Stress-Free Travel Tips for Parents Who Want to Save Money
Traveling with young children can be a life-altering experience, allowing them to explore and learn about different cultures. However, it can also be a stressful time for parents who are trying to maximize fun on a tight budget. The good news, however, is that you can have a blast with your little ones on any trip without breaking the bank; the key is to stay organized and be prepared. By planning for your journey in advance and thinking about how you’ll handle any situation, you can take the stress out of traveling with the kids. Here’s how!
Make Life Easier
One of the best things you can do for yourself during a trip with the family is to make things easier. Think about how you’ll manage equipment — strollers, infant carriers, sports gear — while your little ones are around. If you’ll be bringing the family dog along on the trip, consider how you’ll keep him safe and clean up after him. For those who are camping or will have access to a park, waste bags are a must; if you have a baby or toddler who will be in your arms while you take the dog out, a pooper scooper that can be used with one hand will make life much easier. You can find several on the market these days that are inexpensive, easy to clean, and will load into the car with no fuss, so check out various models to see which one is right for you.
Pack Simple Snacks
Whether you’re going to fly or stick to the road, you’ll want to have various healthy and easy snacks for the kiddos (and for yourself). Not only will this save you money by preventing the need for stops or purchasing overpriced items along the way, but it will also help everyone in the family keep their energy and mood up during the trip. Little ones often don’t eat big meals, so having snacks that will fill their tummies is essential. Cheese and/or peanut butter crackers, raisins, string cheese, trail mix, fruit and cereal bars, and dry cereal are great, budget-friendly options that can be kept in a resealable plastic baggie or a small cooler.
You can also book a hotel that offers free breakfast, or look for a room that includes a small kitchen area so you can make a few meals yourself. This is a great way to save money.
Plan for Activities Ahead of Time
Since planning ahead is the best thing a parent can do before a trip, it’s essential to think about which activities you’ll be doing on the trip before you leave so you can look online for coupons and deals. Museums, zoos, aquariums, and other family-friendly spaces sometimes offer specials on certain days or during certain times of the year, so if you can plan your trip around those, you can save quite a bit of money. It’s also a good idea to check their websites to get a feel for rules and additional fees; for instance, some businesses only allow strollers on a certain day, while others charge extra for specific attractions.
Get Creative with Souvenirs
When traveling, it can be hard for kids to resist the call of the souvenir shop, but those little trinkets will really eat into your budget. Instead of buying toys and stuffed animals, encourage the kids to pick out a postcard from the city you’re in and write a little note on it for them. You can mail it to your home so that when you return, they’ll have fun surprise mail waiting for them. Not only is this a more budget-friendly option, but it will also prevent the family from adding to their luggage, which will save you money on the return trip if you’re flying. Or, you can stay away from the gift shops and tourist areas to find something unique and much cheaper.
Traveling with little ones can turn from joyous to nightmarish at the drop of a hat, but if you’re well-prepared, you can save money and reduce the stress that comes with taking a trip. Create some traveling rules for the kiddos — along with some rewards — to help them make the most of the journey for the whole family.