5 Tips on how to Travel Cheap with Your Kiddos – My Vacation Shorts

It’s no mystery that I like to find a good travel deal.  It was all fine and dandy when it was just me and my husband traveling, but now we have two kiddos and we are still living on one income, so how does one travel for cheap even though they have enlarged their family?  Read on to find out how.

Tip #1:  Google “Kids Stay and Eat Free”
– Tons of hotels and restaurants understand that by catering to the kiddos’ needs, they can get the parent’s business as well.  Many places offer free food or accommodations for kids with a paid adult, so stay and eat at places that offer this kind of deal.  Many restaurants have a day of the week that kids can eat free, and many hotels do not charge for the extra people staying in your hotel room if they are 17 and under.

Tip #2: Buy Souvenirs, Activities, or Prizes (as we call them in our family) before the vacation
– You will save a boatload of money by shopping ahead of your trip.  Buy that Disney themed merchandise ahead of time.  I bought an entire wardrobe for our recent Walt Disney World trip for $30 bucks for the whole family.  That’s the cost of one shirt if you wait to do it at the parks.  I always stock my kiddos’ backpacks with activity books, books to read, and coloring items that are themed to our adventures, but I save a ton of money by buying these things ahead of time.

Tip #3:  Don’t Buy a Kid’s Meal
– You often go out to eat a lot when you travel, and how many times have you bought your kid a kid’s meal and half of it goes uneaten?  Sometimes you are better off buying an appetizer and an entree for yourself and letting them eat off your plate, rather than getting separate kid’s meals.  Sometimes we even tell the kids we are going to eat at this restaurant, but if you share with me we will run by a fast food place when we are done.  Why buy them expensive food they are not going to eat?  But no point in you missing out on the local food fare.

Tip #4: Do Free Stuff
– My kids love hiking, and for most places that is a free activity.  My kids love to play at the playground, and we have found some epic play structures when we travel.  My kids love doing the Junior Rangers programs at National and State parks in the United States.  Hello?!  Free activity books and badges.  You would be surprised how many FREE travel things you can find to do when you plan ahead.  I suggest using TripAdvisor to plan the FREE portion of your trip.

Parents can have as much fun as the kids at playgrounds.

 Tip #5: Be flexible and follow your noses –
When we are traveling to a new destination we always plan the hotel and the travel route we are taking ahead of time, but food and activities we like to leave flexible.  Because we do this, we often find great deals or opportunities we might not have had if we planned every last detail of our trip.  You might call it being spontaneous.  My husband calls it “following our noses,” and when we come across something that looks fun or fascinating, we follow our noses to adventure.  Usually the hikes we find when we follow our noses are some of the most EPIC experiences we have had with our family.

Well there you have it.  My first edition of My Vacation Shorts.  Short tip/advice articles for the traveler in all of us.  Have fun saving some money and finding adventure on your next family trip!

Leave a Reply