You want to get the most bang for your buck when you travel. And this is certainly true when traveling with children. For many parents that I have spoken to, it’s the fear of the cost of travel that holds them back the most. And it’s certainly a concern for us as well. We were a little bit worried about how we were going to manage our finances when we set out on a five month backpacking adventure with our infant son. Some of the ways that we traveled on the cheap in the past, like hitchhiking, was no longer feasible.
So we asked some of the web’s best Family Travel Bloggers to share their money saving tips with us, and here is what they had to say….
Don’t buy too many toys
Nancy from FamilyOnBikes, who cycled from Alaska to Argentina with her family has this to say:
“Kids don’t need much. Our society tells us that kids will be “deprived” if they don’t have all the latest toys and gadgets but really, they don’t. Give each child a toy or two and they’re happy. That way, you can save your money for experiences while you travel – and make wonderful memories along the way. In the photo, notice the little blue monkey strapped to the back of the tandem bike? That monkey traveled with us all the way from Alaska to Argentina!”
Make sure to follow all their travel adventures on the Family On Bikes facebook page.
You can read more about Family on Bikes and travel with children in our interview here.
How to save money when feeding kids on the go
Talon is a solo Dad traveling with his son around the world. He writes over at 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure. They have been traveling since 2011.
“One of the ways we save money is to rent a place through a website like AirBnB or Wimdu. The prices are often cheaper than a hotel’s, but even when they aren’t when you figure in the savings of having a refrigerator and kitchen at your disposal, it’s HUGE. Especially with kids. The more mouths you have to feed, the more expensive eating out is. We can buy snack foods in bigger sizes which is cheaper. We fix a lunch before we leave the place so that we aren’t eating out as much. Eating out really adds up quickly. It also gets you out of the typical tourist areas so that nearby stores are usually less expensive as well.
Additionally, I’d recommend looking into house sitting. We have saved thousands of dollars by doing house sitting as we’ve traveled and have ended up in some wonderful places like a home on a beach on an island in Thailand or in the middle of an oasis in Morocco. Because of house sitting, we were able to stay for an extended time in traditionally expensive countries like Australia and New Zealand.”
Make sure you keep up with Talon and Tigger on their facebook page.
You can read more about 1 Dad, 1 Kid and travel with children in our interview here.
Erin from Travel with Bender has traveled extensively with her two young children. She offers this advice:
“Have you had that moment when you leave a restaurant embarrassed and annoyed with the plate of food your child left on the plate? Traveling with kids you are more likely to be eating out and so I’m going to give tips on food budgeting while travelling.We have been travelling nomadically with our two kids since they were 2 & 3 so my tips are for young kids. When eating out consider the prices of the kids meal verses an adults meal. Often parents just go straight for a kids menu, but quite often one adult meal will feed 2 or 3 kids, especially in the US. When travelling Australia you can check for restaurants that offer a free kids meal with any adults meal. When road tripping do a grocery shop and always carry plastic knives, a loaf of bread and a unrefrigerated spread like peanut butter, Nutella or Vegemite. And above all introduce kids to street food. Street food in Asia is the cheapest food you will come across and if the kids are interested in trying new things you will be saving plenty of money by simply eating on the street.”
How to save money on accommodation when traveling with kids
Bethany is one of our travel blogger friends from New Zealand. She writes about travel with a toddler at Flashpacker Family. You can also follow her on facebook.
“The best things we do to keep our budget in check is bring our own inflatable toddler bed. It weighs under 2kgs, pumps up in five minutes, packs into it’s own bag and has a detachable sleeping bag cover. Travelling with this has saved us a tonne on paying for extra beds in hotel rooms or having to book two bedroom apartments. “
You can read more about her in our interview here.
Theodora travels the world with her son. She has been traveling the world with her son for four years now with no plans to stop any time soon. She writes about her travel and parenting adventures at Escape Artistes.
“Stay cheap so you have more money to spend on experiences, food and fun. That could be taking long term rentals — for a month or more — going for very simple spots like beach huts, seeking out triple rooms, opting for fan cooling rather than AC, or staying in prefab tents. You’ll almost always find the cheapest deals by looking locally rather than online.”
Read more about Theodora and travel with children in our interview here.
“Make use of booking.com. This website allows you to search based on number of children, rooms, price points, and other specific categories. You don’t have to pay anything until you arrive. Even more importantly, the guarantee is very helpful! If for any reason there is a problem with the booking, a single call to booking.com’s support desk will take care of everything!”
You can learn more about Kalli’s travel lifestyle with her son on our interview here.
“My money saving tip for traveling with the family is to stay as long as possible because the flights are the most expensive part of an overseas holiday and buy a car because rental cars always eat into the travel budget and having your own wheels is the best way to travel with kids.I know all that seems counter-intuitive but the longer you spend travelling the more you’ll get in the swing of family travel and enjoy it and if you really want to see a place you need your own transport. I guess it’s a case of spending more to save more so that you have more fun and a more rewarding travel experience.”
” I would say ‘long-term’ travel is one of the best ways to save money while traveling with kids. If you plan to go somewhere for a longer time period, it gives you money saving options, such as renting a house instead of staying in hotels, cooking your own food instead of eating out all the time, and having more time to slowly explore the intricacies of an area, instead of hopping from one tourist attraction to the next (plus all that go, go, go can be rough on the whole family.)”
Take the train
Cam and Nicole have just recently had their second son and their site has tons of great information about traveling with a baby. They were a favourite resource of ours before we set off on our adventure with baby. Make sure to also check them out on facebook.
“If planning a trip to Europe with kids, when in Europe take the train. Train travel is easy, convenient and a really budget friendly option. But, you should buy your train tickets in advance while still in your home country, ideally 2 or 3 months prior to travel. If you will be traveling in peak season or on popular routes then pre-book with seat reservations.By purchasing ahead instead of at the train station in Europe, this will save you at least 50% off the local ticket price.”
Travel in the Off – Season
“Travel off season! In many countries there are distinct seasons and the cost savings for travel in off off peak times can be staggering. Everything from accommodations to food will reveal savings while at the same time you will enjoy less fellow travelers making for less overwhelming excursions.”