Budgeting for the Best Places to Travel with Kids
There’s still time to book a trip to some of the best places to travel with kids. Since my kids are home schooled, we are starting back with school a littler later than usual to enjoy some more summer travel. After booking a REALLY neat family expedition that we’ll take soon, I’d like to give you some tips on how we are saving money on our last family vacation for the summer.
What are the best places to travel with kids? Any place with kid-friendly accommodations that won’t cost you an arm and a leg. I usually call ahead and ask the hotel or activity host if they can easily accomodate children. Once I confirm everything is kid-kosher, I get to work on finding ways to save on our travel arrangements.
After booking a few successful, low-budget family vacations, here are the things I’ve found that will make your family travels little easier on the wallet.
1) Cook Food
We like to experience places like locals anyway, so that makes AirBnb.com the perfect arrangement for us: we can stock our fridge with snacks and groceries in stead of eating out for every single meal. If you don’t know, AirBnb.com is a website that connects travelers to local hosts for temporary stays.
You can rent anything from a house, condo to boats, tents and yurts. AirBnb.com spots are especially helpful when you are traveling for longer periods of time because most places you’ll rent from AirBnb.com will have a full kitchen (check the listing details to be sure.) Eating out often can get expensive, so AirBnb.com home-like accommodations can definielty come in handy.
2) Pack Snacks
On our last trip to the Dominican Republic, I made the mistake of not packing enough snacks for our 2 and a half week trip and had to get more food than I wanted to at the nearby, high-priced convenience stores. I only got what I needed to tide us over on the plane. Turns out, the snacks lasted about 3 days longer than I thought and were a total God-send for our treks to the beach and throughout town. Next time, I’m committing to bringing more snacks (we never use all of our allotted bags anyway.)
Wondering what kind of snacks do well? I’d say things like nuts, meat jerkies, pop-corn, trail-mix and small fruit. You want to look for things that don’t require refrigeration and are healthy.
We once loaded up on these St. Dalfour Gourmet on the Go Meals. They were great in the terminal, on the plane and when we landed. Plus, kids like pretty much all the flavors they offer: tuna & pasta, wild pink with vegetables, three beans with sweetcorn, pasta and vegetables and couscous.
3) Use Airline Points
We are faithful Southwest travelers because of the convenience, price and the points. That’s right. You get loyalty points just for flying with them! With a family of four, travel can get pricey. We defray those costs by using airline loyalty points for our trips.
If you decide to fly Southwest, make sure that you get all of the travelers in your group signed up for the Rapid Rewards program. Then watch the points rack up. (There are other airlines that offer loyalty programs, but Southwest is the airline and points program we use.)
We try to build up points so that we can travel for free. If you don’t have enough points, you can buy additional points to cover your airline ticket at a discount.
If you’d like to take your point game to the next level, consider signing up for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card.
Once you sign up for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card you can get extra points a few ways:
- Spending a certain amount in 90 days (gets you 50,000 points)
- Earn 2 points per $1 spent on Southwest Airlines and Rapid Rewards® Hotel and Car Rental Partner purchases
- Earn 6-12 points per $1 spent on your Southwest fare on top of what you earn when you use your card.
- Earn more points when you shop through Rapid Rewards Shopping®
- Earn 3 points per $1 spent at Rapid Rewards Dining® partners on top of what you earn when you use your card
- Referring friends to sign up for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card
Ready to add more points to travel more? Apply for the Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card. (You will get an email from Chase with further instructions.)
Disclaimer: Do not use a credit card if you are in debt or cannot PAY THE BALANCE IN FULL EACH MONTH. Credit card debt, interest and fees can be very costly and negate your travel savings if you do not pay your balance off each month! This strategy is for the financially healthy only.
4) Use Referral Programs
I just did a popular monster post on top paying refer-a-friend programs. It was pretty popular because it can help you save up for so many things, especially travel. In case you don’t have time to read the entire thing, I’l highlight a few you can sign up for that would be useful for travel savings:
- Uber or Lyft (taxi services)
- Get Around (like Airbnb.com but for cars)
- Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards credit card
5) Business Trip Tag-a-Longs
For the last 8 years, I ran a database consultancy from home and had to travel to cool places like San Antonio, Las Vegas, Philadelphia, Florida and Texas. On a few of these trips, my husband and kids tagged along. Since my clients paid for the hotel, it was easy to use airline points to book additional tickets. Plus, since I was getting paid, this added to the “net” cost of the trip. As long as we came out on the positive end, I’d be satisfied with our spend for the trip. If you can make money while on the road, you come out even better, which leads me to my next point.
6) Make Travel Your Job
Writing about financial freedom naturally leads me to the topic of travel. Add travel and home schooling to a blogger’s life and you are bound to get a few gigs talking about how to manage it all!
I can’t spill all the details at the moment. But I am planning a pretty awesome trip with the family that will be about 97% covered with air fare, hotel, car rental, food and excursions.
How? Well, since I am a blogger, I can work with brands to exchange “comp’d” or complimentary goods in exchange for reveiw on my blog or a mention in my social media channels. Additionally, I can go out and write pieces for travel sites or magazines ranging from $100-$500 per article. I’ve gotten access to things like water parks, restaurants, excursions and more.
The only thing here is that you have to make sure you get your deliverables out there and visible for your client to see. You don’t want to ruin your reputation for not executing on your end of the deal!
If you are interested in starting a blog to write about whatever it is you’re passionate about, check with BlueHost.com to get a website for as little as $3.45/month. If you use my BlueHost.com referral link, I’ll send you a 10-video tutorial, plus a PDF resource guide on how to start and grow your blog.
It’s a really sweet deal to be able to get paid for what you love to do! (Remember, you can always try to weave in travel stories like I do!)
Interested in freeing up more money for more travel? Check out my free eBook, Get Out of Debt Now. It will help you dump debt and begin to live a financially free lifestyle to make room for travel or whatever it is you’d love to do if money weren’t an issue!