The following post was contributed by a reader of The Practically Green Mom.
If you wait until your children graduate to go on vacation, you are likely to get a little crazy before then. Travelling makes for valuable family bonding time, and everyone can use a change of scenery once in a while. Travelling with children is always going to be a little more complicated and expensive than travelling alone, but it doesn’t need to feel impossible. Just change the way you plan and make a few extra considerations.
- Find Free Things to Do
Children have more of a concept of fun than they do of money. No matter where you go, there’s likely to be free (or cheap) things for your kids to do. Some destinations across the world have children’s museums, playgrounds, and even waterparks that are free. If you spend a few days devoted to these free activities, your budget will go much further.
- Buy Groceries
When you’re eating out, dinner for two every night can get really expensive. Dinner for four or more is almost astronomically pricey. When you get to your destination, find a grocery store. Stock up on staples (things like snacks and juice boxes) that you ordinarily go through quickly. Buying shelf stable things like peanut butter, bread, and fruit is always a good plan. You can pack picnic lunches for days where your family wants to explore nature.
- Economize on Accomodations
Fitting your whole family in an entire hotel room can feel like a logistical nightmare. Because of this, you might opt for a suite. Accommodations become super expensive, especially if you’re going to be gone for a while. It might be more economically efficient to opt for a short term rental. You’ll have more space, and you won’t pay nearly as much. You might even be able to stay away for longer.
- Buy Reusable Containers
Think of all the toiletries and small things that your children will need to carry with them. Every time you travel, you need to buy more. Instead, buy everyone their own set of refillable bottles. Whenever you want to travel, you can pack from your supply at home and use the bottles indefinitely. It’s better for the planet, and it’s better for your budget in the long run.
- Book Your Flights in Advance
Almost every airline requires passengers over the age of 2 to have a full priced adult ticket. If you’re going somewhere you can’t reasonably access by land transportation, buy those plane tickets months in advance. Tickets are always at their cheapest when you book them far ahead of time. As the departure date grows closer, tickets might even double in price.
- Take Advantage of The Time They Sleep
No matter how you’re getting to your destination, it might be wise to plan your travel time for when your kids are asleep. You’d be surprised how much time and money this can save you. If you’re flying on a plane, it may not make a difference. If you’re going by car, you’ll find that you’ll be less likely to have to pull over for bathroom stops, snacks, or things to entertain your children when they get restless. You’ll get better gas mileage and spend less on impulse purchases along the way.
- Coupon Everywhere
Groupon and other sites like it exist in almost every country. No matter where you’re going, you’ll probably be able to find discounts on things like food and entertainment through couponing sites or apps. Try to make your plans around what discounts are available. You might even be able to find deals where kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal.
While you might need a much larger budget and a much more flexible schedule to travel with your children, you won’t have to wait on a huge inheritance to be able to spend a week on the beach. If you’re thrifty and clever at home, you can be thrifty and clever anywhere.
About the Author:
Sienna Walker is a huge fan of travelling, both to well-known and famous places as well as to the ‘off the beaten path’ locations. Currently supporting Aubiz, Sienna might often be found online, sharing her tips and suggestions with readers. Feel free to follow her on @SiennaWalkerS.