I just was lured into an article posted about the 10 must do trips to take with children which included Costa Rica, Rivera Maya, France , London , Peru, and eastern Canada. If that doesn’t make a parent feel badly, what does? Travel is important, but in all honestly traveling to even two of these places would cost a family of 4 easily over $12,000. That’s not something we all have to spend, in fact I know very few families who could afford to take these high caliber trips yearly.
It seems to be a huge push in our society that travel is important to families and children, with this I agree. However, we got a lot out of our trips to Williamsburg, D.C. , Vermont, and Niagara. All cost under $1,000 total for four people and there were plenty of benefits.
So before you go spending your 401k and child’s college fund on what the internet touts as must do trips for all children, step back and travel affordably instead. Plus still be able to save a little for college while you are at it.
My travel tips…
1. Stay regional, draw a 6 hour radius around your home and let the search begin.
2. Keep your vacations shorter than a week, four days costs less and no one is too exhausted or sick of each other by the trip’s conclusion.
3. Travel off season or on off days during the week. Some areas are busy on weekends and rates soar, while others are cheaper weekends when businesses shut down.
4. Include free or cheap activities by taking advantage of parks or museums such as The Smithsonian.
5. Get the free breakfast. I don’t know about you, but I have been known to take some fruit and yogurt from breakfast to stretch for snack. Plus if you stay at Embassy their cocktail hour held us over from another meal out!
6. Stay somewhere with a kitchen to cut down on food costs and a washer and dryer to save on baggage fees.
7. If you are flying, look for popular destinations with cheap and more frequent flights.
8. Be flexible, Travelzoo offers some amazing finds if you are willing to be destination flexible.
9. Day trip. I know living in our region that we can see wonderful sights without splurging for a hotel.
10. Travel off season. This is always a great idea if you have the flexibility . For instance our district used to get out the first week in June, so that made a trip to the beach ahead of local crowds a super frugal choice.
Whatever you decide to do, just know that although yearly trips to Europe or the tropics would be lovely, your child can still be a stellar human without them and you can live debt free!