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Family trips are a memory-making extravaganza filled with fun, excitement, and exhausted kids ready to go to bed early at the end of each day.
However, as a parent, you know how stressful and costly a trip can be when children are in the mix. Rather than put off your family vacation,
here are some tips to keep stress levels and costs down and the fun high.
Skip the Gas Station SnacksIf you’re purchasing snacks and drinks each time you stop to fill up or use the bathroom, the bill will quickly add up.
Instead, pack convenient and healthy snacks such as trail mix, dried fruit, fresh fruit/veggies, granola bars, and pretzels.
Prepare them ahead of time in baggies, and keep drinks on hand too (preferably in a leak-proof cup to avoid spilling).
Speaking of spills, be sure to pack wipes for messes and sticky hands, and bring along a trash bag for garbage.
Are We There Yet?It never fails; 15 minutes into the trip and your kids are already asking how much longer.
If your child is like most, technology is a great way to keep them distracted and
maybe sneak in some learning too with educational games and movies.
If you decide to purchase electronic devices such as portable game systems or headphones,
make sure you seek out those savings by looking for deals on electronics through a site
like Rakuten - you’ll find savings plus earn cash back on any purchases.
Your child needs options, so keep several car activities up your sleeve.
For example, a cookie sheet can double as an activity table and a
three-ring binder filled with blank paper is an instant coloring book.
Find Free FunWhen on vacation, it’s tempting to pack your schedule with expensive excursions and activities instead of indulging in some free fun.
Plan a picnic in the park, go on a walking tour,
collect free souvenirs such as shells or rocks, or bring your own bikes to pair fun with exploration
and exercise. Finding budget-friendly fun is really as simple as searching for “free events” in the area you’re visiting.
You can use Groupon as well to find family-friendly fun at a discount.
It’s okay to plan some fun activities without the kids too for some extra relaxation.
It’s easy to book a local babysitter online — just be sure to do your research and meet with them in person to ensure they are safe, reliable, and trustworthy.
Save Money on FoodMeals are one of the priciest parts of a vacation. To save on food, try to find a hotel that offers complimentary breakfast,
and take some fruit or yogurt back to the room for a snack later in the day. If your accommodations include a kitchen,
use this to make some of your own meals rather than eating out every night. Going to dinner is a vacation staple though,
so make sure the restaurants you choose are unique as opposed to a chain restaurant you find at home. If you have a picky eater on your hands,
pack a lunch or dinner to bring with you to the restaurant.
Loosen the Reins a Little
Taking a vacation isn’t cheap, so it makes sense that you’d want to plan out every activity to the second.
However, over-planning your vacation is a sure-fire way to add unnecessary stress.
It’s okay to pick a few activities or destinations ahead of time, but be open to last-minute and spontaneous fun too.
Let the kids choose an activity, or let the day plan itself.
If your kids want to spend the entire day at the pool or beach, use this time to read a good book, listen to music,
or let your spouse take over while you get a massage.
Vacationing with children is often synonymous with being stressful and expensive, but it doesn’t have to be.
The key is to implement small hacks to keep costs and stress down.
The ideas above will get you headed in the right direction, leaving you to enjoy your vacay.