating Compass
Cheapest Way Of Travel — Take Your Own Car
We love taking road trips and find it to be the cheapest way of traveling on a family vacation. Taking our own car is perfect for getting around a destination and for when young kids get tired little legs or want an afternoon nap. We throw everything in our vehicle, make our own itinerary, and we’re still able to do the type of quirky multi-destination holidays that we crave. If you have younger kids, make sure you are prepared and read Road Trip Tips And Tricks first.
11. Take Your Own Car For Tips For Saving Money On Transportation
“There are so many ways to save on transportation. Personally, we try to drive to as many places as we can, if time allows. Not only can you save time by driving, but you can cut the costs of needing a rental car or taxis, and you can pack your car with snacks and other items you may have had to spend money on if you flew to your destination. Just be sure to properly prepare for your road trip and enjoy! Memberships like AAA (in the US) are cheap and a necessity if you’re planning a family road trip.” — Shannon from Grab My Passport
12. Use Travel Apps For How To Reduce Travel Expenses
“Saving money on transportation is an integral part of any family vacation. We normally drive because it does tend to be a less expensive choice for us. If you are driving the best way to save money on gas is to use GasBuddy to check gas prices. We also use RoadTrippers for the amazing maps they have and the ease of planning our road trips.” — Melissa from Disabled Disney
Budget Travel Tips For When You Get To Your Family Vacation Destination
Taking time to plan for how you will get from place to place is important if you want to save money, but so is making sure you have budget travel tips for once you get to your destination. Opt for some big savings once you are on the ground with these tips and tricks.
13. Use Foot Power For Transportation Cost Saving Ideas
“I walk absolutely everywhere that’s safe. When my kiddo was smaller, I’d put her in a good carrier with a 45-pound weight limit to keep my walking easy. Although I don’t save time walking, I do save money on transportation. Bonus, it’s a great way to find local cafés and grocery stores, and save money on restaurant costs. Walking has given me my savings on transportation, much of my fun–and often, my best stories.” Check out the Best Travel Strollers here! — Sarah from Dandelion Seeds
14. Use Complimentary Airport Transfers As Ways To Save Money On Transportation
“Most hotels offer complimentary airport transfers. A complimentary shuttle service from your hotel gives you one less thing to worry about especially if you’re unfamiliar with the locality. Ensure that you communicate your needs to the hotel prior to arrival. Let them know how many are in your traveling party and when to expect you.” — Yamy from GoFamGo
15. Save Money While Traveling By Using Public Transportation
“Many large cities have great public transportation, We have found that by traveling on certain days of the week or times of day, you can save money because kids might ride for a discounted rate or even for free. We also like to take advantage of free trolley’s and shuttle buses too. These are great because everyone can enjoy looking around at the sites instead of having to focus on traffic in an unfamiliar city.” — Sarah from State By State
Wrap Up Of 15 Ways For How To Save Money On Transportation Cost For Family Travel – Saving On Flights, Trains, Rental Cars, and In-And-Around Transportation
Don’t let the cost of transportation hamper your ability to build family memories via traveling. Use some of these tried and true money saving tips for transportation when planning your next family vacation and adventure. You too will be a money saving expert traveler while planning your next family trip.
Continue the journey with us as we bring you more idea for planning your family adventure!
1 – How to start planning you next family vacation and adventure!
2 – Saving Money On Transportation
3 – Choosing Family Accommodations
4 – Sightseeing with Kids: Tips and Tricks
5 – 20 Ultimate Packing Tips and Tricks when Traveling With Kids
6 – 25 Tips for Saving Money on Food While Traveling
7 – Road Trip Tips
8 – International Travel Tips
Book Your Family Trip With These Tips And Tricks
Booking Your Flight
Find your perfect flight and save money using Skyscanner, CheapAir.com, and Kayak. These are my favorite search engines to use since they search multiple airlines around the world to find the best routes and cheapest tickets available.
Booking Your Accommodations
There are many ways to book your perfect hostel, hotel, or vacation home for your next family adventure. Our favorite for booking hostels is Hostelworld. When booking hotel rooms I use Hotels.com and Booking.com. When looking for an entire vacation home, my go to is VRBO. I love these platforms in particular because the constantly provide the best accommodations for the cheapest price.
Booking Your Rental Cars
Don't forget to book your rental car when you are booking your family vacation. I like to do this early as I find that the best deals are not last minute ones. For your European travels check out AutoEurope as they search multiple rental car companies and get you the best rate available without you having to do the leg work. When booking in the USA we like to check out Enterprise, Hertz, Thrifty, and SixT.
Book Travel Insurance
I have started using travel insurance once I started traveling with a family. Today more than ever, travel insurance is extremely important as you never know when something unexpected is going to happen. Our go to companies to get quotes are World Nomads and Travelex.
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Oh wow so many great tips! As Im in Paris Im gonna give you mine 😉 : any kids under 4 y/o can travel freely in any train in Paris. Metro and bus are free for kids under 5. I loved the tips for airplanes! We often book very early too 🙂
These are great ideas for saving money on transportation. I can incorporate some of these while travelling especially to get around on foot like what Sarah and Deborah suggested.
I am grateful for your post which provides me with previous tips on how to save on travel. Thanks for sharing.
So many wonderful ideas! We travel often within the US since we live in Texas and my family is in Florida. We typically fly the cheap airlines to a larger city, then rent a car to drive to my parent’s house. There’s an airport closer to them, but it’s often triple the cost to fly there rather than two hours away. But, when possible, we drive. We just did a 15-hour drive to Colorado Springs for spring break. There were 7 of us on that trip, so flights would have been astronomical.
Using airlines credit card and booked the tickets far in advance are the ones that we have tried so far. Thanks for coming up with the extensive list!
This is such a great list of ways to save! I especially love the ideas for saving with airline tickets. Now that we have to pay for both of my kiddos to fly we are always hunting down a deal
These are all great tips! I do a lot of these but some of them I hadn’t thought of… will definitely use more of them in the future!
Great ideas. Thanks!
This is a great list of money saving tips! I will definitely be using some of these for my next adventure.
I don’t travel much, trying to save to buy our own house. Once we have that established, I will definitely refer back to this as I’m sure we’ll start traveling. We have family in Utah, Indiana, Michigan and Texas that we’d love to travel to see.