So, Liam & I are trying a new fun format for a blog post this morning. We took to Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram Stories to gather some questions from family hoping to do more travel this year! What i ended up doing because I had some duplicate questions was combining the essence of the question to answer!
Can you share your PRACTICAL tips for saving money on trips?
Absolutely! Drive when you can (spoiler alert: we love to do road trips. I feel they are so much easier with kids than plane rides) Try to stay with friends or find a hotel/resort with a kitchenette! I really recommend using holiday villas aswell. They’re super easy and I love having my own privacy and space. If you want to stay in a hotel, have your groceries delivered to your room and cook one or two meals a day in your room. If you’re in a villa, do a weekly shop and then cook in the villa every chance you get. I honestly find meals to be a big money sucker. Share plates with kids, look up kids eat free nights where you’ll be traveling, Decided in advance what activities you’d like to do on your trip so you can research coupons or free nights. (For example, when we visited a beach city recently we learned they have free Fridays) so we added that to our Friday schedule and saved 160 bucks on tickets! If you are really passionate about saving on your travel consider camping or other nature-centric locations. For us, we visited the Oregon Coast and spent a ton of time watching for whales or staring at sea lions. It was free, and the kids LOVED IT. Another fun one is researching free factory tours wherever you might be visiting. We visited Tillamook Cheese Factory and the samples ended up being our lunch.
Advice on sleeping arrangements and keeping kids on a schedule during travel?
My boys are huge schedule people, they thrive with routine. Based on what my friends have said, I think this is pretty common with kiddos. In my experience, maintaining routine on vacation can really make the trip more pleasant for all. My biggest advice would be leave marginal time in your schedule to go back to the hotel for a two hour nap or a movie break. If you’re traveling to a different time zone consider moving their schedule up a few days in advance so it isn’t such a shock. Try to keep bedtime as close to regular time as possible. If you can, splurge on the suite. We love having the option to put our kids on one side of the hotel and enjoy adult time on the other side. As for sleeping arrangements, ask if they can provide a crib or a pack and play so you don’t have to pack one. Our kids can now comfortably share a queen size bed, but when they were younger we’d lay them horizontally on the bed and put a pillow between them and make two separate mini beds. I think the biggest advice I have in this department is ALL.THE.GRACE. Don’t go on vacation expecting your kids biological clocks to register its vacation and start sleeping until 10:00 am.
What about finding play spaces on the road?
When I saw this question, I was like.. DAMNNNNN.. that’s a good one! This is especially a great question if you follow my other advice and take road trips! So, if you are traveling by car with kids I urge you to chart your course in advance. There will be times you have to stop unscheduled, because your three old is having his 45th nosebleed of the car ride. (speaking from experience) but if you can be strategic and choose some stopping points in advance, finding play areas are way easier. We like to stop at McDonald’s play area. and we intentionally chose a few bigger cities with great restaurants and fun Children’s Museums. For me, I know a rest stop can be a great outdoor play area and some even have parks along the way. So, I focus on indoor options.
How do you stay sane?
This is a hard one. We enjoy travel, so its a bit easy for us to dive in and appreciate the adventure among all the crazy. We find things go smoother when we try to maintain some kind of normal routine, don’t eat too much junk food, and keep our expectations at a minimum.
Audiobooks, coloring books, color wonder, snacks.
Flight advice with kids?
While we all wish we could fly Jettly and have our own private plane where our kids can jump around as much as they like, most of us have to go on commercial flights. My best friend just made this suggestion, have your kids sit behind other kids. Kids are more forgiving for those wiggly moments that will inevitably happen. Pack snacks, crayons, tablets, and lots of patience.
How do you choose a destination?
This really depends on your family and your interests. We are huge beach/coast people. I love to be in the sand, and my kids love to be in the water. My idea of a perfect vacation looks like coffee by the ocean with a good book and giggling kids in the background. With that said, we also like to push ourselves out of that bubble with new activities. So, I’d suggest taking a long look at your family’s interest and find a fun vacation that is in your budget!
My random tips:
Visit the local thrift store for unique, cheap souvenirs.
Order grocery delivery to your hotel room. Even if there’s no kitchenette you can get some great snacks!
Always ask if there are discounts for kids under a certain age.
Research birthday freebies or military discounts if you’ll be traveling with military people or someone celebrating a birthday!