The United States offers thousands of travel destinations for families. A trip to Disney is almost a rite of passage for many children. Throw in New York, Washington D.C., Yellowstone and other natural wonders and the obligatory beach vacation and you could spend the rest of your life touring the U.S. and not see everything.
But many parents long to expose their kids to the wonders the rest of the world has to offer. Unfortunately, that can get expensive in a hurry. Finding cheap international family vacations can be challenging, but it's not impossible.
Where to Go
When searching for cheap International family vacations, destination is one of the biggest considerations. Lots of parents would love to take their kids to Rome, but Italy, like most of Western Europe, can be costly. When budget is a concern, think tropical.
Beach resorts often offer package deals which can save families a lot of money. Search for all-inclusive deals that cover your flight and hotel. Depending on your destination, some of these packages will also include meals and activities as well. Whether your choice is Cancun, The Bahamas, or Central America, package deals are easy to come by. Do your homework and you can save a lot of money.
Cruises are another great way for families to save money while traveling internationally. Cruise costs vary depending on your destination and which cruise line you take, but there are many things that are usually included with your ticket. As a general rule, all meals are included on a cruise, along with use of the facilities like workout rooms and most of the on-board entertainment like shows and kids programs.
You will pay extra for internet access, tips, photographs taken by cruise staffers and a host of other smaller items. Most cruise lines will offer complimentary coffee, tea, milk and juice, but soft drinks and alcohol will cost extra and can add up quickly. You may be able to purchase daily soft drink passes at the beginning of the trip which can add up to big savings.
Search for the best deals and make sure you fully understand what is and isn't included with your ticket to avoid a costly mistake.
If you have your heart set on Europe, it can still be an option. Places like Ireland and many Eastern European countries are a lot less expensive than traditional destinations like France, Italy or England.
Where to Stay
If a cruise or all-inclusive beach locale isn't your choice, you're going to need to find accommodations once you reach your destination. If you're traveling to Europe, check out Eurapart, which lists budget options for hotels, train and rail passes, and even information about long-term rentals. Another great option is Airbnb, which allows travelers to rent rooms, apartments, or even entire houses from private individuals at greatly reduced rates. The site offers rentals from Paris, Texas (really) to Paris, France.
The other big advantage of renting an apartment or house is the ability to prepare your own meals which can mean big savings and also allow you to become a temporary resident of your destination.
What to Pack
Believe it or not, packing correctly can save you money. According to the fee schedule on Delta Airlines website on January 7, 2013, a family of four each checking two bags each could pay as much as $650 in baggage fees alone on a round trip to Europe. PACK LIGHT! Once you know where you're staying, check to see if you can rent or borrow things like irons, hair dryers, curling irons, etc.
In some instances, it may be less expensive to purchase items like small appliances and even clothing once you reach your destination than to bring them with you. In addition, if you purchase a hair dryer abroad you won't have to worry about a power converter and you can simply leave it behind when it's time to go home.
Cheap international family vacations are still possible and the experiences you share with your family can last a lifetime.