Categories: Family Fun
Unfortunately, the economy is just as nasty as the weather and the news, and many are opting for “staycations” or canceling their travel plans altogether. For me, neither are appealing options… If I stayed close to home I’d never relax or let go of the chores that need tending to. If I cancelled our trip, I’d be even more miserable.
Back pre-baby, I was the cheapest traveler around. I flew on rickety airlines at awful times, I stayed at hostels and tiny b&bs, and I’d live for days on end on nothing but bread, cheese, and wine. But now that travel involves more than a backpack on my back and time on my hands, I’ve found it a challenge to travel on the cheap while still maintaining a certain level of comfort and safety for my daughter. However, I’ve now got a number of trips with her under my belt, and I’ve leaned some money-saving tricks along the way.
The economic crisis has affected the travel industry as well, so if you’ve already socked away your travel money, you may find it goes further than you were expecting it to with reduced prices on different types of packages. However, if you’re building a trip from scratch, here are some ways to fly, stay, and eat for less…
Flying for less:
If you’re close (even close-ish) to an American gateway, it’s often worth the extra travel time to fly out of The States. For example, flying direct to
Staying for less:
They say that that travel is one industry that has been completely revolutionized by the Internet, and the Internet is your friend when looking for deals on accommodation. If you’re looking for a small, family-friendly motel or b&b, chances are they have a website and chances are there are reviews to be found online as well. One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that the hotels that are part of a package also book separately and the rate is often reduced. This works out well for you if you’ve done your research and found a great flight online! The types of deals usually to be had are 7 nights for the price of 5 and amazing mid-week deals as well. As with any brochure, the web site of any hotel is meant to sell the property and may very well glamorize the rooms and amenities. This is where online reviews come in. Once you’ve sorted out your flight and hotel, you can then prepare to save money elsewhere.
Eating for less:
In a word: self-cater (ok, technically that’s two!) This was never an appealing option for me as I thought cooking on holiday was not my idea of a good time. However, the more we’ve done it, the more I prefer it. Not only do we eat healthier and save lots of money, I’ve also come home at least the same weight as I left (I’ll admit to a bit of a self-control issue when it comes to buffets).
In order to make your self-catering experience as stress-free as possible, locate the nearest grocery store online before you go and have a few snacks and essentials on-hand so you’re not scrambling as soon as you check in. We also keep our breakfasts and lunches very simple, and go out for nice dinners. A loaf of bread, a few spreads, a box of cereal, milk, juice, cold cuts, fruit and pre-sliced veggies (and often prepared salads) have kept us full and satisfied with a minimum amount of fuss or dishes. We’ll indulge in a couple of great brunches to fulfill the requisite vacation bacon & eggs, but otherwise our mornings are less rushed and if our early riser decides to rise extra-early, we’re not constantly checking the clock to check out when the restaurant opens!
Beer and wine are usually available at grocery stores in most other countries, and usually at incredibly low prices. If you’re not renting a car, have one stay back with the kids while the other shops and grabs a cab back to your hotel.
The bottom line:
Travel is a luxury, and tough times often means giving up luxuries. But for me, travel has become a necessity, so I have to find ways to make our money go further. While this has sometimes meant staying in minimalist accommodation and/or curtailing fancy activities, my daughter only knows she’s on a fun adventure with mommy and daddy and their full attention. She was just as happy on the beach with a bucket & shovel as she was at Disney World, and so were we!
Corinne McDermott is the founder of Have Baby Will Travel - your online guide to traveling with babies and toddlers. For more information please visit www.havebabywilltravel.com or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org