Yo Families! How To Fulfill Wanderlust (And Be Wallet Friendly)

Yo Familes! How to fulfill wanderlust and be wallet friendly
Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash

What do you think of when you hear the words: family travel? For me, this phrase used to inspire both hope and fear. Hope for future bouts of wanderlust with family in tow and fear that I couldn’t find trips that were wallet-friendly.

When I heard the term ‘family travel’ before motherhood two visions popped into my mind. Vision number one was of my super-traveller, self-sufficient friend Susie who packed up her 18 month-old (and big pooch Igor)  and drove solo many hours to our annual Tofino girls’ weekend. Her SUV was full of toys, she had all her snacks packed and she even brought a portable enclosed play area (think playpen on steroids). Family vaca vision number two is  of the Griswolds on their chaotic US roadtrip, station wagon packed to the gills and misadventures befalling their every turn.

Given a choice, I’ll choose the Susie situation any time. Planning, snacks and efficiency help make any (family) trip a bit less of a gongshow. Part of my family travel plans these days always include thinking about how I can shave some of the dollars and cents off my trips. Recently, my fellow blogger Sarah from Smile and Conquer asked me to share some of my wallet-friendly, wanderlust tips with her blog readers.

Below you’ll find a couple of tips from the article after the jump. If you want to read the rest be sure to stop by my Smile and Conquer guest post to end up like Susie and her wee one not Clark and the gang….

Trade Patios for Picnics: how to fulfill wanderlust and be wallet friendly during family travel
Picnics not Patios

Trade Patio Hangs for Picnics

Once you become a parent and your kid becomes mobile, long afternoons sipping wine or meeting up for a sunny happy hour just isn’t the same. It can be expensive and stressful. One of my favourite things to do while travelling is putting together a simple picnic. In the summer, stop at the local farmer’s market, grab fresh, local food (and maybe a bottle of wine or craft beer) and then head to a park or beach for a picnic. Don’t have a picnic blanket? Stop at a Value Village and grab an old tablecloth or flat sheet. I recently did this on a trip to Victoria, BC on the shores of my favourite, tiny lake with a friend from elementary school. While my little splashed in the shallows, we caught up over some tapenade, baguette and all the cheese.

Family travel: Wanderlust and Wallet Friendly
Plan for your wallet-friendly, wanderlust-filled trip. Photo by oxana v on Unsplash

Research Frugal or Free(ish) Activities

I feel like one of my university profs when I say this: do your homework! A little research goes a long way when it comes to saving a few bucks on tourist attractions. Love art? See if the city art gallery has a pay-what-you-can night. Want to take the littles to a movie or play? Matinees might be cheaper or scan local arts weeklies for mentions of specials or discounts. Love the outdoors? See what kinds of outdoor parks or attractions are free or by donation. A bit of forward planning before you get to your destination goes a long way. Plus, it helps you be in the present with your family instead of madly googling the next stop while the rest of the crew plays or worse, melts down.

For more tips on staying on budget while travelling with your family check out my post Family Travel: 6 Ways to Save $$ and Have Fun. 

What are your cost saving family travel tips? Please share in the comments below.

12 thoughts on “Yo Families! How To Fulfill Wanderlust (And Be Wallet Friendly)

  1. When I travelled with my children, I always remembered to break up long monotonous drives with fun stops every hour or two. Timing is everything so a meal, a park, a village shopping street, or a stop at a friend’s house along the way made the time pass quickly and kept the kids entertained.

  2. A lot of my family travel involves actually visiting at my family members’ homes. Since I’m always willing to sleep on a sofa or air mattress, I save a ton by not having to pay for lodging. Meals are another area of savings because we usually pool our grocery budgets and cook homemade dinners together, rather than eating out. Plus that’s a lot easier when you have children in tow. We also look for free things to do. The kids love to go to public parks. We feed ducks at a local duck pond, watch the trains go by at a historic train depot, or find a free museum night or outdoor concert to attend. Hikes and bike rides are also a fun way to entertain the family without spending any money.

    1. We’ll have to look into biking on our next holiday, our little is getting pretty close to riding without training wheels!

  3. These are great tips – I especially love the idea of planning out a picnic – it’s simple, gives the kids huge space to run around and play, but you can also relax, mingle with the locals, maybe enjoy some local food from a market up picked up, and people watch while you’re chilling out in a park. It’s quite brilliant in its simplicity!

  4. Our early family travel involved visiting a lot of family members too. In addition to wanting to connect, it did save a quite a bit of money, and picnics were always part of the picture. The family travel puzzle is one that constantly evolves. I find it keeps getting better and better.

    1. I love that you too love picnics. We have a fabulous network of dear friends to stay with and family, so it’s definitely nice saving money and getting a nice visit in.

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