If you haven’t solidified your plans already, it’s not too late to plan March Break Travel. But, seeing as it is definitely one of the peak travel times of the year, prices can be at a premium. A lot of families want to figure out a way to plan a memorable holiday without spending too much money.
I’ve got a few tips that can help keep you on budget.
CHOOSING A DESTINATION!
- Flexibility: travel dates (most people travel from weekend to weekend over the March Break so you might need to take a few days off on either end to take advantage of mid-week deals) and room options (you might have to compromise on things like quality, room size, amenities to stay on budget)
- Duration: Consider a 5-6 night excursion and travel on weekdays instead of weekend flights
- Availability of Flights: The fewer flight options (small areas in Cuba, for example, versus Orlando, Florida) the more expensive the airfare since there aren’t as many flights. Some destinations might have 10 or more flights a day giving more seat availability and options.
- Consider Cruising: a family of four could book a cruise cabin for less than the cost of flights to another destination. If you pick a port within driving distance from here, you can leave on Friday and arrive in time for a Saturday cruise.
- Think Local: If budget or timing is restricted, think about planning a March break trip within Ontario (or wherever your local province or State might be). In Ontario, for example, there are great ski resorts within an hour’s drive or you could go to Bristol Mountain just outside of Buffalo or down to the Finger Lakes. Other fun options could include a getaway to a Northern Ontario resort with fun winter activities (Deerhurst Resort, JW Marriott Muskoka, Blue Mountain in Collingwood and so on), a trip to Niagara Falls or a city break in Toronto. It may be a short trip, but it can be just as rewarding as flying south.
- Alternate airports: driving to a different airport can help save a lot of money (and sometimes time). Crossing over from Ontario to Buffalo can save you time with airport customs etc.
- Consider less popular destinations with a strong Canadian dollar (Brazil, Cambodia, South Africa, Costa Rica, Bali); Look into a variety of destination and use apps like Kayak or Air Canada to help simplify your search
SAVINGS ON THE GO!
- Rental Companies: you can rent sand toys, activities & games, baby equipment, strollers, cribs and so much more in most cities around the world. If you’re booking a holiday home (instead of a hotel) and you’re trying to figure out how to entertain the kids, there’s nothing quite like a bin of fresh games and toys – delivered to your doorstep nonetheless. Delivery/pick-up fees are usually listed on each company’s website (they deliver to hotels and homes)
- Eating well: choose a hotel with a kitchenette option. It might not seem like a vacation if you have to prepare meals, but this is the easiest way to manage your budget. Think of it as an exciting time to cook with local items. Or, bring a separate suitcase with your favorite foods (check it at the airport) and then use it for one to two meals a day. This can save you a lot on local groceries even with the cost of checking your luggage. If you’re dining out, we recommend doing research ahead of time for coupons and deals at restaurants near your hotel. Or, you can always ask at concierge. Often times they have coupons at the front desk.
- Buy paraphernalia before your trip: If you’re heading to popular theme parks or attractions, an easy way to save is to shop at your own local stores in advance of your trip. Tuck some Mickey Mouse t-shirts into your suitcase or pick up things like themed pencils, sunglasses (and more) at Party supply stores or dollar stores. Again, this saves a ton of money when compared to buying the items on location and the kids don’t care where their stuff comes from — just as long as they get something.
We’re all about making the most of our vacations and that means feeling good about what we’re spending. Each trip is different: sometimes we splurge on those $15 Disney World balloons and on other occasions we don’t spend a dime when we’re traveling. Finding ways to save and deciding what to spend your money on is all part of the journey.
We’d love to know how your family budgets and saves when on vacation. Please send us an email, comment or DM us on our social media @FamTravelGuide