When time and money are in short supply, it’s your cue to think outside the box. Here are four money-saving ways to make the most of your next family vacation.

1. CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME

When you decide to travel can have a significant impact on the overall price tag of your adventure. Sign up for alerts from sites such as Airfarewatchdog and Kayak as deals become available. Consider traveling during off or shoulder season when crowds are diminished, rates are lower and options for line-free fun abound.

INFO zemibeach.com, airfarewatchdog.com

2. STAY AND SAVE

Depending on your destination, consider chain hotel accommodations where breakfast, Wi-Fi, a gym and pool time are all free. Staying in an Airbnb or VRBO rental can provide expanded space and the option to cook all meals at home. Consider a home exchange with a friend or family member for mega savings. Or search for options using online exchange resources. For families interested in a lengthy list of sporting and dining options in a resort destination, all-inclusive hotels provide great value. If you are a AAA member, military or part of another large group, ask for a discount.

INFO choicehotels.com, hamptoninn3.hilton.com, homeexchange.com, ymcarockies.org

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3. FREE FUN

Check the local convention and visitors bureau website for a menu of options available in your intended location. Be on the lookout for free concerts, expansive public playgrounds, farmers markets, art walks, hiking trails, festivals and library programs. Access the services of engaging tour guides in cities such as New Orleans, Philadelphia, New York, Charleston, Chicago and Berlin. The creative outings, some designed especially for kids, are offered at no charge.

INFO freetoursbyfoot.com

4. AVOID CAR RENTALS

Research public transportation options and available discounts at your vacation spot. In destinations where Uber and Lyft are an option, do the math to determine which makes the most sense. Does your hotel provide free shuttles to and from the airport? Are bike rentals and walking paths a good option for seeing the sights? Even hop-on and hop-off bus tours can combine to provide an entertainment and transportation value.

INFO uber.com, lyft.com