Vacations and get-aways can be fun & exciting but they can also be stressful and hard on your purse. As most of you know, our family just took a big adventure about 3,000 some odd miles and traveled through about 9 different states! Whew! That is a lot of traveling in one weeks time.
When doing any kind of vacation, planning ahead is key!
Speaking of just this trip we took, I’m going to share things that worked for us and things that didn’t. I’m also going to show you ways that you can cut costs when traveling with any size family.
First let me tackle packing! Ugh! I don’t know about you but this can be a major undertaking at my house. Trying to coordinate outfits, shoes, socks, pj’s, & possibly a change of clothes for the younger ones that may have accidents. The other thing I had to consider was the temperature change from where we were coming from to where we were heading.
Here is something that helped me while packing for our little ones. (now…let me say I didn’t pack for my older girls who are 16 & 14 and I did ask to see my oldest sons clothes who is 11) The rest of the gang I packed myself. Here is how I did it…..
First I started out with separating their clothes into piles according to each day that we were going to be gone. (everything in the pile included undies & socks)
Second, I bought a cheap box of Walmart large storage bags (it cost 2.87) and I labeled each bag for each day that we were going to be gone. (let me note…I have used just plain old Walmart or grocery bags)
I’ve got to say….this really worked well for us, because it took the guess work out of what they would be wearing that day. No searching for socks and undies etc. They just opened their suitcase and pulled out their clothes for that day. Worked great!
Here are a few other tips to save money and help your trip to go smoother:
- Print out directions from map quest or have a GPS (we used both on this trip and we are glad we had a back up)
- Stay at a family or friends place for a night or two while in between places.
- Use hotel points or book online ahead of time for cheaper discounts.
- Pack your own food and snacks to avoid fast food restaurants. Eat at a rest stop.(this helped us tremendously….we ate healthier and saved a ton of money)
- Look up “free” things to do in the area that you are going to or along the way. We stopped at a number of museums, parks & beaches that were free and the kids LOVED!
- Use the cruise control. I know this sounds a bit weird but it truly saves money on gas if you put the cruise control on for long trips down the highway.
- Pack games, movies, & other activities to help keep kids occupied. I made up my own folder of activities to do. They loved it!!!! (even my older kids) I printed out papers like the license plate game, scavenger hunt, & for yummy fun….the M & M game. Click here for printables. Here is the one for the M &M game here (I made my own).
- Plan for extra stops when you have little kids. For us traveling more than 3 to 4 hours they needed to get out and just stretch and run for a little bit. Find a rest area and bring a soccer ball, or tennis ball and let them just get it out of their system. Side note…the younger ones sleep much better after burning their energy!
- Keep extra time in your schedule for mishaps! We hit a lot of traffic here and there or you may run into longer break.
- Get a few dollar store prizes a head of time and reward for good behavior & find a Redbox along the way to rent a movie for a $1 to break the trip up some. (remember Redbox movies can be returned to any Redbox).
Vacations are fun but planning a head and trying to save money always help to relieve stress and headache while your on the road.
Making memories and fun with your family is the most important thing! You may forget to pack something or get lost on your travels but whatever comes up, make it fun by having a great attitude no matter what your doing and finding those special moments with your family!!! Happy Travels!