Traveling on a Budget

Traveling with a family on a budget is not always easy, but can be simple as long as you make a plan and stick with it.

Make a few choices.

The first step to planning a family vacation on a budget is deciding where you’ll go, how many days you’ll travel, where you’ll stay, and which form of transportation you’ll be taking. Generally speaking, traveling by car is cheapest. There are exceptions to this rule but for the purposes of this post we will stick with a road trip being ideal.

How far will you travel? If you live in Missouri, for example, you are centrally located to many great states but it’s going to take at least a day or two to drive far enough to see the ocean. What type of vacations do you and your family usually take? If you want something out of the ordinary and you haven’t seen the ocean in a while, go for it!

If you live in San Diego, you could travel to Tucson, Phoenix, Las Vegas, or anywhere in between for a weekend trip. If you live in Texas and you want to travel to New York, it’s going to take a little longer. The longer your trip is, the more expensive it will be because of food, lodging, and gas. You can definitely take a longer trip on a budget, just keep shopping stops to a minimum so you don’t go over your budget each day!

travelingSave money.

Get an oil change and any other necessary maintenance (tire rotation, etc) completed before you take off. Use apps like GasBuddy to save on gas, and make sure you pack lots of snacks and drinks so you don’t have to spend $4 on a Gatorade at a gas station in the middle of nowhere. If you have room for a cooler, you can also pack sandwich supplies and have a picnic at a rest stop. It really just depends on how limited your budget is and where you’re willing to cut back (on food) to spend elsewhere (on a hotel or souvenirs).

Speaking of hotels, check online sites like Travelocity and TripAdvisor to score the best deals. Sometimes you can save big when you book at the last minute, but I don’t like living on the edge like that so I book ahead of time if possible. The problem with booking ahead of time on a road trip is, things come up. Stuff happens. You might not end up at your hotel until 2AM, so you would’ve been better off stopping a few hours back at, say 11PM, to get a decent night’s sleep. If you hit traffic, or get a flat tire, or take longer at rest stops, your hotel plans could be thrown off track.

Be flexible.

When you’re traveling with a family, especially when you have little ones, being flexible is extremely important. You might take the wrong route, or have to take a detour due to construction. You might get stuck in traffic or get a flat tire. Things happen, but the important part is how you react to those things. Show your kids that this vacation is about making memories, not about everything being perfect.

Don’t be afraid to splurge.

I know it seems silly to say something like “don’t be afraid to splurge” when I’m writing a post about traveling on a budget, but some things are worth splurging for! Some families like to splurge on trinkets and souvenirs while others prefer to splurge on hotel stays. Some would rather rent a car and spend a little extra than put the miles on their own car. No matter which items you’d like to splurge on, as long as you stay on track with the rest of your budget, you’ll be fine! Sometimes splurging on a little somethin’ for yourself (like a mud bath at the spa!) is nice, too.

What’s your best tip for traveling on a budget? Let me know in the comments!

Travel Tips | Destinations |Travel Savings |Travel Oklahoma

4 Comments

  1. Priscilla

    Thank u so much for this!!

    1. Queen Mum

      You’re quite welcome Priscilla – glad we could help! 🙂

  2. Julie

    We just got back from Pensacola FL. had a blast my tips would be;

    Continual Continental breakfast 🙂 I woke each day around 6;00 am and went down for breakfast, bringing a few things up with me apples and bananas. Kids woke up later around eight and I went with them to eat, yes I ate twice :0 ) my vacation my rules but truth be told eating more protein at the hotel breakfast kept me away from sugar snacks on the beach.

    Buy gift cards at the national brand restaurants that your family likes, one a month or extras at Christmas (when they give the bonus $5 cards 🙂 we had a bunch of Starbucks cards so a few evenings we treated ourselves to the good stuff and wouldn’t you know they had a bogo going on 🙂 double save.

    I say buy the national gift cards because yes they have Subway Sandwich Stores everywhere just like McDonald’s etc…and if I know I’m going to use them either way (home or on vacation its just very convenient. We matched ours with national coupons. One day we had Subway for 4 under $20.00 and one night we got 2 Large Dominos Pizzas and a desert delivered to the room for $25.00

    and ASK…. ASK ASK When I was getting ready to book the room I was pleading with the gal on the phone to help me find the cheapest deal… she wasn’t supposed to say it… but she actually kept saying “yes mam that’s the price if you book today, THOSE ARE TODAYS RATES”. So I asked will it be higher or lower if I call on a Sunday when folks are checking out? and she said “possibly lower”.

    So we called on Sunday and got cheaper rates, booking our stay from Sunday -Thursday $15.00 cheaper a day saving!

    We drove and used discount gas cards or Walmart cards to get gas cheaper.

    It all adds up to saving, we had more left than we thought so we came home the long way and stopped in New Orleans, just about every restaurant on Bourbon Street had a BOGO so we saved again 🙂 And saw a movie being shot, too, Queen Latifah Rocks!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

error

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)