Summer holidays! What better way to introduce this guest post than at the start of the summer holidays? Eman from Content campfire wrote this wonderful piece about traveling as a family. Since I traveled with my family recently and some of you might be about to embark on one, I thought this would be a great article to share.
As the world continues to make great strides in combating the effects of the global pandemic, activities are getting back to normal. After a lengthy time of lockdown, traveling with family is at the forefront of most people’s minds. So, if your family is eager for a post-pandemic trip, you’re not alone. In fact, Expedia says that 2022 will be the year of the GOAT (Greatest of All Trips). Most families are looking for transformative and meaningful travel experiences and plan to go all out on their next vacation.
However, as fun as family trips may sound, planning them isn’t always easy. And staying on budget while traveling with kids is the ultimate challenge. It’s different from solo backpacking or touring as a couple. Don’t worry too much, though, as you can easily overcome these issues with proper planning. In this article, we’ll talk about tips for sticking to your well-thought-out vacation budget on your next family trip.
Choose your destination wisely.
One of the easiest ways to save travel funds is choosing a destination with a low cost of living. Of course, it may be tempting to pick the more convenient options, and that’s also okay. But keep in mind that the location will dictate most of your budget.
Some cool and affordable travel destinations include:
- Asia: Philippines, Malaysia, India, Vietnam, Nepal, Laos, Northern Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Myanmar.
- North- and South-America: Mexico, Colombia, Bolivia, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.
- Europe (or nearby areas): Greece, Poland, Romania, Hungary, The Baltic States, Turkey, Bulgari, Czech Republic, Georgia, and Croatia.
Another element to decide, apart from the “where,” is the “when.” Although most folks love to travel during ideal weather conditions, that also means traveling during peak seasons. And that means expensive plane tickets and higher overall travel costs. Going during less popular weather periods should be an option if you plan to take the whole family on a budget trip.
Of course, this doesn’t mean traveling when it’s freezing or raining all day. It means you should plan your timing and locale hand-in-hand. For instance, if you go to the tropics during school-year holidays, it’ll be shoulder season. Also, bypass visiting destinations during popular events or festivals since accommodations could cost double then!
Take your car with you
Taking your personal vehicle with you is another excellent way to stay on budget. Transportation costs can quickly add up, especially if you travel with children. If your plans require you to take taxis or paid transit frequently, you can save by using your own vehicle. It’s easier to plan, you don’t need to always be in a rush, and you can plan stop-overs wherever you want. Plus, you and your passengers will be much more comfortable along the way!
For longer-distance trips using your car, it’s crucial to research transporting a vehicle from one state to another. You certainly want to know it’ll be ready and in good condition when you arrive and get behind the wheel. Read articles about typical costs, the dos and don’ts, and how to choose a reputable company. Remember to check reviews before entrusting your car to anyone. After all, it’s one of your most valuable possessions!
Lighten your load and rent equipment
If you’re going to ship your car, it’s best to keep it empty or with minimal baggage. Items like cribs, strollers, playpens, beach equipment, and chairs are quite a heavy load. You’ll benefit from renting instead of taking everything with you (or even having them shipped). And yes, most places have all these things for use or rent.
Of course, the availability may depend on how long you need each item and the time of the year. So, remember to check with your accommodations and have everything prepared beforehand. You can always search online for local rental businesses with positive feedback. Then, you’ll be set for a stress- and hassle-free trip.
Prepare proper travel insurance
Travel insurance may sound like a nuisance or unnecessary, but it’s a must-have, especially when traveling with others. You’re always better safe than sorry. It’s also not a precaution to go cheap on, so focus on an option that protects everyone in your party. If in doubt, call an insurance professional with specific questions or concerns. You don’t have to go through the process alone.
Live like a local
Luxurious hotels, fantastic amenities, and unbelievable activities sound like a dream vacation. But these come with a cost and make it even harder to travel on a budget. Curb the expenses by looking for alternatives to costly hotel hopping. One good option is a vacation rental, which you can book for an extended period. Many rental options even offer discounts the longer you stay.
On top of accommodation fees, you’re saving laundromat fees as most rentals come with a washing machine ready for use. You can also take advantage of kitchen appliances and equipment to prepare food. This cuts down on eating out every time and makes family meals much more special, whether dining in or out. These are all huge savings! Plus, staying in one place for longer allows you to get much more familiar with your incredible destination.
Have a snack and souvenir budget for the kids
It can be challenging to resist memorabilia like those cute stuffed animals, magnets, or snow globes. Not to mention how the kids go crazy for the tempting snacks and prizes at amusement parks. Save yourself some stress by setting a snack and souvenir budget no matter where you visit. Discuss it with your family beforehand, so everyone knows what to expect and how much they can spend.
Try to push the souvenir shopping to the last day of your trip so you can make those special purchases as you leave. Another great approach is to give the allotted budget at the beginning of your travels and explain that it needs to last the entire time. This can be a valuable lesson in budgeting funds for your children. In any case, set clear limits and stick to them to get the most bang for your buck!
Family trips can be challenging to plan, but seeing your family have fun and make memories is so rewarding. Keep these tips in mind, and it will be a successful trip for everyone. Remember that family adventures are meant to be enjoyed, so do your planning in advance and let the good times roll. Bon voyage!