Travelling with kids on a shoestring budget
When travelling with kids on a shoestring budget things can get a bit tough. But if you know when and where to look for the holiday deals, it becomes a breeze. Whether it’s an overseas holiday or a road trip in the family caravan travelling with kids – these travelling tips will be sure to help any shoestring budget.
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Use online discount sites for deals on activities and accommodation
Check out the online local deal sites. They have some fantastic specials and it’s nice to be able to take your kids on at least one special outing at a fraction of the price! In NZ we have websites like Groupon, Treat Me and Book Me that offer great discounts to fun activities and accommodation and I usually get one or two of these on our holidays sometimes at 50% off or more.
Have you tried AirBnB yet?
With holiday houses available all over the world, these are the perfect solution for a holidaying family travelling with kids. The houses generally have full kitchen and bathroom facilities which is a bonus with a family!
If you sign up through this link then you automatically receive a credit off your first booking!
Travel in the off-peak season
Travelling in the off-peak season has lots of advantages. Cheaper accommodation rates, discounts on local activities, and less people (if you like that). Just be sure you know why it’s considered “off-peak” before committing.
Book online – Look for early bird or last minute deals
Many places like to offer early bird discounts for those who can book well in advance! Which is great if you know your travel dates for certain. Or check out the last minute deals on offer if your dates can be flexible! Just be sure that your accommodation has some basic cooking facilities so you can cater for your family without having to dine out for every meal!
Don’t take your husband and all the kids into the supermarket
Leave them in the car or at the local park while you grab the few items you need for the next couple of days. When travelling for longer periods, you tend to visit the supermarket more often as you can’t stock up like we do at home so we find ourselves popping in nearly every day. The problem is we tend to do it as a family and we almost always grab extras.
Plan your itinerary before you go
Before you get to your destination take the time to plan out the things you want to see and do. Price up any costings. By having an idea of all the opportunities and costings you can then choose the activities that best suit your budget. Remember to check out the local deal websites for specials on your top picks.
Pack your own snacks!
Pack plenty of snacks, lunches and water prior to your outing for the day. This will save you lots of money in food costs so you don’t have to buy food on the run. For a larger family with kids, this can be costly and they’re still hungry afterwards anyway! I must admit, we do go through a few extra bags of lollies, and have a few treats, but these are all bought at a low-cost supermarket days beforehand, and hidden away until the appropriate day.
Do more FREE fun activities
There are heaps of free activities to do once you start putting your mind to it. Here are some of the free things that we like to do (assuming you have some of the basic gear like bikes and fishing rods).
- Go hiking – kids love river crossings, waterfalls, swing bridges, climbing, taking photos, exploring nature.
- Go mountain biking – most mountain bike trails are free. If it’s not free, go to the next one that is.
- Go to the beach – swim, surf, boogie boards, build a sandcastle, play ball, slide down the sand dunes
- Visit the local museum
- Stop at the river to skip stones, fish or swim if it’s a nice day
- Take a kid fishing – if you don’t have a fishing rod you could borrow one or go along to one of the “Take a kid Fishing” fun days that are held around NZ each year.
- Visit the local information centre or library – they often have interactive activities or learning areas
- Volunteer yourselves for a “Clean up the beach or river” day. These are held throughout the country on a regular basis. Contact your local information centre and see if one is happening near you. It is a great way to meet new friends, and help the environment at the same time.
- Go sightseeing – Pick up a Local Heritage Trail pamphlet from the local Information Centre and go for a drive re-visiting history.
- Volunteer yourselves for helping DOC with tree planting expeditions – periodically DOC will hold all sorts of volunteer expeditions where you can help out in the National Parks. Contact your local DOC centre.
- Go caving (for the adventurous sort – be sure to take a headlight and we use our bike helmets if needed)
- Connect with old friends or family in the area
Check out my blog on What to do with kids on a rainy day for some more cheap and free fun ideas for when you are on holiday.
Ensure you have your boredom buster essentials kit on hand. A reading book or their Kindle, an activity/puzzle book, a pack of cards, knucklebones, travel chess set, colouring in (adult or child) for the quiet times. All kids (and adults) need some downtime to relax and do something nice and quiet. You can easily fit these small items in a bag and will keep the kids entertained for hours.
Holidaying with kids doesn’t have to break the bank
With some prior research and organisation skills, you can have a crammed pack adventure holiday with your kids that won’t break the bank. If you are travelling overseas and have limited bag space, check out my blog on lightweight Kids travel games – Perfect for the travelling minimalist.
Inspire others with your tips for travelling with kids on a shoestring budget
Have you got some tips you would like to share? We would love to hear from some of you with your ideas and tips for travelling with kids on s shoestring budget in the comments box below.