Affordable vacations may seem more difficult to come by when you’re traveling as a family during the peak summer months. But here are eight tips to follow that show you it can be done.

1 – Start Planning Early

If you really want to get the best deals then you’ll need to start looking for them early. Not only will this help you take advantage of early-bird discounts, but it’ll help to give you the time you need to work out all the details that can lead to lower costs.

2 – Sign Up for Airline Deal Alerts

Another benefit of starting early is that you’ll have time to sign up to airline and travel deal alerts. These can really help when it comes to planning affordable vacations. Be on the alert for any emails noting an upcoming sale or discount for booking at a specific time. Short discounts are often only available for a few days so you should be ready to book when they come up.

3 – Choose Self-catered Accommodation

Self-catered accommodation options make for much more affordable vacations than expensive hotels and even more expensive dining options. When you have the facilities to cook your own meal you’re in control of a huge part of your budget.

4 – Share the Vacation with Family or Friends

If it suits you, then go one step further and book self-catered accommodation that can sleep another family. That way you’ll split the cost between more people and you can even take it in turns to look after the kids while the adults spend some time out.

5 – Ask About Any Possible Discounts

It may seem obvious, but have you thought about asking for specific discounts? Can you get a discount if your kids are under a certain age, or if you’re traveling with seniors? Perhaps they have a family rate that isn’t advertised on their website. You will never know if you don’t ask!

6 – Check Your Daily Newspaper

Although the internet is usually the best place to turn to for travel deals, it’s still worth checking the travel sections in your daily newspaper. During the summer months there are often deals targeted specifically towards families looking to take their kids away.

7 – Book Last Minute Deals

This may contradict point number one, but the truth is that sometimes you will end up saving more by booking at the last minute. The problem with this strategy, however, is that you never know for sure whether it’ll work out. If you’re willing to take the risk then start looking a few weeks before you want to leave.

8 – Opt for a Weekend Getaway

If you really want to save money then opt for a long weekend getaway rather than a full vacation. This way, you can be more flexible when it comes to grabbing those last minute deals.

Affordable vacations are possible for just about everyone, though it will take some initial planning to get things just right. And remember, you’re going on vacation to have some fun. Don’t sacrifice that for the sake of a few dollars!