As a woman passionate about travel, I’m always researching travel destinations and planning my next trip. Consequently, that means I’m also always trying to save money to travel with my kids. Since becoming a mother to two daughters, my travel expenses have obviously increased. However, as of late, through my money saving efforts I’ve been able to travel 7+ days every month.
I want you to know, that if your dream is to travel more often with your children, that it’s 100% possible. You don’t need a job making $60k a year to make travel your reality. You also don’t have to have the advantage of being in a relationship were you can save money from two incomes.
I’m going to give you 27 tips to help you get on your way to traveling with your kiddos. Some of these pieces of advice may be ones that you have heard before, but not in the way that I break them down. As long as you are determined and committed to achieving your travel dreams, this advice will lead you to success.
Saving Money to Travel With Your Kids
1. Sell your junk
An obvious way to earn some cash, I know. But, hear me out. If have been bitten by the travel bug and are determined to make this a reality, consider what you actually need and what you don’t.
For me, this played out as so.. I determined I didn’t need a lamp on each end table in my bedroom, so I sold one. I determined, I didn’t need two pair of black flats, so I sold one. I sold my daughters outgrown clothes, their baby bouncers, their old bibs, etc. etc. etc. I decided to sell half of my home decor. Why? Because I was determined to travel. I have a love for temptations cookware, but guess what? I don’t actually need 6 baking dishes, I just don’t.
2. Cook more meals at home
As everyone know, cooking your meals at home will save you money.
Thinking about grabbing some quick value meals for your kids on the way home? They may not want to hear it, but they will survive
When you’ve been eating at home for a while, it can get boring. Try to up the variety to insure your success. Another option for when things get boring at home is to let you kids help. Allow them to stir, teach them to chop, etc. This is a good mother-child bonding activity that has the added benefits of saving money and teacher you kids life lessons as well as lessons about different cultures food, depending on what type of food you are making.
3. Buy store brand
If you are doing your grocery shopping at Target or Whole Foods, stop. Starting shopping at Trader Joes, Aldi, or Walmart instead. Currently, due to where we are living, we get everything we need from Walmart. Buying their store brand is the best way to save some serious money.
For example, the price right now for a box of 136 pampers size 3 diapers is $3 MORE than a box of 328 parents choice size 3 diapers. THATS INSANE. You can save some serious cash by buying their cleaning products, food, toiletries, etc.
4. Buy used, save the difference
If you aren’t already buying used, you need to start. You can buy a gently used pair of under armor tennis shoes for your child for 30% of what you would pay in the store. So, when you are in need of shoes, clothes, or anything else, check out facebook marketplace, yard sales, or thrift stores first.
Here lately I’ve had some luck shopping at Once Upon a Child. I will say that they don’t always have good deals, but they are definitely worth the trip. I also swear by the Goodwill. Even if you have to drive an hour to a decent Goodwill, the money you will save in long run will be worth that drive.
5. Reconsider your gym membership
For me, I had to give up my gym membership. Don’t get me wrong, it was nice to have someone watch my kids for two hours while I exercise, socialize, and sit in the sauna. However, I receive more benefits from exercising at home.
It’s not only saving you money that can go towards traveling with your kids, it also is beneficial for your child(ren). If you take them outside with you while you workout or go to the park for a walk, then they get some much needed fresh air and exercise as well. It’s also setting a great example for them. If they say you caring about your health and putting an importance on your well being, that will rub off on them as well.
6. Consider a side hustle
This can be as simple or complex as you want it to be. You could mow your neighbors yard, babysit a friends child, or offer your cleaning services. You could try your hand at photography. If you think you don’t have the necessary skill, you’re wrong. The knowledge is at your fingertips on the internet.
You could also make and sell a product. This doesn’t have to be something that takes a great amount of skill and money. This can be something as easy as learning how to make wreaths or baby pacifier clips. Sell your paintings or learn to make cakes. The possibilities are really endless.
7. Write out a detailed budget
The most important part to making sure you meet your savings goals is to write out a budget that is going to lead you to where you want to go. Then, stick to it.
If you go to a thrift store because you need a pair of rain boots, but you see three other shoes you want while you are there, don’t get them. You need rain boots, not heels, tennis shoes, and flats. This can be hard, especially for those who love to shop, but it will allow you to save for the ultimate goal that you are after, traveling with your kids.
8. Buy in bulk
This option isn’t for everyone, but it works for a lot of people, especially big families. Buying your kids snacks, diapers, paper towels, etc. in bulk will definitely save you money.
However, if you think the cost of a membership to a store club isn’t worth how much you would buy and save from shopping there, you’re probably right. Do the math for the needs of your family to see if it’s a viable money saving option for you.
9. Kick your habits
One of the hardest things for most people is to stop spending money on you unhealthy habits. Wether you smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or have a coffee addiction; they are all holding people back from their money saving goals.
For example, the drink that I get from Starbuck costs $4.75. If I get a drink from them every week day, then I would be spending $95 a month, before taxes. That’s insane. In some travel destinations, thats a hotel room and a dinner!
10. Consider narrowing your subscriptions
Do you have a Netflix subscription? Hulu? HBO? Starz? Magazine subscriptions? Paying for something you rarely use? Cut it out! It’s surprising how much we waste sometimes. If you have satellite, consider getting ride of your streaming services. If you have a streaming service subscription, consider cutting your satellite TV.
11. Consider a temporary roomate
It doesn’t need to be forever, but if share a place with a room mate for a 3-4 months could bring you over $1,000! Where would you go with $1,000?
12. Use a re-usable water bottle
Instead of buying gallons of water, packs of bottle water, or filters for a water purification pitcher; switch to using re-usable bottles for you and your children. Water from you kitchen faucet is not bad for you. Unless something crazy has happened that has contaminated your water supply, do yourself a favor and save some money buy drinking water from your tap.
13. Seriously assess your needs and wants
Another difficult bit of saving money. Do you really need to take your kids to the children’s play place once a week? Or could you visit a free place once a week instead. Do you really need to buy a couple new outfits every month? Or could you save new things for birthdays presents?
Take a good look at how you are spending your money and label each thing you buy as either a need or a want. Then, look at how you can narrow your wants list down, as well as ways you can switch your wants that cost you money to wants that you can have for free,
14. Pack your lunch to work
Take a look at Pinterest and make a list of cheap and simple lunch ideas that you can pack with you to lunch. Grabbing fast food or going our with a co worker for lunch can become a HUGE money pit. If you look at making your lunches for work as a “hassle”, you should consider meal prepping on Sunday nights.
15. Reduce you vehicle usage
To save on gas, share a ride with a friend or family member when you can. If you don’t live in a city, it can be difficult to walk to were you’re going. However, another option for cutting back on your vehicle usage is to walk when you have the opportunity.
16. Consider participating in no meat Monday
Meat is usually our highest grocery expense. By dedicating one day a week as a “no-meat” day. If you tend to eat a lot of red meat this can also be beneficial for your health. It’s also a great way to shake up the variety of meals you cook at home.
17. Consider a no spend weekend
We tend to spend most of our money on the weekends when we are off of work and actually have the time to get out and do things we want to do. If cutting out spending on all of your “wants” seems way to hard for you, you could try starting out with a no spend weekend.
There are tons of things you can do on a no spend week end with your kids. Play in the water fountain in the back yard, make crafts, watch movies, build a fort, make a bubble bath in the kiddie pool, build an “obstacle course”, or let them help you with a household project. For moms on a no spend week end, you can tackle a project you have been putting off, try yoga for the first time, exercise, read that book you have yet to make time for, do something creative like drawing or painting, deep clean your house, write out a new budget, and so many other things. A no spend week end not only saves you money, but it can help you be more active and productive as well.
18. Learn to cut hair
You can learn how to do anything on YouTube. Watch a few videos and learn to cut everyones hair yourself. This is another tip that gives you multiple benefits. Not only are you saving money, you are also learning a new skill, bonding with children, and perhaps even educating yourself for a service that you can provide to others at a price.
19. Don’t spend time around financially irresponsible people
If you are hanging around with your friends that are spending money left and right, that can tempt you to do the same. If you spend a lot of time with your mom who thinks you saving money to travel with your kids is foolish, then stay away or stay strong. If you aren’t around people who support your money saving efforts, you are really going to struggle.
20. Take a look at your cell phone plan
You may be spending way more on your phone plan than you should be. Personally, I know that I am spending over 3x as much as some of my friends and family members are. Once I pay off my phone in a few months, I will be switching to T-mobile. I have heard a lot of great things about them. Most often, I hear about their great prices and how they are the best service provider for travelers. If you aren’t interested in using T-mobile, I recently had a friend say that she switched to the Walmart family plan. For two lines with unlimited data, it cost her just $75/month.
21. Consider taking on extra shifts
If you work at a job that will allow you to pick up shifts, do it. Depending on what job you have and how much you make, this is most likely the easiest way to put away extra money for travel.
22. Remind yourself of your goal
After saving for so long, it can get boring and hard to keep going. Remind yourself of what your are working towards. Create a dream board, remind yourself of how this will benefit you and your children, or put motivational notes around your house, car, and work space to keep you pushing towards your ultimate goal.
23. Remember that little things add up
It can be really easy to say “it only costs $5.” Those $5 purchases add up so fast and before you know it you have spent a dinner on the beach or a night in the villa of your dreams. Think things through, don’t make spur of the moment purchases.
Instead of stopping at the gas station everyday for a drink and a candy bar, make yourself to go snacks and drinks for your car rides. If you see a cute hair bow for your daughter while in line to buy your groceries, resist. Stay strong and you will be one step closer to reaching your goal.
24. Learn how to have fun for free
Consider taking your kids to the public library, free events the city holds, the park, and walking trails. You may even find free story times and different events for you and your kids in your home town. Learn to let go of taking your kids to the movies, the zoo, etc. all the time. If you don’t want to let go of these things all together(I know I don’t), simply look for cheaper options. Instead of the zoo, I take my kids to the free nature center at one of our local parks. There are always ways to have fun for free or cheap, you just have to put in the work to find them.
25. Don’t spend when money comes your way
If you receive a bonus at work, put it directly into savings. Same goes for money you are given at Christmas time, birthdays, and tax returns. This is a HUGE way to add money to your travel fund.
26. Make a grocery list
Before you go to the grocery store, make a list of meal you want to make that week and the ingredients you will need to make those meal. Prepare your grocery list and stick to it! When Wednesday comes around and your kids are wanting cookies, refrain. Explain how you have some sweet things at home and they can choose from what you already have.
27. Consider traveling with another mom
This one can cut your accommodation and transportation cost significantly. If you are taking a road trip, you can split the cost of gas with a mom friends. Another option is to split the cost of hotels. You split the cost of a hotel room with another mom, but this doesn’t mean you all have to spend the whole trip together. You can hang on the beach with your kid(s) while she goes shopping with her hers.
When it’s your dream to be able to travel with your children more often, it can sometimes seem impossible to make that dream a reality. Yes, these 27 tips WILL help you reach your saving goals, but without determination and commitment; you won’t get far.
So create a plan and stick to it. I want to see you succeed! Feel free to leave me a comment if you have any questions about saving to travel.