Travel Tips for Single Parents: With Their Kids

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Having kids should not be the deciding factor to ending all travel plans. In fact, traveling with your kids has so many benefits for them. Traveling is one of the best gifts you can give your family. When people travel, they see new cultures and become empathetic towards people that are different from themselves. Traveling can inspire curiosity, create moments to be brave, and teach adaptability and responsibility.

Many people believe that traveling is always expensive and unattainable due to money. However, that is not always the case. There are many tips and tricks that one can take to save money on travel. Here we will go over some of the best tips to travel on a budget and will go over some of the best affordable places in the United States and abroad.

Tips for Saving Money on Transportation

Compare Flights

Before purchasing the first deal you come across, make sure that you are comparing flights from different websites. A great website to search is Google Flights. This database looks at all major travel websites and individual airline websites.

If your travel dates are flexible, Google Flight can also help you search for the cheapest days to fly out and come back.

Book Well in Advance

It is advisable to book flights up to six months in advance. The sooner you can purchase plane tickets, the cheaper it will be. Buying early can essentially save you thousands of dollars when purchase plane tickets for a family.

Look at all Options for Transportation

There are many options to get from Point A to Point B. Make sure that you look at and analyze all the options. Sometimes for a larger group, driving or taking a bus may be a better option than flying. If in Europe, trains can sometimes be cheaper than flights. This is especially true if you are taking an overnight sleeper train. With these you are not just saving money on transportation but saving money by not staying in a hotel for a night as well.

Use Public Transportation

When in bigger cities, avoid renting a car or taking taxis, and instead use public transportation. Taking a subway or local train can often save more money than daily rental fees and taxi rides. Many public transportation services offer day passes or weekly passes that can save even more.

Tips for Saving Money on Accommodations

Travel Out of Season

Not only flights, but hotels can be less expensive out of season as well. Typically, off season in the United States is when kids are in school, between September and June. If you are able to take the kids out of school for a long weekend trip or for a week, then traveling during the school months is the best.

Shop Around for Accommodations

There are many ways that families can save on accommodations. Staying in less extravagant hotels and more budget-friendly hotel chains can help save money while traveling. Some budget hotels can include Travel Lodge and Red Roof Inn, or even nicer hotel chains like Holiday Inn.

Hotels are another great option to save money. In many large cities, especially in Europe, there are some great family-friendly hostels. Some people avoid hostels because they believe that all rooms share a communal bathroom, but that is not always the case. There are many hostels that offer 4-bedrom, 5-bedroom, and 6-bedroom and include a private bathroom in-suite.

 If your group or family is large, considering an Airbnb rental can also be more affordable than a hotel room or two. Instead of purchasing two rooms in a hotel for a large family, you can get a multiple bedroom house for the same price or cheaper.

House Sit or House Swap

If you really want to save money on accommodations, consider house sitting as a family or house swapping with another family. There are some great websites that connect people either looking for house sittings, looking to house sit, or looking to house swap. Some of these websites do require a yearly fee, but the fee is usually cheaper than one night in a hotel. Some great home swap websites include Home Exchange, Love Home Swap, or Holiday Swap. If you are interested in house sitting, some great websites include TrustedHouseSitters.com and Nomador. Many will even pay you or your family to house sit for them, which means you can make money while you vacation in a new location.

Tips for Saving Money on Food

Avoid Eating Out for Every Meal

One way to save a ton of money when traveling is to not eat out as much. There are a few ways that families can avoid eating out at every meal.

One, families can stay at hotels that include free breakfast. Enjoying a free breakfast before adventuring off for the day, is one meal you do not have to worry about.

Families can also save money when traveling if they get hotels that include kitchens or at least a minifridge and microwave. A kitchen would allow families to cook dinners in, which could save hundreds of dollars a week. If a hotel room at a mini-fridge, families can keep deli meat or easy meals in their hotel room, which could allow them to pack picnics or have dinner in the room.

No kitchen? No problem! Many hotels offer picnic areas with grills. Running to a grocery store and picking up a few things to grill up, can be an easy way to save.

Eat Out Smart

Sometimes eating out is hard to avoid. One way to save money when eating out is to eat at fast food chains. Fast food will normally be signific ally cheaper than going out to a restaurant.

If your family wants to splurge a little bit one night, sharing a meal is another great option. Many times, restaurants give very large portions, so sharing a meal between two or three kids may be a better option than everyone getting their own meal. Another option is to order a few appetizers for everyone to share. In addition, it is usually cheaper during lunch time, so having your restaurant meal during lunch versus dinner will save when traveling.

Tips for Saving Money on Attractions and Activities

Search Discount Websites

There are some great discount websites that offer savings on restaurants, activities, and attractions in different cities. Some great websites to check out are Groupon, LivingSocial, and Travel Zoo.

Some of these websites even offer major discounts on full trips to include airfare, hotels, tour guides, and attractions. Checking Groupon for their trips could save you thousands of dollars on European vacations.

Stop by Visitor Centers

Many Visitor Centers have pamphlets for different attractions and often include a coupon that could save some money. In addition, many centers will have information on City Passes. These passes usually include admission into a few major attractions in the city and can also include a 24-hour or 48-hour unlimited rides on public transportation.

Budget Friendly Family Trips in the United States and Abroad

Camping in a National Park

Camping in a National Park is a great way to spend a vacation while saving a ton of money on eating out and hotel rooms. Often, camping includes paying a small fee for a camp site, and then all food can be bought at a local store to grill out.

Some great National Parks to check out can include the Grand Canyon in Arizona, Glacier National Park in Montana, Olympic National Park in Washington, or Sequoia National Park in California.

Visit the Mountains in Gatlinburg

Gatlinburg is a fun family-friendly vacation spot in Tennessee. Not only is there a ton of outdoor activities, there is also Ripley’s Aquarium or the adventure park Anakeesta. Families can get a tour of the city by hoping on and off of the Gatlinburg Trolley. Kids will love the Ole Smoky Candy Kitchen or the Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster. At night, families with older kiddos may have fun with a ghost walk. Larger families can even rent some beautiful Airbnb’s on mountains with some amazing views.

Take a European Trip to Romania

Romania is one of the most affordable countries in Europe. There are many charming towns to explore and castles to visit. Romania is known as Dracula’s home and offers many free activities in one of the many medieval villages. Hostels can be inexpensive at $10 to $15 a night, and many have communal kitchens, so one meal a day can be cooked in.

Explore Parts of Asia

Asia is a great country to travel to and offers so many countries that are family-friendly and affordable. Transportation is inexpensive and allows visitors to travel to many countries in Asia like Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia, and parts of Thailand. In all of these countries, the food for each person can run $5 to $10 a day for all meals, and accommodations can be as long as $3 a night.

Read More >> Why You Need Single Mom Friends (From the Outside Looking In)


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Do you feel that you have become caught in the ‘hamster wheel’, giving little, if any, consideration to your well-being or social life? When you are partnered with another parent, you can freely connect with new people, join a gym, or take up classes that you have never had time for.

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