How does a family of five travel on a budget? This concept seems far-fetched, right? Want to make family travel possible? Money is the number one reason people claim why they don’t travel. The second reason is they believe that their kids are too young to travel. I am here to prove all this wrong. I have over the years been asked how a family of five travels on a budget. You ask and I answer.
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How much does it cost?
I would like to say there is no price tag on memories. However, I would be lying to you and myself if money doesn’t count. The cost of a trip varies on what we are planning. A quick weekend getaway vs. a cruise is a different price. Such as a long road trip to a short road trip. However, my husband and I settle on an amount to spend and we stick to that and that is how we plan trips. Want tips on how to budget for a vacation check out my post here.
What kind of trips do you take?
My family and I have been on several different trips. Many in the U.S and some out of the country. (We plan on more trips out the country now that our kids are older). We take cruises, road trips, mountain trips, and beach trips.
Why do you travel with your kids?
This question for some reason bothers me. Why not? This is my normal response. Why do you travel with your pets? My children are a part of me. They are my life!! I enjoy their company and enjoy sharing the world with them. I don’t want them to miss out on anything.
Do you like traveling with your kids?
Sometimes, lol. I have only been on two vacations without my children and I didn’t know what to do. I had no one to yell at. “Don’t touch that” or “Stay close”. I felt guilty leaving my kids behind to spend time with the hubby. But, to answer the question I enjoy traveling with my kids. I love teaching my kids new things. Travel is a great way to teach them.
How do you pack for a family of 5?
Tuck and roll. I have mastered the art of packing. Took about 10 years. Just kidding. Who am I fooling? I overpack and get frustrated with myself when I do so. I tell myself each time we get our luggage out that this is the year I will pack accordingly. What I can say we have got down to one large suitcase, one to two small suitcases, and one large duffel bag. This all depends on where we are going and the duration of the stay. We doing the military fold and rolling of the clothes method to make room.
When is the best time to travel?
Summer is such an easy time to travel. Kids are out of school and the sun is out. However, so are the crowd of people. Each year my children get a school calendar and we mark their days off. We live in New Orleans and my girls are lucky enough to get a week off for Mardi Gras. So between holidays and breaks, we plan a few trips and getaways. Our big trips tend to be in the summer. However, recently we really have been taken advantage of off season travel due to discounts and short lines.
How do you budget?
I am the budget queen. I budget everything in our house. We don’t drive fancy cars. We own everything in our house. If we can’t pay cash for it we are not getting it. That simple. We don’t borrow money nor take out loans. We only pay for the essentials. This allows us to save and have extra cash. This might not be the case for many people. We were such people. Living paycheck to paycheck. This didn’t stop us. We still saved the little money we had and traveled. To learn more about how we budget check out my other post here.
At what age is good for your kids to travel?
My children were traveling while they were in my womb. I never stopped traveling even while I was pregnant. Once babies came they were traveling with us. Kids are so flexible. It is amazing. My children can remember going to Disneyland at the age of 3. They can remember fine details about that trip and we still talk about it. My girls are now 14, 13, 13.
How do you fit travel into your busy life?
We just do. We make time for family. The family will always come first. My husband works for an amazing company that allows him plenty of time off plus tons of weeks of vacation time. We take advantage of that. We also plan around our kid’s school schedule. If we must my kids will miss a day or so from school. This rarely happens. However, the school policy here is a school absence can be dismissed if travel was educational. All our trips have an educational component to it.
How old are your children now?
Our daughters are 14 and twins are 13. This is such a fun age. All were fun ages, but now they can help plan the trips with us and decide on what we do. They can also help pack. Awe relief!! The prices of things went up as now they are considered adults. However, the upside to this is they can now ride all the rides in the theme parks and can do pretty much any activity available.
How do you plan a family trip?
Now we cooking with hot sauce. I PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. Plan 6 months to a year out. Do your homework before you settle on your destination. Don’t get me wrong we have taken trips that were spontaneous. Our Arkansas trip was spontaneous. My husband and I woke up early one day and said we wanted to go somewhere. We picked Hot Springs, packed and told kids to get ready. I booked the hotel on the way up. This was one of the most memorable trips we had. Then there are trips that take further planning and a little more thought. Such as a cruise. If it is a longer trip we decide where and when, how much it will cost, what we will need (rental, hotel, tickets, and activities), and what is our budget. Once we have done this. We start booking and saving money.
What do you sacrifice to travel?
We are not a materialist family. My kids do not have iPhones. We have cheap phones on a no-contract service. We don’t have cable as we never watch that much tv. When we do we use Netflix and the Firestick. We went solar to save money. We own both vehicles and they are far from new. Matter of fact one of the cars is as old as my oldest. We budget. This means we can’t just spend money because we have it. We can’t eat out all the time. Travel is so important to us as family. That we would rather spend money going to Africa then buying the latest new toy out.
What are some funny travel stories?
Last Spring we took our kids to Gatlinburg, TN. It was amazing by the way. On the agenda, was horseback riding. My kids actually wanted to do this for so long and what better way than in the Smoky Mountains. So, we finally made it to the destination. Once it was our turn on the horses. The nerves kicked in. My poor husband had a little rebel of a horse and one of the twins had one of the biggest horses.
Twin A was not having it. She cried when the guy that helped her on walked away and it was just here and the horse. I tried to calm her down and tell her that it will be okay. However, I was laughing. How is it that we have done some scary stuff on vacations and in this moment. A moment in which she picked as an activity she loses it. The tour guide started and all kids went to the front and adults in the back. She now had to be in control. The scenery was breathtaking. Two hours was not long enough. Once we finished. All I saw were smiles. Not just from my once crying preteen, but my husband. I received hugs for best vacation EVER!!! Parenting finest moments.
What are some horror travel stories?
We really haven’t had horror stories. Any mishaps we have had our girls never knew about. We have had times where we have traveled and could not find a place to sleep. We had our bank account locked while out the country. With a quick call, it was all fixed. We try to minimize the bad by planning in advance and checking and re-checking our plans, dates, etc.
Do you have any questions that weren’t listed? Comment question below I will answer them.
Like what you read here you can see more of my adventures.
Why Travel Off Season With Kids
This is absolutely great! My mentor once told me, “you can’t ever get an experience back, but you can always work more”. I always use that line to my husband when figuring out our next trip lol. At the end of the day, the memories made are ones that gets brought up the most.February 9, 2018 at 12:58 pm
Smart mentor. I love it. We talk about all our trips and how we can up it the next year.February 9, 2018 at 8:20 pm
I love this! Awesome tips! We recently moved cross country, so it’ll be a while before we can save!February 9, 2018 at 7:01 pm
Thank you. Since you moved maybe there are local things you can do.February 9, 2018 at 8:19 pm
Lots of great advice! I love traveling with my familyFebruary 20, 2018 at 9:05 am
Yes I love to travel with my family.February 20, 2018 at 10:44 am
Don’t have kids but great tips for the future!! Saving and planning within your budget totally makes senseFebruary 20, 2018 at 9:48 am
Yes even without kids saving is a big helpFebruary 20, 2018 at 10:47 am