Spring break is a great time to beat the winter blues and take a family vacation, but flights and hotels can be expensive due to high demand. Just because you’re travelling during peak season, doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. By following a few tips and tricks, you can still enjoy a great getaway with the whole family while sticking to your budget!

Where to go for spring break: Picking a destination

Keeping an open mind is key when looking for spring break travel destinations. Even with last minute deals, you can often pay a huge premium to travel to warm destinations for spring break, so think about visiting less traditional locales. There are so many international budget destinations where you can still get the best value for our dollar.

If you’re determined to spend your vacation on the beach, there are plenty of opportunities to save money. Websites like Kayak offer “explore” features, which allow you to view all the best deals on flights departing from your hometown, making it easy to see the cheapest holiday spot your family might like. Air Canada Vacations is also a great place to discover destinations, last minute deals and special flight and package promos offered by the airlines.

TIP: Look into many different destinations; you never know where in the world you might be able to get a deal!

Best time to book your flight

Once you know where you and your family are ready to travel, do your research to prevent paying too much for your flight. Plan to book about 4 weeks before your flight to avoid price increases as the departure date gets closer.

march break booking
Apps like Hopper can help you find the perfect moment to book and maximize your savings

Most spring breakers plan to travel for 7 days, and flights departing on weekends are often more expensive. If you can, try booking a trip that is 5-6 days long with weekday flights to get the most bang for your buck. You can also look into alternative airports to depart from – you never know when driving just a little further could save you a ton of money! For instance: Canadians living close to the border can save both time and money by flying out of US airports.

Many travel sites also offer discounts if you book your flight and hotel together, so make sure to shop around before you book. If you’re willing to take a risk, many travel sites have a last minute spring break deals section, offering flights and hotels at discounted rates as the departure date approaches.

Finding the perfect place to stay

Imagining your dream spring break getaway might look like drinking your coffee on your private balcony while overlooking the beach, but it pays to consider how much time you and your family are really going to spend in your hotel room. It might be worth the savings to choose a room with a less desirable view.

Are you struggling to find a decent hotel in your price range? Try considering alternative accommodations, like Airbnb, or Kid and Coe – a home rental site catering to families with children. If you are feeling adventurous, try camping! Rent an RV, or pack a tent, and rent a campsite at your destination to really save. Check out these 6 tips to RV on a budget this spring and summer.

TIP: Book a refundable rate early, and keep checking back to see if the rates go down. This way, you can cancel and re-purchase at the lower rate, without risking rate increases.

Eating well

Meals while travelling are necessary, but they’re often a huge part of your budget. Consider booking a hotel room that includes a kitchenette to help to save money on meals while giving you the chance to cook with local fresh delicacies.

If cooking for yourself doesn’t sound like a vacation, keep an eye out for deals ahead of time to save on eating out. Look for coupons online and research local restaurants in less tourist-populated areas for a chance to sample some delicious local cuisine without overspending. If you have a family member travelling with food allergies, see how you can plan in advance to avoid any health-related issues during your trip.

Budget doesn’t mean boring

Just because you’re travelling on a budget, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the local attractions. Many major tourist cities offer packages or tourism passes, giving discounted rates on sights if they’re purchased together. By researching your destination ahead of time, you could find great places to check out that are free, or don’t charge admission for children.

usa popular tourist destinations
Our Cities on a Budget series shares top attractions and budget tips for popular destinations like San Francisco, Seattle, Orlando and New York.

Again, look out for coupons and online promotional codes, and check attraction websites for opportunities to save by purchasing tickets online, ahead of time or in conjunction with other activities.

Staycation instead of a vacation

If the cost of a traditional spring break vacation for you and your family is just too high, consider local destinations. Drive over to the next town, or take a train or ferry to somewhere nearby. BC offers lots of great site seeing opportunities without the expensive price tag. Avid skiers and snow bunnies can also opt to book a ski holiday at a winter resort for some family fun in the snow.

In 2017, Canada is offering free passes to all of it’s National Parks in celebration of the country’s 150th birthday, so consider camping out and exploring Canada’s National Parks!

If you just can’t seem to find the right vacation for your family this year, that’s okay! Check out some local attractions and be a tourist in your own city. While you’re home, start planning for next year’s trip. Set up alerts for deals to your dream destination, and find out the best way to maximize your travel points. By  booking early, you’ll have a great chance to get a deal, and the anticipation for next year’s trip will keep your family excited all year long!

Whatever you do, always be sure to protect yourself and your loved ones on your spring vacation with travel insurance. Not sure what you need? Read on for more about family travel insurance plans for spring break.

Do you have some of your own tips to add? Leave a comment below or tweet us @TuGoInsurance!

Happy saving,

Kiera

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