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Aug 05

Budget Travel Tips for a Back-to-School Vacation

Posted on August 5, 2019 at 10:35 PM by Ashley Mock

kid in car traveling

By: Leslie Campos,

If you’re thinking about taking the kids away for a last whirlwind weekend, time is running out. But never fear, with the following tips, you can plan a quick getaway and still have money left over for back-to-school supplies. Traveling is an awesome way to open your children’s minds up to new experiences. As an added benefit, it will be a welcome respite from your summer routine and the perfect way to segue into the new school year.

Rethink Your Road Trip

If you have very little time to plan, a road trip is just what the doctor ordered. So, pack your bags, pick a direction, and start driving. If you want to save money on food, pack a cooler for the first day or two and bring along a picnic blanket and an assortment of snacks so you can get out, stretch your legs, and have a bite to eat before you keep trucking. Make the trip really interesting by skipping the interstates and big cities; there are plenty of small towns all throughout America that have plenty of unique roadside attractions. Chances are, the majority of your children’s classmates will never have an opportunity to experience these gems. Check out Roadside America to get an idea of what’s within a few hours drive of your home.

Entertain and Engage

As much fun as you’ll have on your adventures, there will be times when there’s nothing to do. For the kids, this is usually in the car. There is no shame in allowing them to use a device to while away the time, but stick with educational games. The LeapPad Glo is a great choice for the 3- to 9-year-old crowd and boasts a 1,000-plus strong library of e-books, videos, and learning games. At night, a plug-and-play streaming device is a must; assuming you have access to the internet, you’ll be able to let your children watch their favorite shows while you settle in. There are plenty of free apps to choose from (including PBS Kids). Remember, different devices have different features, so do your research before you hit the road.

Play Where You Stay

If you are on a tight budget, spend some time planning your excursion before you head out the door. One thing to consider is looking for a place that has on-site activities; this will cut down on the amount of money you spend staying entertained during the day. Even if you don’t want to go far from home, there are plenty of nearby options. Holiday Inn in Port St. Lucie is a great example and features an expansive swimming pool and waterfall. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous and don’t mind a longer drive, the Travel Channel recommends these eight water park hotels, which are scattered across the country, from Virginia to Wisconsin.

Flying High

Sometimes, you have to bite the bullet and jet away. Unfortunately, air travel can be extremely stressful with younger kids — and some adults. However, it does not have to be. Make sure to book a day flight, as late-night flights and hyperactive toddlers are a recipe for disaster. Next, make sure you pick a seat close to the potty. You’ll also want to make sure that you have enough sippy cups and snacks to last for the duration of the flight. UpgradedPoints offers a ton of great information on how to reduce stress while flying with children.

Traveling is a great experience, and it doesn’t matter if you plan for months in advance or decide 20 minutes before you pull out of the driveway. If you haven’t got the kids out of town — or at least out of the house — this summer, these budget-friendly tips can help you make the most of your last few precious weeks before school is in session.

Image via Pixabay