5 Ideas for family vacations that are deals this holiday season
If you’re looking for a bargain on family travel, you typically won’t find it over the holidays. That’s because airlines and resorts know that families often are hamstrung by school schedules. In other words, most of us - especially those with older kids - only can travel over Thanksgiving, Christmas, Spring Break, and the summer months.
That being said, there are some destinations that - for one reason or another - are a better deal this year than in the past. We chatted with Kristin Freeman, owner of Beach Happy Travel/Flyover Travel in Kansas City to find those hidden bargains.
So don’t give up hope! You may be able to give your family the gift of travel this holiday season after all.
KidTripster Tip: According to Hipmunk, the best day to get the lowest price on airfare for Thanksgiving this year is October 1; for Christmas, Hipmunk recommends October 15.
Costa Rica is a perfect destination for active families: ziplining, river rafting, rock climbing, biking, volcano tours, and much more. Or you simply can plop down on the beach and soak up some sunshine. What makes Costa Rica a great deal this season? Freeman says round-trip flights from major gateways like Los Angeles and New York City are really well-priced. And look beyond the resorts. “Take a look at vacation rentals or villas on either the Caribbean or Pacific side for extra savings on amazing beach options,” advises Freeman.
KidTripster Tip: The winter months are a prime time for seeing Leatherback sea turtles hatch.
Get our KidTripster Teen’s take on Costa Rica here.
Freeman says Mexico is your best value option for a beach getaway this winter. The flights are inexpensive, short in duration, and plentiful. And all-inclusive resorts in locations like Cancun, Tulum, Cozumel, Riviera Maya, and Playa del Carmen have seen price drops. “With all of the new development happening in this area, pricing has become very competitive,” says Freeman. “It’s is a buyer’s market.”
KidTripster Tip: Mexican resorts do a particularly good job of catering to the “family of 5” crowd with more room options for larger families.
Looking for activities beyond the beach in Mexico? We recommend visiting the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza and swimming in the cenotes in Tulum.
Read more about why our KidTripster Teen loves Tulum here.
3/Hawaii & Puerto Rico... kinda
With news of a volcanic eruption, flooding, and storms, some tourists have been deterred from visiting the Hawaiian Islands, even though most of the damage hasn’t impacted the resort areas and certainly hasn’t impacted all the islands. Freeman says some resorts have adjusted their prices; unfortunately, airfare remains high - even with the entry of Southwest Airlines to the market.
In Puerto Rico, the reverse is true. Airfare is a deal right now, but resorts that have re-opened since last year’s Hurricanes Irma and Maria aren’t offering any particular bargains.
KidTripster Tip: Since airfare is a steal, you may want to consider a cruise that departs from San Juan.
Cruise lines are offering excellent last-minute sailings right now, but cabin options are becoming more limited, so you don’t want to wait to book. “One not to miss is Royal Caribbean and its “Kids Sail Free” option for many of the winter month sailings,” says Freeman. “It offers an excellent value for families.”
Make sure to check out KidTripster’s cruise section for our take on the best in family cruising.
Over the holidays, families are typically eyeing beach or ski vacations. For that reason, it can be the perfect time for budget-conscious families to think about a city stay. For example, Freeman says she’s seeing a lot of discounted, New York holiday packages that include a Manhattan hotel stay, holiday light tours, Broadway shows, and more. And of course, here at KidTripster, we have tons of suggestions for family fun in the Big Apple.