Naturally, you want take your larger family vehicle, but if you won't be driving much once you arrive at your destination, consider taking whichever family vehicle is more fuel efficient. With gas prices hovering near $3/gallon again, this will save you money getting to and from your destination.
This is a big one: Stay somewhere with cooking facilities so you can cook your own food. You'll automatically save money because you won't be forced to eat out for every meal. Plain. And. Simple.
Travel experts say that this is a major way to save cash when you travel with your family. "When budgeting for a vacation, families often underestimate how much they'll spend on food. But when your family eats out three meals a day, every day, for an entire week, your total food bill can easily hit quadruple digits," says Kelleher.
Consider suite-type accommodations, which have kitchens, or rent a house or condo for a week. "Weekly rates often offer big savings over hotel rooms. Vacation rentals also offer plenty of space and great amenities for families, ranging from video games and private pools to barbecues and beach toys," says the TripAdvisor expert.
Looking for something truly adventuresome? Pack up the car with your sleeping bags and tents and head to a campground. Camping can cost as little as $20 a night, leaving plenty of money to spend on excursions and other adventures while you are traveling. Check out Reserve America and KOA to find campgrounds near your destination.
Choosing a hotel in the next town over from your intended destination can save you big time. For instance, while a hotel near Sturbridge, Massachusetts, will cost in the hundreds, one just over the border in Connecticut might run less than $60/night -- and it's only about 10 minutes away!
Do your homework, though. "Be sure to check which hotels and attractions other travelers have found to be the most family-friendly on their trips," says the TripAdvisor expert.
Heading to a theme park? Souvenirs at places like Disney and Hershey Park are expensive, so hit the dollar store before you go, and scour the Internet for souvenirs. Your kids will still love them, but they won't cost you an arm, leg and kidney.
Or skip the souvenirs completely and focus on pictures instead. "Instead of buying gifts, share your vacation experience with family and friends by taking pictures of your adventure and creating an online photo journal. Get the kids involved in writing about the trip," suggests travel expert Jenny Reed, who writes Travel Talk with Jenny.
Many families love traveling together for a lot of reasons. It's a good time, because more people equals more fun -- and what kid wouldn't want to vacation with their friends or cousins? Traveling as a group means you can divide some expenses, too.
"Are there several families you know that would like to vacation this summer? Plan a trip together, rent a vacation home and split the costs of food and gas," says Reed. Indeed, renting a house for a few more people won't raise the weekly rent much, but it will lower your costs because you can divide it between the families.
Sure, tourist destinations are interesting, but they are also costly. Instead, immerse yourself in the locale you visit by checking local newspapers, websites and the like for cheap and free things to do.
For instance, if you visit Cape May, New Jersey, nearby Wildwood is a lot of fun -- but you can head to the Cape May Zoo for free. You also can pick up some good info from the local business association. "Search for the local visitor's bureau online and ask for a visitor's packet," says Reed.