When it comes to traveling with little ones, vacations can feel too challenging to plan. But it doesn't have to be! With a little savvy, you can easily put together a wonderful trip for the family, and avoid putting a hole in your wallet. Here are some tips, presented by Little Teether.
A Plan for the Kids
When you've got young ones to amuse and you know you're going to be on the road for an extended period of time, make sure you have a list of ideas to occupy them. Put together a bag filled with toys, coloring books and crayons, their tablet and any other item that can help them stay distracted. Don’t forget to grab some snacks and water so you don’t suffer an afternoon meltdown because your toddler is hangry.
Take Stock of Your Ride
If a road trip is on the agenda, Popular Mechanics explains you’ll want to have your car serviced a few weeks before your trip. In addition to maintenance, you’ll want to review your auto policy to see if you’ve got enough coverage. If you need to bump it up, hunt around for a few quotes to get policy comparisons to see if you can find a deal. Note that certain factors like where you live and your driving record will determine your premiums.
Once you’ve got the major details associated with your car worked out, put together an emergency kit and go ahead and throw in an atlas, just in case your GPS can’t connect. The last thing you want is to be lost in an unknown city with a bored toddler in the backseat.
Explore Online Discounts
When you're planning a family trip, check online to see if you can find any good discounts. Many websites offer access to deals where you get a little bonus thank you via discounted prices or cash back for things like flights, hotels, concerts and more. With a promo code or coupon handy, you could book a trip to Disney or Universal Studios and save on bundled prices without having to search super hard for the best deal. You can keep the kids happy with fun attractions, and you’ll keep your budget happy with the savings you enjoy.
Travel During The Off-Season
If your children are really young and don't have a school schedule to abide by yet, Mint suggests trying your hand at traveling to destinations during their off-season. Many locations offer lower prices when they're not making a killing off of tourists. Not only will you avoid the higher prices on things like amusement parks, but you'll have less of a crowd to deal with and be able to enjoy a more personal family vacation.
Have a Souvenirs Plan
We’ve all seen moms and dads in gift shops with a screaming kiddo, and we all know the feeling that accompanies this situation. To avoid this situation, plan ahead. Try buying trinkets before you leave and stash them in your bag, or do your best to set expectations before any excursions where you anticipate a glut of souvenir shops. Not always easy with a toddler, but worth the effort. Another option is to start a small souvenir fund. You can even ask your kids to help you remember to add change all the time and watch it add up.
Credit Cards Are For Emergencies
It's nice to have a credit card to fall back on when you want to spend money on something you think you've earned, but when you're on vacation it's important to make sure you don't overspend and blow through your budget. Try to pay with your debit card or cash only so that you don't return home with a bill that charges you interest and stresses you out. Nobody enjoys paying more than they've actually spent. Try to only use your credit card for an emergency.
Don’t Rule Out a Staycation
If traveling simply isn’t in the cards right now, or you simply don’t have enough room in your budget for an extended getaway, don’t rule out a staycation. Chances are, there are many places and activities that your family hasn’t experienced around Phoenix, giving you a great reason to stick around town. And if you want to jazz things up, rent a local vacation property near some of the places you’d like to visit (the Phoenix Zoo, for example, is just one of the many places around town worth visiting). You’ll get to enjoy staying somewhere else while sticking close to home.
Don’t let the idea of traveling with small children throw off vacation plans. You can tackle this challenge head-on, and now you’ve got some ideas to make it happen.
Emily Graham - Mighty Moms