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7 tips for cheap travel with children

How often have you fantasized about packing your bags and taking your family on a short trip or a longer vacation to a strange or interesting place? A lot of times, I believe, just like most family people! The problem that often stops our plans is the budget issue. How much does it all cost? We are all aware that every trip has its costs, and they can be even higher if you travel with children, because we know that their definition of a good time is action, not chilling with a coffee and a view of the lake. Find me a kid who will calm down!

I don’t have it. Liv is three years old, which means she wants a good adventure. In nature, in a castle, on a lake, in a swimming pool — preferably all in one day! To make matters worse, she inherited a “nose” for traveling from me (just like I did from my mom) and asks me every day when and where we are going. Of course, she “doesn’t care” how much it costs, and let me tell you right away, it doesn’t have to be expensive. I learned this on my own skin, through years of practice, in which, all in the desire to keep my traveloholism and transfer it to Liv with my suitcase, I found numerous convenient ways to make our trips both more frequent and cheaper at the same time.
Of course, I didn’t taste it at first. It was difficult for me to learn from my mistakes because my previous travel style drastically changed. Specifically, when I traveled alone, with my better half, or with the whole team, we always got by quite cheaply. Cheap travel was our mantra! We didn’t care too much about comfort, and the main thing for us was to have a good time. And sleeping and lodging – who is asking you about that? Well, Liv “asked”! Namely, things have changed since I became a mom. Not only in the matter of choosing accommodation (which now must be suitable for the child), but also in choosing the location of the trip itself, which should, in addition to being cultural and recreational, also have quality facilities and activities for a rather lively and curious three-year-old girl. That’s how my travel blog was born, which can also be yours, because, with children or not, we’re all in the same mess when we want to travel more often and cheaper!

Travel & LIVe

I started the blog Travel&LIVe for others, for myself, and for Liv. Namely, finding myself in a completely new role for me as a mom – a travel addict, I wanted to share my experiences with others who wanted the same thing as me – frequent, high-quality, but cheap trips with children. If you’re among them, don’t take out your wallet. Take out your suitcase and take a look at seven timeless tips to save money when traveling with children. And then one more time, on the fifth and eighteenth!

Tips and tricks for cheap travel with children

It is important to know that cheap travel does not imply locations without content, questionable accommodation, staying without sleep, or living on sandwiches. In fact, they mean the opposite! In travel jargon, cheap trips refer to trips where you will have the best time possible for as little money as possible – because you know what (not) to spend on and how to avoid “tourist traps” and find just the right facilities. Well, let’s go!

1. Early preparation

When it comes to travel planning, early preparation is crucial. When I say “early preparation”, I mean as early as possible. Not days, not weeks, but even months in advance! The earlier you book accommodation, the lower the price will usually be, and the choice will be larger and better. You will be able to find exactly what suits you in terms of prices and content, which will be difficult to catch at the last minute because the best accommodations are usually booked months in advance. Well, this time they will be waiting for you! Another advantage of early preparation/booking is that you will have a lot more time to thoroughly research the location you have chosen. What (not) to see; where to eat well; where to go with children; and what to entertain them with? This is all important information that helps you plan your expenses and make them lower and more meaningful. Don’t forget, knowledge is power – and the more you know about the location itself, the better you’ll see ways to save. In particular, you’ll choose the things you really want, and you won’t be a “drunken billionaire” who easily falls into tourist traps or things that most people before you rated as bad – which you’ll only find out without doing research when you see for yourself (and yes, on your own wallet). Spend less money and time by avoiding all “why did I need this?” moments!

2. Free incursions

Museums, galleries, festivals, concerts… smart entertainment doesn’t always have to cost a lot of money! Fortunately, the aforementioned attractions have taken care of this truth themselves in the form of organized free entry days, the dates of which they regularly announce on their websites and social networks. For this reason, you can easily find out what those days are and plan your trip accordingly.

3. Skipping the season

Less crowds and a larger offer of accommodation are not the only advantages of skipping the season. Much lower prices are also a big advantage! Not only the accommodation itself, but also all the facilities that will be waiting for you at the chosen location. You will find more affordable excursions and tours, lower prices in restaurants and cafes, and I emphasize once again – much, much less crowds, without which you’ll explore the location completely relaxed. And at the same time, feel like it’s yours!

4. Eat local

I don’t mean only restaurants with local food, but also street food and, especially, markets. In addition to the finest, cheapest, and safest food (the latter because you know that most of the food is really fresh), markets are arguably the best place to feel the real pulse and rhythm of a place and the mindset of its inhabitants. We eat at the markets every time, and Liv almost looks for them herself! Namely, the movement that rules the market, all those smells, sounds, and voices, and often the fun of local attractions, are what are interesting to a large number of kids. Check if yours is among them, of course with a delicious, fresh bite!

5. Cook “at home”

Many people avoid cooking while traveling. Are we currently on vacation or not? Of course it is, and let it be even better – and at the same time cheaper than it will be if you buy just any grits, even if they’re the nice ones from the market! We not only cook but also carry food, such as soups from a bag with which we refresh ourselves before or after the action on the road. I believe that at least one person will now think “is this one giving the child soup from a bag”? Yes, I do! In those few days, nothing will happen to her on the way – and she will be welcomed home by the real grandmother! In addition to soup and similar fast foods (pasta from a bag, etc.), we must also bring Turkish coffee from a bag (Coffee to Go Blake Mini) with us. Namely, we are coffee drinkers (not Liv, of course). Coffee from a bag became a logical and highly effective way for me to save money after I realized how much we spend on coffees in the city that we actually need to drink. As a result, inexpensive trips became even more affordable.

6. Mom, I would like some water

Sounds familiar to everyone, right? The solution is simple: always carry your own water bottle! There is no need to buy water in the store every time, which your wallet will surely agree with. Your own bottle will save you money, and the planet will thank you for less shopping and plastic consumption. It sounds like a good calculation – in which you get by with even less expenses!

7. Legs & pedals

Whenever you can, keep the road under your feet! Or under the wheels, as you prefer. Walking and cycling are the best and cheapest ways to get around the city and, spontaneously or not, “wander” into hidden corners with local shops, cafes, and crafts that, should I emphasize, offer lower prices than “hot spots” in the narrower center. Most of the time, you won’t need to lug your bike. Cycling is a must-have means of transport outside, and you can easily rent it in most European cities, often at a very affordable price. Use it! Bicycles will give you a completely new feeling of travel that you have no chance of experiencing in a taxi, metro, or bus… and at the same time, it is the healthiest and most fun for children. No one will be able to tell you that you didn’t exercise or spend enough time in the air that day!

Cheap trips with children – ideas, photos, and even more tips

If you like any of these ideas, it’s good to know there are more! You can find them on numerous travel blogs for family trips with children, where parents share tips and tricks – of course, those from their own suitcases! I do it on Travel&LIVe and you can always contact me for more – because the more we share ideas and tips, the more often and cheaper we will travel. If you see us exchanging advice or working together, I will be glad to jump into the story because a good story is like a good suitcase. It always fits exactly what we all need!



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