Whether the winter winds have left you longing for some sunshine or the prospect of having the kids cooped up at home all summer is making you cringe, you might be keen to get away to the sun-drenched shores, sand, surf, and water sports that a beach destination can offer.  Unfortunately, planning this type of family vacation can come at no small expense.  For the family on a budget, it may seem that a dream beach vacation simply isn’t in the cards.  Hold the phone.  These days it’s easier than ever to find deals and discounts on travel, so you can plan the affordable family beach vacation you’re longing for.  Here are a few strategies to get you started.

Choose your Destination Wisely

Sure, traveling to Hawaii is bound to cost you an arm and a leg, but this island nation isn’t the only beach destination on the globe.  By traveling a bit off the beaten path, so to speak, you could net truly stellar discounts and deals on everything from airfare and hotels to food and entertainment.  You can do some research on your own with online tools like travel sites, especially those that feature user reviews.  You might also want to check in with a travel agent, though, just to make sure the destinations you’re interested in are safe and accommodating.

Travel in the Off-Season

Nearly everyone plans family vacations at two times of year – the summer months and the winter holidays.  The reasons for this are fairly self-explanatory; these are the times when kids are out of school.  However, you will almost certainly find that beach destinations are less expensive all around outside of these peak travel windows.  If you are comfortable taking your kids out of school for a few days after the winter holidays, for example, you could find that you’ll pay as little as half (or less) for lodgings and other travel expenses.  This is a big enough savings that you might be willing to let little Bobby and Suzy make up their homework when you get back.

Try Travel Packages

You might not necessarily gravitate toward package deals because you assume there are aspects of the package you won’t want or you think that hiring a travel agent to put together a package will be too expensive.  Both of these things can be true, but not always.  Sometimes all-inclusive packages can end up saving you a lot of money.  Don’t forget that travel planners often have information and relationships that the average traveler doesn’t, potentially giving them the inside track on better deals than you can find on your own.  All you have to do is let your travel planner know your budget to get started.

Look For Family-Friendly Services

There are a lot of little costs that can quickly add up to major expense when you take the family on a beach vacation.  By searching Hipmunk’s best hotels in San Juan you can try to find family-friendly establishments that offer free amenities in order to cut costs.  Some hotels charge for extra guests in a room (beyond 1-2), some charge for rollaway beds or cribs, some offer no activities or extras for kids, and so on.  Look for hotels that have cost saving extras like on-site restaurants and activities, continental breakfast, and even in-room kitchenettes (to save on food).  You can also speak with the concierge to find out about partnerships with local businesses for deals on entertainment and activities.