Smiles and Savings: How to Travel for Cheap With Kids

Kids are expensive, and traveling with them can add a significant amount of money to your vacation expenses. They’re other mouths to feed, other people to lodge, and of course, they want every souvenir known to man.

But just because you have kids doesn’t mean that you have to spend a fortune just to take them on a vacation getaway. Here are a few tips to help you travel with children in a more cost-effective way.

Travel mid-week to mid-week.

Most families take vacations from weekend to weekend, and this is actually more expensive. Most places, like theme parks, hotels and airlines, charge more for tickets or accommodations that take place over a weekend, and if you’re traveling weekend to weekend, this is double the expense. Instead, you should opt to travel from a Wednesday to Wednesday. This way, you’ll only be traveling over one weekend instead of two.


Rent a house instead of staying in a hotel.

It’s very possible that you can rent a house for a week or weekend for much cheaper than you’d spend if you were staying in a hotel. Plus, the best part about renting a home is that it comes with a kitchen, and this can be a huge cost savings. If you stay in a hotel, you will be forced to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in restaurants, and feeding a family at a restaurant is extremely expensive. Instead, if you stay in a home, you can stock up on cereal, lunch meat and any other easy breakfast, lunch and dinner items to make and eat before you head out for the day.

If renting a house is not an option, you should try to look for hotels that have a fridge in the room so that you can keep some staple food items on hand.

Go out for lunch.

If you need to eat out, you should try to hit the restaurants just before their lunch menu is over, usually around 2 or 3. Doing so will fill you up enough so that you don’t need to eat a large dinner. Plus, the lunch menu at most restaurants is much cheaper than the dinner menu.

Stock up on coupons.

If you are going to theme parks, attractions or restaurants on your trip, scour the Internet or the company’s website to look for coupons. Then make sure to bring them with you. Check the area that you’re visiting and find a list of restaurants in the area. You will be shocked at how much you can save if you snag a “kids eat free” coupon or some other great deal. Plus, most theme parks will have certain discount offers, and having these before you go can save you a great deal of money in the long run.

Pre-buy souvenirs.

Children want everything, and everyone knows that theme parks and other establishments jack up the prices on their items. Instead of dishing out $30 on a t-shirt, you can always search the Internet or visit your local big box stores in search of souvenirs. For example, if you’re going to Disney World, buy a t-shirt or toy that has Disney characters on there. Then, instead of buying items for your child while there, you can bring the “souvenirs” with you and give it to them on your trip. They’ll be excited to have a new toy, and you’ll be happy that you saved money.

Jessica Brown is a travel agent and avid writer.  She enjoys writing about vacation destinations and recently wrote about the best Bahamas luxury resorts.

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