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Traveling on a Budget with Kids

shutterstock_220182454My husband and I love to travel. It has always been something that we truly enjoy and now as a family, something we want to share with our children. Having kids hasn’t changed our love of travel, but it has changed how we plan for travel, where we go, and how often we travel.

Here are my tips for traveling with little ones on a budget.

  1. We consider how far we are willing to travel – with two under two, our holidays are close to home and as a result much more budget friendly than some of our excursions as a couple. I suspect this will be the case for a few more years. We’re excited to explore our City and many destinations within driving distance.
  2. If we do have to fly, we travel in the off-season. Flight prices can double during holidays and during the summer. By traveling during off-peak times, we save a bundle.
  3. Whether we’re booking flights or accommodations, we always compare prices using travel sites and the hotel or airlines own website. I’ve also heard that flights are cheapest on Tuesdays and within 2 months of traveling (I haven’t tested this yet though).
  4. We decide before, as best we can, what extra activities we want to do. We try to plan our major “must dos” before the trip so that we can budget for them accordingly. Nothing derails a travel budget faster than not accounting for tourist attractions, extra day trips, or going to a special event (sporting event, concert, etc.). This planning also gives us a sense of how much we hope to accomplish and what our trip priorities are which makes everyone happier in the end.
  5. Work a daily food allowance into your budget. I find it impossible to estimate exactly how much our food costs will be so I come up with a generous “per diem” for planning purposes. On some days we spend more and on others less, but it gives us a ballpark while we’re on the road of what we should stick to.
  6. No matter how far we go, we pack reusable water bottles, reusable snack containers/bags, and some non-perishable snacks. (Just make sure the water is safe to drink before drinking it or using it to wash out a food container).
  7. If we have the option, we consider booking accommodations with an equipped kitchen. It makes life significantly easier to be able to prepare meals and cuts down on the dining bill. It also, typically, means a bigger space to live in which is useful when the little ones are moving around.
  8. Explore Groupon or a similar site for your destination city to see if there are any deals on local attractions, restaurants, etc.

Article by MeVest Contributor, Jessica Alen