YOUR LIFE WILL CHANGE AFTER USING THESE ADVICE FOR FAMILY TRAVEL AND CAR PACKING. I guarantee that you can have a fantastic family vacation without breaking the bank or losing your mind. OVER THE YEARS, WE’VE LEARNED A LOT, AND IN THIS POST, WE’RE SHAREING OUR BEST TIPS!
Dear friends: I’ve got vacation on the brain now that Spring Break is just around the horizon and summer is almost here! We typically take two trips a year, one to the beach in early fall and the other to the mountains in the middle of the summer to escape the heat. And we’ve mastered family getaways that ROCK and don’t break the bank. And today I’m going to share all of our exclusive knowledge with you.
For your convenience, this article includes some affiliate links. If you choose to use one of these links and then make a purchase, I will receive a small commission, but there is no additional cost to you.
To view my entire disclosure statement, click here.
TIPS FOR A FAMILY VACATION AND CAR PACKING #1) Avoid staying at hotels and resorts. Instead, lease a vacation house.
We shouldn’t be overly surprised that we prefer to travel “DIY style,” given our passion for DIY. Why do I say that? Our trips are typically accessible by car, and when they are, we book a rental property through VRBO or HomeAway (which is part of VRBO). We can then relax with all the conveniences of home while cooking our own meals in comfort (we love to cook). Simply said, our family doesn’t enjoy dining out or booking hotel rooms. The fact that our girls and we are both homebodies means that they adore the idea of having a “home base” even while we are away.
Vacation rentals are ideal for families and groups because they typically give TONS more space at a price that is at least half that of a hotel room. Almost generally, we rent from VRBO , but occasionally, we use property management firms. Both have served us well, so I don’t think you should encounter any shocks if you read the evaluations.
We can always ask friends and family to join us for a portion of our trip when we rent a property because there is space for everyone. In a hotel room, this is untrue! We also appreciate not having to split a bedroom with our twin kids, as we would at a hotel, so we always get one to ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, I like my daughters, but it’s good to have separate bedrooms for each person.
We discovered this gorgeous house through VRBO a few years ago and rented it out in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. It was lovely, peaceful, and remote while still being close to the city, which was a winning combo. My mother and step-father were able to spend some time with us. The girls enjoyed playing corn hole in the driveway, throwing water balloons from the balcony, and playing sparkler games on the terrace with Joe and Granddad Roger. At a resort or hotel, you are just unable to do those stuff. (And can we just stop for a second to admire how adorable and young my girls were?)
Having a private pool is really important to us for our beach holidays, but only because we end up spending more time in the pool than in the ocean. If your family enjoys splashing around in the waves, you might prefer a home that is closer to the shore without a pool. For our family, though, we prefer to spend the cooler morning and evening hours at the beach rather than the pool, where we spend around 75% of our daytime time.
Last summer, we leased a fantastic home with a private pool that was close to the beach and had space for some of our dearest friends to stay with us for a few days. One of the best weeks I’ve ever had.
And how many times did we dine at a restaurant? ZERO. One evening, we went out for ice cream. Otherwise, we prepared meals at home. That takes me to my following advice:)
2) For at least a portion of the week, reward yourself by ordering meals from a delivery service.
One of the benefits for us is having the opportunity to prepare meals at a leisurely pace when on vacation because we enjoy cooking. To be completely honest though, we also save a ton of money by cooking at our rental homes since it’s much less expensive than eating out. I think a lot. The only drawback is that occasionally, throughout the course of the week, we find ourselves needing to go food shopping more than once, which is not enjoyable. So that we would have everything we needed for 3 full dinners, we got a 3-meal kit from HelloFresh last year. For some reason, having 3 dinners that we didn’t have to plan at all made it much simpler to complete our weekly food shopping in a single trip. HelloFresh is more expensive than typical groceries, but it’s still less expensive than going out to dine, and it definitely felt like a treat. In addition, we found three fantastic new recipes. You don’t have to have it delivered every single week (we still treat ourselves to HelloFresh every six weeks or so)!
There are other other meal delivery services available, such as BlueApron and Plated , but we have only ever used HelloFresh . However, I’ve also heard wonderful things about the competing businesses.
I now have two recommendations to help you save money on food for your family vacations.
3. Constantly bring a cooler.
This lesson cost us dearly. We didn’t bring a cooler the first time we drove to a VRBO rental. Furthermore, since we prepare the majority of our meals when we are on vacation, we had to buy a ton of condiments and other items at the grocery store, which rapidly added up in cost. Now, we fill a cooler with items we don’t use frequently but still require for travel (ketchup, mayo, etc.). Over the years, it has helped us save a ton of cash. While on family trips, another strategy to save money on groceries is to…
4) Inform the clerk that you are away from home and request that they scan a customer loyalty card on your behalf.
There is ABSOLUTELY NO CHANCE that I will apply for a customer loyalty card at a grocery store that isn’t even located in my hometown in order to save money on groceries when we are traveling. BUT we’ve discovered that the majority of the resorts where we vacation in the mountains or by the sea will gladly swipe a generic customer loyalty card for us without requiring us to sign up for the program. We simply ask them to do it and explain that we are on vacation. Therefore, we receive the greatest deals without going through the effort of signing up for something we would only use for one week.
The second piece of advice is truly MY FAVORITE and crucial.
I’ve rented at least 10 vacation houses over the years, and I’ve learned that packing carefully and strategically is essential. Therefore, here we are.
5) Put items in bins.
We can pack as much as we need if we drive to our family vacations, but who has 19 suitcases? Not us. Thus, packing in bins completely altered the standard of our holiday preparations! We don’t carry any bags at all. Everything, even our clothing, is packed in bins. It makes loading everything quite simple. The best part is that it enables us to pack items that wouldn’t normally fit in suit cases, such as non-perishable groceries, paper towels, toilet paper, toys, board games, etc.
Joe’s truck used to go on vacation with us every time. Bins fit in the back of his truck with no problem, of course. But a truck is not necessary!
My automobile has a rack on the top that can easily fit SIX containers.
I’ve reached my last piece of advice now.
6) Think about purchasing a roof rack.
I won’t sugarcoat the truth. The cost of roof racks is HIGH. But I strongly advise you to think about getting a roof rack for your car if, like us, you prefer to drive rather than fly for your travels. We are very happy we did! Though we knew we would be more constrained in what we could fit in it, we thought about acquiring a cargo box. We spent some money on an Yakima roof rack system and Megawarriror cargo basket , and they are fantastic. We use it for bins when we travel, but it can also accommodate many other oddly shaped objects like our daughters’ bikes. It was a great investment for us and the manner we travel.
What kind of trip do you prefer? Have you developed a romantic interest in vacation home rentals? What do you like best about holiday home rentals?
Cleaning and organization is the go portfolio’s id.