Frugal Travelling with Family

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Money is tight these days. Everyone is stressed from the pressures of penny pinching. Summer is coming. It’s the perfect time for a family vacation, but you’re watching every dime. No problem. Here are 5 tips to keep your family vacation frugal, but fun.

Skip the hotel pool. While it seems almost every hotel offers a pool nowadays, this simply means that those that don’t may be more affordable. If you’re kids love to swim, scout out the local beaches at your destination. Most are free. Besides, hotel pools tend to blend together, while days at the beach create lasting memories and offer a true vacation atmosphere.

Take the long way. The kids may gripe and whine about being trapped in the car, but sometimes going off the beaten path is the best way to discover new things and provide stories for years to come. You can plan most of your trip around the drive rather than around specific to-do’s, which will save money. Remember to keep an open mind, the camera ready, and maybe just this once allow the kids to listen to their mp3 players endlessly or watch a DVD or two on the drive.

Take the train. Taking the train can get you to the far off destination you’ve been dreaming of for half the price of flying and half the headache of driving. Riding on the train is an opportune time to gaze out the window and daydream about the countryside rolling by, to catch-up on that novel you’ve been meaning to finish, or to play cards with the kids.

Visit the Farmer’s Market. While you probably won’t be cooking up a gourmet meal with fresh ingredients on the road, farmer’s markets often offer freshly baked pastries for minimal prices. Not only does your family get to experience the local cuisine, but each family member can enjoy something different and tasty for breakfast one morning.

Find a local playground. I’m sure you didn’t save up all your money and travel a great distance just to go to a park, but this option might create more memories then you think. Young children love playgrounds and probably would rather run, jump, swing, and slide than stay cooped up in a car all day or ride in a crowded airplane for hours on end. Visiting a park on vacation can be a completely different experience then visiting one while at home. In most cases, no one has to take that work call or return that text message. The entire family can be present and give one another their full attention. Taking this time to slow down and enjoy each other will make going to a playground on vacation may feel like a mini-vacation in itself. Don’t forget to bring and enjoy a picnic lunch too!
Thank you to our guest writer:
T├ęsa Nicolanti
2 Wired 2 Tired -


  1. Great tips. I live going to markets wherever I am travelling.

    I also remember some of the "really cool" parks we played at when away. I got really excited last year when DH and I went on a holiday adn we drove past one and I was like "Oh, I remember that!" Don't know what else we did but I remembered that park! lol.

  2. Thanks for sharing.It's nice to have "memories".

  3. Great point about pools! They do all look alike.

    As for car trips, a great way to keep the food expenses down is to pack your own cooler with snacks, sandwich fixings, drinks, etc. It'll cut down on eating out and grabbing snacks at rest stops. And some of my favorite memories from my family's summer trips are the picnics we had at various parks and roadside areas along the way! Some scenic overlooks have picnic tables with postcard views!


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