Travelling with Kids Guest Post: Traveling For the Budget-Minded Parent

I want to thank Shereen from the aptly named Shereen Travels Cheap for sharing this wonderful post on being budget minded while travelling:

Traveling For the Budget-Minded Parent

Travel will never be classified as inexpensive and family travel is even further from making it onto that list, but if you think sitting at home is the only way to save money, think again. Summer vacation is coming up fast. Keep your family and your wallet happy with some easy tricks that can help you stay within your budget and have a great time doing it.

Skip the hotel and look for a vacation rental. On average, vacation rentals are three to five times larger than a hotel room, so if you have a bigger family – four or more – then opt for a rental instead of a suite or several rooms. Even if the rate is more, you will save money by being able to cook your own meals and also stock the fridge with snacks and drinks. Other pluses include having separate eating and sleeping areas, not having to put things away and clean up before the maid gets there and often there is a washing machine right in the unit, which brings me to…

Pack light and plan for laundry. Packing light is a challenge even as an adult, but make room for all the extras your little ones want to take or require by packing as few clothes as possible. Five tops and three bottoms will make over two weeks of outfit combinations if you pack coordinating colors. This helps you limit your shoe selection as well. Shoot for one carry-on per traveler. If you have toddlers in tow, you can pack the majority of their clothing in someone else’s bag and put them in charge of carrying a backpack of appropriate size with all the things that will keep them busy in transit. Doing laundry will take up very little of your vacation time and will keep you from paying hefty baggage fees or hurting yourself trying to haul big bags around.

Avoid the kids’ menu. If you want your kids to eat healthy and also save some money, split a main entrée with them or between two of the kids to stop them from eating chicken nuggets for twelve meals in a row. Not only do they have very little nutritional value, they are overpriced. And if your child only eats two bites before saying they are full, you won’t have wasted money on a separate meal.

Look for street food. Food trucks are all the rage and can have some of the best local cuisine. Usually, where there is one food cart, there are many. Order something for everyone’s tastes and save over traditional sit-down restaurants, because you are basically just paying for the food, not the high overhead to keep an eatery open and the staff to run it.

Mix free activities in with paid ones. There are always free or super cheap things to do at any destination. Stretch your dollars further by adding several of them to your itinerary and keeping a list for “emergency” situations. You’ll be surprised how much fun you can have by spending almost no money at all and how much time you can spend doing them.

By keeping a few handy budget-friendly travel tips in your back pocket, you can certainly save a good chunk of money on your trips and also pass them on to your children to teach them that saving money is not only cool, but enables you to save for other things in life, including more travel.

Bio: Shereen is a self-proclaimed budget travel enthusiast and expert discount fun-finder. If savings can be found on some aspect of a vacation, she'll find it, and you can too! Her blog, Shereen Travels Cheap, will show you how to stretch your travel budget to go wherever you want with budget travel tips, current deals, packing tricks, destination overviews and suggested websites and products that can save you money, get you to your desired destination for less and allow you to do more than you thought. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.