Summer is almost over (yikes!) but it’s not too late to plan a last-minute vacay that the entire family can enjoy. ESSENCE.com checked in with Lauren Goldenberg of The Family Traveler to get the best budget-friendly tips and tricks for snagging a summer vacation you and your loved ones will never forget.
Check out some of Goldenberg’s top tips on budget travel with kids:
—Share a room with your children or look for special discounts for a second room.
—Travel with your own drinks and snacks.
—Check local tourist boards for discounts on area attractions and combined attraction tickets. Investigate purchasing the local entertainment guides for coupons.
Let the Internet be your friend to score the best deals possible this summer. And be sure to inquire about children airfare’s for international destinations.
Goldenberg strongly suggests avoiding destinations that are too hot or don’t offer a place to cool off at least part of the day when traveling with children.
“In Jamaica, there are plenty of all-inclusive resort options in all prices ranges and in various destinations, including Montego Bay, Ocho Rios and Negril. Families can also explore the rain forest, raft down rivers, hike and more. Supervised baby, child and teen programs vary by resort,” says Goldenberg.
“San Francisco is another amazing city that is easily explored on foot and by public transportation with tons of kid-friendly attractions, parks, museums, dining, sporting events and entertainment options. San Fran isn’t typically a great vacay destination for toddlers, but excellent for school age and older,” according to Goldenberg.
“New York City offers plenty of museums, cultural events, dining and terrific theater; all available at discounted rates. Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty (with the crown now reopened) are very cost-efficient to experience,” advises Goldenberg. “Walk or use public transportation to get around the city for minimal cost. Toddlers will love running around Central Park while older children have an array of adventures available to them,” she adds.
“Rates have never been better for Alaska cruises this summer. Discounted rates are available for the third and fourth person in a cabin. There are plenty of family-friendly activities on board and excursions are available for most ages and in all price ranges,” says Goldenberg.
According to Goldenberg, who has over a decade of travel-selling experience, cruises can be a surprisingly fun yet frugal option for families. She notes that Alaskan cruises are not highly recommended for toddlers but school-age children and older can be fascinated by the nature and intimate wildlife experiences.
“Plenty of dining, public transportation, cultural events, free tours and a new President make Washington, D.C., a terrific destination. It’s not a great destination for toddlers; better for school age and older,” explains Goldenberg.
“Parents should embrace all sorts of travel and see each trip as a unique opportunity to expose their children to new destinations, new cultures and other ways of living,” according to Goldenberg.
Goldenberg warns not to exclude staycations as an option for a last-minute summer vacay with the kids.
“There are plenty of family-friendly resorts and destinations close to home. Call your local tourist bureaus to find interesting destinations. Don’t be afraid to revisit a destination as children will experience a place differently depending on their age,” she explains.
Keep in mind that every family is unique and so are your travel needs. What works for one family is not always the best trip for another.
Where is your family headed this summer for a last-minute vacation?