I'm often asked how we do so much on so little.
Here are a few tips:
This doesn't mean you have to do everything you plan. But, researching your destination keeps the stress of finding things to do low. You'll also be less tempted to make impulse decisions and spend money you shouldn't. Doing thorough research on the place you'll visit also lends a deeper meaning to many of your destinations. If you're opposed to an itinerary, at least bring a list of options with information on cost so that you can make informed decisions.
Supplement your spending by bringing your own snacks.
I totally understand wanting to indulge in local food and experiencing great restaurants. But, snacks and drinks can make a big impact on your budget. Bring these items along and you'll have more money to spend on activities or a nice meal.
Clearly define your priorities and communicate.
Our kids know that when we travel, we're going for the experience.....to see the city, to bike, swim, play, etc. Having a focus allows everyone to relax and know what to expect out of the visit.
Spend your money where it counts.
Regardless of your budget, knowing what you deem as important when it comes to spending will help you stay on task. Discuss what you have to spend with your kids and if they're old enough, let everyone contribute to deciding where to spend money. Giving your kids some control over the trip will allow them to feel empowered and as though they're an integral part of the experience. They will also feel better about sacrificing because they helped decide what to do.
Ask friends for advice if they live where you're going. Look up the Chamber of Commerce for more information. Consider city museums and parks as an option for activities. We often have the most fun in unexpected places. For example: We met the author of The Sandlot in a used bookstore in downtown Riverside, CA while talking to the store owner. It was the highlight of our trip!
We're on an unusually tight budget this summer and cannot afford a big Florida trip like we have the past 2 years. Kids are really disappointed in that, so I've re-focused them toward another goal. We're visiting every San Diego beach we can and are keeping track of what each has to offer. We often create a Day Trip with each of these destinations and can spend no money at all if we like.
Check out the link below for details on a simple day trip which cost us $30 total.
Ocean Beach Day Trip
Slow down and look around.
I'm the first one to fill an itinerary full of activities because I am always eager to get the most out of where we go. I've learned over the years to slow down here and there. Breathe. And, be grateful for the opportunity to see something new.
Here is a post detailing expenses. I always have a budget for our trips - even if it's a Day Trip. But, I don't always keep notes like this.
Hope this helps. If you have any questions, leave a comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm off to research sunny Palm Springs for next week!