Our main goal at Kids On A Plane is to share how parents travel with kids without losing their mind or money.
We asked our Meet the Family Travel Blogger Tonya for some tips on how to make family travel affordable and stress free and here is what she had to say:
As a family that has always lived on one income, I understand how difficult it can be to save money in the budget to travel. People ask how we afford to travel all the time.
I wrote a post sharing some of my tips, but I think it’s important to realize that travel doesn’t always cost a lot of money. There are ways to cut back and save money without sacrificing the experience. There have been many times in the past when we’ve traveled for very little money.
1. Know your budget and stick to it.
Nothing creates more stress on a trip than not having enough money.
2. Stay close to home.
When was the last time you visited that historic home across town or stopped in at the museum downtown to see their current display? If you’re anything like me, you may be tempted to ignore the attractions nearby while seeking out “bigger and better things.” Spend time getting to know your own town before branching out.
3. Invest in a reciprocal membership or two.
We’ve probably saved hundreds of dollars over the years with reciprocal memberships. We’ve had annual memberships to zoos, gardens, art museums, science museums. When our kids were younger, we purchased them so we could enjoy the reciprocity benefits. As the kids have gotten older, we’ve noticed that it’s often (not always) less expensive for us to buy an annual membership than to pay full adult admission prices.
4. Don’t over plan or know when enough is enough.
One thing that killed our fun when our kids were little was over-planning or thinking we had to shove too much into a day. If we paid for the zoo, we were going to see the entire zoo even if we hated it. Why? We wanted to get our monies worth. I can’t tell you how many outings left us exhausted with worn out kids until we learned that too much of a good thing is no longer a good thing. This leads me to my next tip.
5. Plan downtime into your getaway.
Even now, with teenagers, we plan downtime, a period of time each day of our trip when I don’t plan anything. I do this for two reasons a) my husband doesn’t believe in returning home tired from a vacation- he’s on vacation to rest and b) we play hard which means my teens need time to recoup and rest or they get cranky.
6. Be flexible and stay positive.
You may plan a fantastic vacation down to the last tiny detail, but life is unpredictable. Planes are late, taxis don’t always show up, bad weather happens, and sometimes hotels get overbooked. Those things are out of your control. The best way to deal with it is to brush it off and roll with the punches and make the most of your predicament instead of making a bad situation worse.
Tonya is married to her high school sweetheart and mom to three great homeschooled teenagers and a rescued pound puppy. She loves to travel, write, take pictures and share travel tips and trip advice with anyone who asks. Tonya writes about fun, family-friendly, educational travel on her blog The Traveling Praters. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.