When kids enter the picture, one of the first things to go is travel. Not only does the thought of lugging strollers, diaper bags, pack n plays and tired toddlers through airports or on long car rides cause parents to cringe, adding more people to your itinerary can be pretty expensive as well. Fortunately, we have a few tips you can follow that will help keep your costs down, no matter how many little ones youre including into your travel plans. [More from Manilla.com: 5 Tips for Making Traveling for Work Easier]
1. Pack snacks. Meals out while youre on the road can be one of those costs that add up quickly, especially when you start dropping $10 or $15 here and there on snacks at roadside stops or in airports. Save yourself some money by stocking up ahead of time and making sure everyone has their favorite snacks easily accessible, especially between meals.
2. Drive, dont fly. While this isnt an option for every trip, if your kids are good in the car, driving can be a good way to save money, especially if there are certain legs of the trip that you can take while your kids would be snoozing anyway. Make sure you do the math ahead of time because with gas, additional time off from work and wear and tear on your car, this may or may not be a cheaper option but the more people youre traveling with, the more likely it will be. [More from Manilla.com: How to Pack Efficiently While Traveling]
3. Dont spend much on entertainment. You may start stressing about how youre going to keep your kids busy during long waits and travel delays and end up spending a lot of money on entertainment before you even leave for your trip by picking up new electronics and downloading movies and game apps from iTunes. Instead, talk to some friends and family who have taken trips recently and see if you can leverage some of their purchases, whether it be a DVD player for the car, an extra iPad or some kids car games.
4. Cut down on lodging. One of the most expensive parts of travel is the cost of your accommodations, especially if you have to book more than one hotel room for a large brood. Try utilizing friends and family who may have a place to stay in the area that youre traveling in, even if its for just one night. If you feel badly imposing, consider returning the offer if they could use it. Or, leave on a late night flight a day earlier than you planned so that you still get the most out of the last day of your trip but dont have to pay for the unnecessary hotel room. As a bonus, youll have more time at home to readjust to your daily routine. [More from Manilla.com: 6 Mobile Apps To Simplify Travel]
5. Avoid school vacations. This can be a tough one to do but the cost of traveling during popular school breaks jumps dramatically. If at all possible, try to be creative about where youre going and when (without undermining your childrens school absence policy) so that youre not part of a herd of people bidding up the cost of flights and hotels in popular travel destinations.
Tips provided by Kate Furlong, a financial contributor to The Manilla Folder at Manilla.com, the leading, free and secure service that helps you simplify and organize your daily life. Using just one password, Manilla lets you manage your finances, utilities, daily deals, travel and rewards programs, Netflix and magazine subscriptions, and more -- all through Manilla.com or the top-rated iOS and mobile apps.
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