- 1 Travelling with Kids on a Budget? Yes, you can!
- 2 Here’s a list of our tips to travel with kids on a budget
- 3 Choose budget destinations
- 4 Choose family friendly destinations
- 5 Save up for the BIG trips
- 6 Start a side-hustle
- 7 Fly with a budget low-cost carrier airline
- 8 Book flight tickets on sale
- 9 Stay off the beaten track
- 10 Walk everywhere you can
- 11 Eat main meals twice daily
- 12 BYO snacks to fill the gaps
- 13 Do you have more budget tips for family travel?
- 14 Subscribe
- 15 Bookmark Roam the Gnome
Travelling with Kids on a Budget? Yes, you can!
It’s possible to travel with kids on a budget. Planning ahead is the key.
It does mean making a few adjustments here and there but taking the kids to see the world is worth every sacrifice in my mind.
Here’s a list of our tips to travel with kids on a budget
Choose budget destinations
Mostly, budget travel with kids is about making changes to your attitude. Trips to Europe or America are possible, but it will take a while to save up. In the meantime, stick to south-east Asia, India, and Nepal overseas to make your money go further.
Travelling around your own country, state, or city is the cheapest way to travel with kids on a budget.
- There’s no airfares.
- You can travel by car or van so no public transport fees.
- Petrol is relatively cheap.
- And you can throw a tent in the boot and free camp for days on end.
There’s really no excuse not to travel with kids.
Choose family friendly destinations
Some countries and cities are more child-friendly than others.
Bali is good, so is Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, India, Peru, and Greece. (There are others.)
These are countries where the grandma in your home stay will snuggle your crying baby, where restaurant staff will find a make-shift highchair for a toddler if there’s not one on site, where young women gather to chat and laugh with the children in broken english, and where the local fisherman are not bothered by inquisitive 5 year old boys.
We adore travelling to these countries with young kids in tow. Nothing is ever too much trouble. A child’s tantrum is not going to destroy anyone’s day. And inquisitive curious children are not going to bug grumpy stuck-in-the-mud commuters, on the train heading home after a tough day’s work.
Child friendliness should be high on your list of priorities when it comes to dreaming of your next family holiday destination.
Save up for the BIG trips
Every couple of years, we go for a big one. The 6 week jaunt around far-flung places like New York, Disney, London or Europe.
Saving for this kind of trip is easy for some, not so easy for others, but we make it a priority.
This year, we’re heading to Lapland to visit Santa and his elves. The cost will make your eyes water, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that can’t wait any longer. The big boy is 11. The little one 6. It’s now or never.
So this year, we’ve been staying low.
Hanging out at home – a lot. Spending our pennies during school holiday breaks on ice-creams, and hot pies at the local bakery, but mostly eating in. Hiring new-release videos instead of traipsing off to the cinema. But the savings are growing, and come mid-November, we’ll be off!
Is all this worth it? Absolutely.
These 6 weeks ahead will be full of memories and stories and experiences you can’t replicate anywhere else. It’s the beauty of travel. We live for the adventures.
Start a side-hustle
I love reading about all the ways creative people earn extra cash on top of their main job or career. It’s called a ‘side hustle‘ and for many people, this side hustle turns into their full time passion.
A side hustle can make the difference between visiting Hawaii with the family and staying in a bland hotel with no onsite pool, 5 blocks away from the beach, OR booking 7 nights at Disney Aulani resort.
That’s worth giving up a bit of Netflix for.
Fly with a budget low-cost carrier airline
We love Jetstar. Other Australian family travellers swear by AirAsia, or are super fans of Scoot. To be honest, I don’t practice an allegiance when it comes to budget airlines. I’ll love anyone, as long as they can get me places on the cheap. (But mostly Jetstar).
In England, we flew Easy Jet to Paris, and Vueling from Paris to Rome.
Book flight tickets on sale
The trick to knowing when the sales are coming is to sign up to ALL the airlines and flight wholesalers, and get on their list. They fill your inbox with all the details about upcoming discounts, special package deals, and annual sales including return for free!
Hot tip: set up a dedicated email address for all these newsletters, and check it once or twice a week only. This keeps your main inbox clutter free, and remembering to check the email inbox every few days keeps travel top of mind.
Stay off the beaten track
Get on google maps, and look for accommodation that’s close to town, but not right in the centre. You’ll find these hotels and accommodation to be way cheaper than the ones closer in.
We love digging around a bit to find the ‘cool’ (but safe) neighbourhoods where the local creatives (artists, graphic designers, interior designers, craftspeople, makers, florists etc) flock to. Staying in these places means we can wander about, and pretend we live in their world for a while too.
Walk everywhere you can
But don’t skimp on the airport pickup transfer. In our book, the money you spend on a personalised airport pick up, where they wait for you with a sign with your name on it, is priceless.
Where it’s safe to do so, we bring good walking shoes, we get up earlier to make our way to our destination, and we meet all the locals along the way.
Eat main meals twice daily
Do you really need breakfast, lunch AND dinner every day? No way.
We start with a big breakfast if it’s complimentary in our hotel, otherwise we gulp a cup of hot tea in the room, and fill the hole with a simple sandwich or crackers.
If we skip breakfast, we eat our biggest meal at brunch, when it’s cheaper.
We love local bakeries, and pop in late afternoon for the end of day bargains.
We find a deli or supermarket to find the fixings for a quick picnic dinner. In Australia, you can buy a hot BBQ chicken all day long at both Coles and Woolies for less than $10. They sell ready-made salad too. It’s a feast.
BYO snacks to fill the gaps
Locating a real supermarket (as opposed to a tourist supermarket, or convenience store) is our first priority in a new place. If we can’t find one, we ask the locals to point us in the right direction. As always, supermarket shopping is the cheapest way to eat when travelling with kids.
We pick up plenty of snacks to carry with us – packets of crackers, muesli bars, popcorn, pretzels, plain biscuits – things that dont need special care. In the colder climates, we buy hommus and brie cheese.
Or when we travel by car or van, we pack a cooler bin (esky) for extra flexibility and the ability to keep milk cold for cereal. Cereal is always a winner with my boys, and cheap to fill up their ginormous stomach caverns.
Do you have more budget tips for family travel?
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