Travelling with a family is generally an expensive proposition — it makes sense that the more of you there are to move about, feed and house, the more the entire undertaking costs. But there are ways to bring the budget out of the panic zone with a bit of creativity on your part. The obvious budget-biters are food and accommodation. You might want to look at renting a house or an apartment instead of booking multiple hotel rooms. You’ll save significantly and, as a bonus, you can have some meals in – it may actually be more convenient, and definitely kinder to your pocketbook.
Here are some other costs that might slip under your radar as you plan your trip, along with a few tips to help you come out the budgetary victor:
Some destinations require you to purchase a visa to enter the country. Istanbul, Turkey, for example, is an incredibly popular destination currently, but it’ll cost a Canadian $60 USD for a visa to enter Turkey.
After getting off a flight with a family in tow, you might want to just haul your bags onto the travel service that is standing nearby. Though convenient, the simplest option can be the most expensive. Take some time ahead of your journey and look into shared transfer (shuttle bus or van), or check with your hotel to see if it has a complimentary shuttle.
Tipping can really add up. Do research on your destination and find out what is appropriate. In places like France, for instance, tipping is not expected. Where it is, remember to factor in everyone you will come in contact with. Drivers, massage therapists and maids will likely expect tips.
You likely will want to use your cellphone while you’re away, and roaming data charges can be astronomical. Check your plan before you leave and choose the international option that will suit you best. Or ask your service provider about getting a SIM card at your destination and use a local provider while you are there.
Tolls and Parking
Don’t forget about the costs of renting a car and other driving-related expenses. If you want to explore a large city, you may well be looking at $40 to $60 a day to park in a downtown garage. Investigate parking in a suburb for free and using public transport to get downtown. Keep an eye on highway tolls as well.
Shops in the airport are expensive. Reserve them for emergency needs. If the family wants gum, magazines, books or even souvenirs, buy them before you get to the airport.
Hidden Hotel Fees
Ask about extra fees and taxes before you go, and factor these in when shopping for accommodation. What seems like a very good rate will turn into a very expensive stay when a $30 Resort Fee and a $20 WIFI charge are added to your account daily.
Contributor: David Massie