Smart tips for an affordable family vacation

Are the kids bugging you for that big trip to Disney World? Do you dream of strolling the arrondissements of Paris? Or are you simply wondering how you’re going to pull off a fun family vacation on a tight budget? It’s totally doable – it just takes a little planning.

Decide where you’d like to go and how you’ll get there. With gas prices high and ever-increasing air travel costs, it pays to research transportation options. Fly? Drive? Take the train? You can save even more money by bringing along snacks and beverages rather than buying them along the way.

Be flexible with travel dates. You can save on airfare by closely watching websites such as Expedia and Travelocity – as well as the airline websites – for good deals. Plan far enough in advance and avoid peak travel times and you can save a bundle. If you’re considering a cruise or a luxury resort visit, again: be flexible on dates. Booking in the offseason is cheaper, and it’s often less crowded. Parents, always be sure the places you choose are kid-friendly and have kid-specific activities so everyone has a good time.

Book early. The earlier you book hotels and motels, the cheaper the rates. Make sure you’re clear on what’s included and what’s extra before you book. Read online reviews to ensure you’re staying at a quality facility, as well. Once you decide where you’re going and where you’ll stay, sign up for email alerts on sites such as Groupon or Living Social so you’ll be aware of discounts on nearby restaurants, attractions and more.

Make a vacation budget. It’s easy to indulge while relaxed and away from home, but you don’t want outrageous credit card bills a month later. There are several sites that offer printable vacation budget templates you can use. You’ll still have a great vacation, and you’ll be much more relaxed if you don’t have to worry about money.

Start saving today with a Northwest Vacation Club account. Call Northwest Direct at 1-877-672-5678 or visit your local office to learn more.