4 Money-Saving Tips for Traveling with Your Kids
One of the greatest financial challenges you might face as a parent is how to afford a fun and memorable summer vacation for your family. If you are struggling to maintain a budget, making travel plans can be stressful. After all, the average cost of a summer trip can cost up to nearly $5,000 for a family of four, according to a 2016 report, especially if you are headed to a major amusement park. If you are planning on traveling with your kids this summer, there are a few money-saving strategies you can employ to keep your budget in check.
1. Planning Is Essential
One of the quickest ways to waste money on a family vacation is to strike off toward your destination without a travel plan. While the idea of an adventure and going where the wind takes you might sound like a vacation unto itself, it can result in unexpected expenses that can quickly blow your travel budget.
Whether you are driving or flying, proper planning is essential when traveling with your kids. Search for airfare and hotel room deals early and ensure that the rooms you choose have family-friendly amenities, such as free Wi Fi and television channels the whole family can enjoy.
2. Teach Your Kids About Saving Before the Trip
When you were a child, you probably enjoyed summer trips without ever having to worry about what your parents were spending. However, considering what vacations cost compared to what they did a few decades ago, discussing money with your kids and how to save during your trip can be worth your time.
If your kids are small, they might not be able to grasp the value of money, but there are a few simple concepts you can employ. For example, playing games like Monopoly can teach them about spending and borrowing. You can set a budget for older kids and explain your own so they know what to expect when it comes to spending during the trip. Setting boundaries before you leave can go a long way in being able to stick to your budget.
3. Be Savvy with Meal Planning
Buying meals and snacks at major theme parks and other popular destinations can be pricey and take a big chunk out of your vacation budget. However, there are ways to cut meal costs while ensuring your kids manage to get in some healthy meals at the same time.
If you are staying in a hotel room with a fridge and a microwave, you can save by making in-room meals with a few items from the local grocery store. Consider making sandwiches, fresh salad, and even fun items like a mini-taco bar or pizza station. You can store leftovers later for snacks or even stretch them out into another meal.
4. Add Roadside Assistance to Your Car Insurance
A family road trip can quickly turn into chaos if something goes wrong with your vehicle. From flat tires to engine trouble, it is difficult to predict these issues, but you can plan for them by adding roadside assistance to your current insurance plan. This coverage is more affordable than you might think and can save you hundreds of dollars in emergency tows and repairs.
Roadside assistance, which may be available through local insurance agents, can cover you in the case of a dead battery, an overheated radiator, or other car problems that may leave you stranded. Coverage usually includes a one-touch app that allows you to summon a tow truck or other help, no matter where you are or the time of day. Having this addendum to your insurance can help protect your family in case of unexpected car trouble.
A summer vacation with your kids can create memories that last a lifetime but making those memories do not have to cost a fortune. Planning and being prepared for the unexpected can help keep travel costs low and fun levels high.