Traveling with kids is always a memorable experience, who doesn’t like some quality family time? However, it is also possible to go quite overboard with your budget when traveling with kids. Unforeseen expenses are common since kids are spontaneous and can demand anything at any time.
However, savvy parents know that with a bit of planning, you can save a lot of money while traveling with kids. Here are some smart tips on saving money while traveling with kids.
Consider Renting a Baby Car Seat
If you don’t commute with your baby, chances are you won’t have a baby car seat. However, you may be left with no choice once a family vacation comes up and you absolutely have to take the baby with you. Obviously, a baby car seat becomes obligatory in this case.
Fortunately, you don’t have to shell out for a brand new baby car seat, there are more options to consider as well. The best of these options perhaps, is to rent a baby car seat. These are available at extremely affordable prices and are usually of a very good quality.
Just make sure that you ask the rental company if they properly sanitize the baby car seats after every rental is done.
Fly When They’re Young
Did you know that most airlines won’t charge you extra if you’re flying with a child under 2 years of age? So as long as you have a baby, you will be able to fly with no extra costs. Flying has obvious benefits, with the biggest advantage being that you’ll reach your destination in a much shorter amount of time.
Value the years while they’re young, as when they’re older, you’ll have to pay much more for flying with your family.
Choose Off-Peak Days to Save Money
Traveling with kids can become quite restricted once they’re in school, since you’ll have to travel on weekends. However, if it’s possible, consider requesting the school to give them some days off during the week so you can score some cheaper tickets.
Traveling on off-peak days can save you a lot of money in airfare, especially if you’re traveling during popular school breaks.
Create a Budget and Stick To It
We all love to pamper our kids with anything they want, but this can often lead to unreasonably high travel expenses. Before you set out on your trip or vacation, create a detailed travel budget and stick to it, no matter what the case.
We’d go so far as to suggest making an Excel sheet with details such as daily accommodation, rental, food and entertainment costs. Sure this might seem like you’re going overboard and being stingy with your kids, but you don’t want to waste your hard-earned dollars on a vacation.
Travel with a Cash or Debit Only Policy
Leave your credit card at home when traveling. You may be tempted to treat your kids to a fancy meal or upgrade your accommodations just so the young ones feel really special on the trip. However, it’s you who’s going to be responsible for paying off your credit card.
So create a budget and stick to it, and leave your credit cards at home before setting out on your vacation.
Book Hotels that Offer Free Breakfasts
The thing to remember while traveling with kids is that they usually lack discipline. So while you may be used to getting up, showering and dressing up for the day ahead and then having breakfast, your kids might not be so patient.
This is why hotels that offer free breakfasts are a family’s best friend. They’ll serve delicious (hopefully) breakfast whether or not you’re ready, so the kids can satiate their appetite while you can focus on getting ready and preparing for the day ahead.
Download Entertainment for the Journey
Kids can often be pesky during long journeys. ‘Are we there yet?’ is a phrase that’s all too familiar to most parents. So instead of stopping at malls or shops just for the sake of providing the kids with some entertainment, why not download some ahead of time?
Smartphones are a great way to let the kids have fun while you enjoy your drive. Not only will they stay busy with either playing a game or watching their favorite cartoon, but you’ll also save money by not making unnecessary stops.
Pack Your Own Snacks
Kids love snacks, and when you hear “mommy, I’m hungry”, you simply can’t refuse. Buying snacks can get quite pricey, so be sure to pack some quick eats you prepared fresh at your home. This serves two purposes. Firstly, your kids will be able to eat something healthy instead of junk food. Secondly, you’ll save money by doing this.
Just make sure that the quick eats you pack aren’t just sandwiches. Make something exciting so that the little ones can’t complain.
Book Accommodations with a Kitchenette
Eating out can quickly become one of the biggest expenses while you’re out on a vacation. However, you can save money here by simply booking accommodations that come with some basic kitchen equipment such as a microwave, fridge or a stove.
This way, you’ll be able to cook healthy food that you know your kids will love while also saving significantly when it comes to food costs of the trip.
Choose Eating Spots Where Kids Eat for Free
You’ll often find restaurants where kids under the age of 12 can get a free meal. You’ll come across a lot of family-friendly restaurants, but that’s just a marketing gimmick to charge extra for kiddie meals.
Book Activities Online
One of the most tedious parts of a family vacation is queuing for tickets. However, you can easily avoid this by planning in advance the activities and places you want to visit during your vacation, and going online to buy tickets for them.
This not only saves you time you’ll otherwise spend queuing, but it’ll also save you money. Online prices are usually lower and you can often get discounts for buying packaged tickets.
Look for Exciting Activities that are Free
Kids activities often come at a reasonably high cost, so it’s always a good idea to scope out exciting and fun activities that come with no cost. This can be as simple as going to a beautiful park or a natural place.
You’ll often stumble upon free activities such as a free concert. Simply check online at local listings for the activities planned for your dates and you’ll save money while entertaining your kids.