5 Money Saving Tips for Family Travel

This post was created in partnership with Capital One

There’s nothing I’d rather spend my money on than travel. But traveling with a family of five can get expensive quickly, so here are our five best money saving tips for traveling the world with a family and not breaking the bank!


My husband and I both grew up in families who loved to travel. So traveling is just in our blood.

In our first three years of marriage before we had a baby, we traveled as much as our jobs and school would allow, and having kids hasn’t slowed us down — our kids love to travel! We’ve taken them all over the US from East to West Coast and have big plans to take them to other countries in the future.

But traveling with a family of five, with hotel rooms and airfare, can get pricey!

So today we’ve teamed up with our partner Capital One, and we’re sharing our best money saving tips for big family travel on a budget. How we take great trips without breaking the bank.


This is our number one tip for saving money on big trips:

The best way we save huge amounts of money with our travel is using credit card points!

Seriously, we’ve been doing this for years, and we’ve saved thousands of dollars.

When you sign up for Capital One’s Venture Rewards Card, you get 50,000 bonus miles once you spend $3,000 on purchases within the first 3 months. And with the VentureOne Rewards card, it’s 20,000 bonus miles once you spend $1,000 on purchases within the first 3 months.

We’re huge advocates of using credit cards, and paying them off in full each month, because we’re spending the money anyway and then we earn these rewards that can be used for those big, expensive flights!

And when you use your Venture card to book and pay for a hotel at Hotels.com or Venture, you earn 10 miles per dollar!

The rewards don’t expire for the life of the account, and as you use the credit card over time they earn additional miles with every purchase!

our best money saving tips for family travel
family travel money saving tips

Here are a few of our other favorite ways to travel with our whole family and not go broke:

Plan and book your travel early!

My husband is the king of booking trips early and it saves us so much money (and stress). As you get closer to your trip, fares and rates always go up, so getting your trips on the calendar many months in advance saves your sanity and your wallet.

It seems insane, but Philip books most of our big trips almost a year in advance, and tickets are always so much less expensive!


Travel in the off-season

This can get tricky with kids who are in school, because obviously they can’t miss very much school.

But traveling in the off season makes your trips so much cheaper, and everything is much less crowded, which makes the entire trip so much more enjoyable.

If you leave on Tuesday afternoon, the kiddos only miss three days of school and you can get a full five day vacation and get home Sunday night.

Also, make sure you give their teachers advanced warning so you can grab make up work or assignments they might miss!


Skip restaurants when you can.

Food for five people, for three meals per day, adds up so fast, and often becomes one of the most expensive parts of the trip.

We love trying out restaurants on vacation, but we try to do restaurants just for dinner and save our pennies on breakfast and lunch.

So one of our best travel tips is to hit up the grocery store when we arrive and stock up on food, because the more you can eat in the hotel/house rental, the more you can save.

If we’re staying in a house or a timeshare style hotel with a kitchen, I’ll stock up on cereal, eggs, bread, milk, and lunchmeat so I can cook a good breakfast and lunch for the family.

If our hotel room only has a mini fridge, we do cereal and milk, and non-perishable snacks like granola bars and fruit.

If our hotel doesn’t even have a mini fridge, we fill the ice bucket with ice and store a bottle of milk in there, and buy a box of cereal. It’s so much less expensive than a big breakfast at a restaurant!


Find things to do that are free!

There are so many resources out there for free activities in basically any city. Just google “free things to do in _____” and you’ll find a ton of answers.

With little kids, a day at a local park or splash pad is free and so fun for them. And it’s fun to live like a local for a day!

Our personal favorite free thing to do in new cities is just to walk. We love being able to get a feel for the area, explore, and people watch. Our kids even love it, especially if we bring along a stroller so they can jump in and ride if they get tired of walking.

traveling with little kids without breaking the bank
traveling to hawaii with our family without breaking the bank
5 money saving tips for family traveling

The most important reason we travel with our kids

Traveling is best the way we connect with our children, spend really great quality time together, give our kids experience and perspective, and help cultivate in them a love of the world, other cultures, and independence.

This is why we make the effort to travel.

There are lessons that can be learned through travel that you can’t learn at home, and I want my kids to have those experiences.

Traveling is expensive, but it’s worth it. And we make the effort to save money where we can and are careful with our money at home so we can travel and give ourselves and our children these life changing experiences.


Leave us a comment below and tell us your favorite place you’ve traveled, or any budget friendly travel tips!


this post was sponsored by Capital One


  1. AngeLa M says:

    Great article with excellent tips for saving money. we are a family of four and it does add up. thanks for sharing, this helps.

  2. Rachael Hohmann says:

    Hitting up the grocery store has saved us a lot of money. We visited Disney world this summer and planned all oF our meals to be eaten at home. It saved so mUch.
    We also love camping. I know its not for everyone, but a tent campsite is $20-$40/night For the whole family. Cabins are Still aFfordable as well. So if you are visiting a site like yellowstone, Niagra Falls, or Mammoth caves get that outdoor feel! Go camping and save some money!

    • Merrick says:

      If only I could ever convince Philip to go camping 😉

      But yes, the grocery store is always the way to go for good food that’s inexpensive!

  3. Amy says:

    My children are all grown now. But, when they were young and we did family vacations we would opt to stay in condo’s rather than hotels so as to have a kitchen. I would also bring my crockpot along. throw dinner in there in the morning before we would head out (last thing I would feel like doing was cooking after being on the beach all day or site seeing) and come home to dinner ready to be served. Also, did a lot of camping! Very inexpensive and great memories!

  4. Ashley says:

    Love these tips. We Are suPpose to dO a big trip with my parents next year. Any suggeStions on where to go. We have a 4 Year old and 2 year old, both girls. LoOking for something everyone will enjoy. My parents live abd michigan and we live in alabama so wanting to get away From southeaSt and midwes!

    • Merrick says:

      Come to california!! San Diego is one of our favorite destinations with our kids. Lots to do between the beach, Legoland, the zoo, coronado island, children’s museums, and so much more. The food is amazing, the vibe is relaxing and fun, and the weather is always perfect.

  5. Becca says:

    My best tip is to take advantage of passes you already have (museum, zoo, botanical gardens, etc). Most places are part of a larger network that has reciprocal agreements. We save so much on vacation with the free admission to children’s museums and half price for zoos.

Leave a Reply

Next Up
learn how to knot your tee with this step by step video!
How to Knot Your Tee (Video)