How to Stretch your Travel Budget while Traveling with Toddlers

Going on vacation and traveling with kids can be expensive. But, there are ways to save money while #travelingwithtoddlers! Find out some of my best (and easiest!) tips for stretching your travel budget while hitting the road or flying high with toddlers. #summervacation #springbreaktravel #traveltips #travelbudget Tips for stretching your travel budget when traveling with little ones…

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Traveling is pricey. Traveling with kids is even more expensive. So, how can you make save a buck here and there so that you can afford to do more, or go on more trips?

  1. Find a place that has a free breakfast. A true free breakfast, not a continental one with packaged pastries that won’t fill you or your little ones up past the next hour or so. Better yet, choose one with a kitchen. Then, go grocery shopping when you get to your destination and get foods that are versatile, but easy to prepare. Some of our favorites:
    1. Peanut butter and jelly (bread, peanut butter, jam/jelly, plastic knives if needed and paper towels, sandwich bags if you need them to be portable.
    2. Eggs (boiled, scrambled, fried, etc.). Don’t forget to get oil/spray if needed so your eggs don’t stick! Throw in some bacon, sausage, and hashbrowns if desired.
    3. Pasta and sauce
    4. Beans, rice, salsa, tortillas, etc. for a taco/burrito night. Throw in some chips to put a spin on it and make nachos. If you get cheese, it can be used for the eggs or with the bread to make grilled cheese.
    5. Kodiak pancake mix. It has lots of protein in it, so it’s sure to fill your little ones up. And, pancakes can be portable. Throw some of that peanut butter and jelly on them and make sandwiches!
  2. Find free and low cost things to do. Kids love parks, right? So why not take advantage of being in a new place and check out new parks?
    1. Ask local moms what to do and where they enjoy hanging out. Facebook groups are a great way to find out!
    2. Search LivingSocial and Groupon for the area you’re in to find things to do, and at a discount.
  3. Try not to eat each meal out. If you eat a good breakfast, you might be able to forgo a formal lunch somewhere for some snacks and whatever you packed. Then, eat an early-ish dinner, which will also help you avoid the dinner crowds.
    1. To save while eating out, see if it’s cheaper for your kids to share a regular sized meal or to order off the kids’ menu.
    2. Swap sides! We often order meals that our kids will eat, an appetizer, and share our food (family style). Just ask your server for extra plates.
    3. If you stock up on healthy snacks before your trip, you’ll have extra space coming back for stuff you buy on your trip.
  4. Avoid extra fees.
    1. Baggage
      1. This one’s tough, but we invested in good luggage for the kids, luggage that they can pull and is easy for us to manage if the littles decide not to help out at the airport. Everyone having their own carry-on saves us LOADs of money in checked baggage fees. Of course, sometimes, it’s easier and worth the $25 fee not to be wheeling around carry-ons, so in this case, we pack everything in one checked bag, instead of everyone checking their own bag. 
    2. Late checkouts
    3. Cleaning fees
    4. Parking fees (is that hotel really cheaper once you add in all the extra charges?)
    5. Save money when you book your trip.* I love Expedia because they’re often the least expensive AND they give me rewards. Yay! Save on your next trip when you book through Expedia: Program Wide $20 off $300 2+nights with code HOTEL20!
  5. Don’t buy them everything they want. 
    1. I know this sounds a bit harsh, but do they really want that toy, souvenir, shirt, or can they live without it? How much use and enjoyment will they truly get out of it?
    2. If you take your own snacks, there’s no reason to buy park snacks or airport food, saving you a pretty penny and some waiting in lines. Or, make a deal- after they have the lunch/snack you packed, IF they’re still hungry, they can share a ___.
    3. Books and key chains make great souvenirs. Each time you read the book about the place you visited, you get to revisit the trip and talk about the fun you had. Key chains are often FAR cheaper than Christmas ornaments and can still be hung on the tree. Then, each year when you decorate your Christmas tree, you are reminded of the trip you went on and the places you visited. When your littles grow up and get a place of their own, give them their ornaments and they’ll have something to put on their own Christmas tree and lots of good memories to look back on.
  6. Ask for discounts and upgrades! You never know until you ask, right?

*For more on how I save for trips by earning free money, check out this post: Why Making Free Money is Easier than You Think.

What are your favorite tips for stretching your travel budget?


Going on vacation and traveling with kids can be expensive. But, there are ways to save money while #travelingwithtoddlers! Find out some of my best (and easiest!) tips for stretching your travel budget while hitting the road or flying high with toddlers. #summervacation #springbreaktravel #traveltips #travelbudget