It’s never too late to make (or break) Spring travel plans that won’t bust the family budget. With destinations almost fully reopened, choose between hitting the slopes, the sand, taking a cruise or exploring an exciting new city.
Of course, not all families are last minute shoppers. Are you already thinking ahead to summer vacation plans?
Involve Everyone in Travel Research
Whether it’s spring break or summer fun, Involve the kids in the planning process. There is so much information available online now — and kids are more tech savvy than ever. Let them to do the research and suggest an itinerary.
Make sure each member of the family has a say in spring travel plans. Kids appreciate being involved and love being able to choose their own adventure. Virtual tours of museums and historic sites get everyone excited about a visit beforehand. Kids can prioritize what they want to see and be knowledgeable guides when you arrive.
If research requires everyone taking along their electronics, check your homeowner’s policy or buy Baggage Delay or Loss travel insurance. Depending on the coverage, you will get compensation to buy necessities or replace luggage.
Take a Tip from The Locals
Playgrounds are as important as museums when exploring a city like New York. Did you know there are 21 playgrounds serving different neighborhoods just in Manhattan’s Central Park? That’s where kids meet local kids.
Find out where to get the best coffee and pizza in the neighborhood, too, from other parents. Or grandparents, or nannies.
Make Spring Travel Plans with Free Travel Fun
Protect your Spring travel plan budget so there’s always room for a splurge. Wherever you go, alternate free attractions with pricey ones. In cities like New York, check when museums are offering free admission.
City pass savings programs for top attractions are great value, too. City hotels typically are cheapest during the weekends. And opting for a hotel that offers free parking, free WiFi, free breakfast and a mini kitchen where you can prepare a meal can save significant dollars. Add that to the souvenir budget.
Outside cities, look for fun family facilities. Even budget hotels and motels will have a small pool, ball court or a games arcade. What about those breakfast buffet waffle makers? Kids will really love a lazy day at a hotel with a great water play area.
Be Smart About Transportation Plans
Road trippers can use online tools to plan the most fuel-efficient routes, cheapest gas stations and best roadside diners.
Family flyers should book nonstop flights whenever possible. Your spring break or summer travel plan doesn’t have to be one week. Stay a night less to cover the airfare. Midweek fares are typically cheapest too. Some airlines now allow families to book adjacent seats in advance at no extra cost.
Protect Your Vacation Budget
Last minute Spring travel planners often have to pay for hotels, rental cars and other costs in advance. Yet, you must anticipate that staffing shortages, flight delays, inclement weather or just an unforeseen event may impact plans. Travel insurance can cover those costs under certain conditions. Have to interrupt your trip for a reason covered by your policy? In that case, travel insurance refunds your unused non-refundable deposits plus the extra cost to return home quickly.
You may also receive compensation for significant travel delays (delay interval varies by product) to be used for additional lodging, transportation and meals, as long as your policy covers Travel Delays.
Travel Insured and Be Reassured About Medical Issues
Travel insurance may help whether you are delayed, someone gets sick, or a medical emergency causes you to cancel the trip or return early. My family discovered that last Thanksgiving when I got Covid-19 and had to cancel our trip. Our Allianz travel insurance policy reimbursed us for non-refundable costs.
Spring travel plans include a family adventure? With emergency medical coverage, you will receive reimbursement for emergency medical treatment for covered reasons. And with emergency medical transportation coverage, you won’t have to worry about the cost to transport sick or injured family member to the closest appropriate facility. (Which may be back home!) Depending on where you are traveling, medical evacuation can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Break Spring Travel Plans the Smart Way
Breaking your travel plans doesn’t have to be a hassle either.
Kids trying to make the soccer team? Big projects on the work horizon?
Many travelers want the flexibility of being able to cancel their trip because they simply want to change their plans. For the first time, Allianz Cancel Anytime insurance is available direct to consumers as an optional upgrade on some policies. This Allianz travel insurance product, for example, allows you to cancel whenever you want for an array of covered reasons and most other unforeseen reasons.
You may get back 100% of pre-paid nonrefundable costs when you cancel for a reason covered by the policy, and 80% back when you have to cancel for most unforeseen reasons. Exclusions apply so read your policy for details. Cancel anytime insurance keeps all your options open, but premiums are significantly higher. Other travel insurance policies, like some that cover kids free, may be a better fit for your family.
All in all, travel insurance is complicated so make sure to read the fine print. Significant terms, conditions and exclusions apply. Buy early and use the 15-day free review period to fully understand or change, exchange or cancel a policy.
Certainly, traveling with family can be stressful, whatever ages the kids. And anything that can destress the experience of making or breaking your spring travel plans is a good thing.
Author Eileen Ogintz, creator of Taking the Kids and the “Kids Travel Guides” book series, received compensation from Allianz Partners (AGA Service Co.) for this sponsored blog post, and all opinions and tips shared are her own. This article first appeared on Family Travel Forum.