Budget travel, Europe, Family Travel, Travel

10 ways to spend WAY less while traveling as a family

  1. Don’t buy every travel gadget everyone recommended before you go. You don’t need special “travel clothes”, or a million other new things. There are a few things that I swear by like these awesome things,  but as always, my motivation in purchasing these products is to help us to pack light and save money.
  2. Stay in an Airbnb. Seriously. We stayed in a fully equipped apartment in Monterroso, with a private pool that overlooked the Italian Riviera for under $150 a night. My parents came along with us which means we split the costs in half, so we stayed there for $75 a night. I’ve also had good luck finding great deals with Booking.com. We stayed in Germany in an apartment with a beautiful kitchen and 4 beds right by Neuschwanstein Castle for about $60 per night (split between my parents and I). One nice thing about Booking.com is that your tenth day is always free, which comes quickly when you are taking a longer trip. Use this code to get a $35 credit www.airbnb.com/c/melissam11137IMG_3821
  3. Eat breakfast “in” most of the time. Whether you stay in a hotel (an included breakfast is a huge bonus) or an apartment, I find this is the easiest meal to “eat in”. It’s fun to go to the grocery store or market and explore new foods to start the day off.IMG_0182
  4. Eat cheap…. sometimes. I really think you can do Europe for as cheap as you want. We could have possibly done it cheaper if we hadn’t bought approximately 50 gelatos per day, or never eaten out, but we also want to experience the food and culture! SO what works best for us is to eat cheaply for breakfast and lunch, and splurge for dinner and gelato/treats. The street food in Europe is one of my favorite things. You can buy a delicious crepe or a baguette sandwich for about €3. Some of the best food I’ve ever eaten is the incredibly budget friendly street food that you can find all over Europe. A cone full of fries and Kebab meat runs about 3 euros. Another option is to buy a fresh baguette and some cheese and grapes and have a picnic in a park. It’s completely delightful. My husband carried a backpack with our homemade lunch and drinks (that we bought from the grocery store instead of at a street vendor) as well. This saved us loads of money! We tended to eat at a nice place for dinner and and the kids ( and grown-ups) looked forward to it every day.
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  6. Pack light. Yes, even with kids. ESPECIALLY with kids. More and more airlines are charging outrageous baggage fees. Each person in my family travels with a backpack. We do not check any luggage. This saves us about $70 person or $350 total. I’d much rather spend that money on gelato or a unique souvenir. If you are traveling with an infant or toddler in diapers, remember, you don’t need to bring a lifetime supply of diapers. Every country has babies and therefore, sells diapers. Bring what you need for the first couple days and then stop at the store, when needed, to purchase more.
  7. Have your kids save up money for their own souvenirs before you go. This helps them analyze if they want to save it for a souvenir or spend it on something not as exciting at home. For the most part, they choose to save it.IMG_0300
  8. Don’t buy souvenirs for every person you know. Honestly, it’s your trip and these memories that you are creating mean nothing to them. Send them a postcard if you want, but really, they don’t care that much anyway.
  9. Drive. Okay, here’s the thing, I’ve gone back and forth on this one a lot.  I have researched and gone crazy. If you are traveling alone or as a couple, trains around Europe can be wonderful. As a family? It. Adds. Up. Fast! Check out the Rome2rio app. It tells you the fastest way to get anywhere, and also compares prices for you. One big caveat to this is that you have to pick up and drop off in the same country, otherwise, you will be charged exorbitant fees. We were totally fine with starting and ending our trip in Paris, so it works out really well. For a month (we didn’t need it for the other week we spent in Paris) it cost about $350 . Which is far less than train travel would have been for our family.
  10. Take the night train or bus. If driving in a foreign country isn’t your thing, consider this little tip: when you travel through the night, you are killing two birds with one stone: Somewhere to sleep AND transportation.
  11. Collect moments, not things. I usually buy one souvenir per “stop” …I’ve heard of people collecting Christmas ornaments from each place they go. I think that’s beautiful. In the end, all that matters are the memories you created, not the Eiffel Tower statue that will get lost in your kids toy box. Cherish the time you get to be with your kids and slow down and enjoy the sites and sounds, music and languages. This is a time to relish the moments. The biggest souvenir we bring home is basically free. PICTURES! I’m a professional photographer, so capturing the trip is so much fun for me. We all love looking at the pictures when we get home and reliving the magic once again.IMG_0117





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  1. Johlene Orton

    August 7, 2017 at 10:30 am

    I can not agree more with this post! The hardest thing for me to learn was not buying souvenirs for the whole world lol!!

    1. admin

      September 9, 2018 at 11:08 am

      Yes! That’s the hardest thing for me too.

  2. Pregnant Eve

    October 4, 2018 at 7:08 am

    A timely post for me. We will be going to Asia soon. Though its cheap we want to cut down our expenses as we have a home makeover pending. I am also veering towards BnB arrangement but not sure how good are these in Asian countries.

    1. admin

      October 4, 2018 at 7:14 am

      The great thing about Airbnb is that they have a lot of reviews. We’ve luckily never had a bad experience and we’ve stayed in a lot. Good luck! And have an amazing time! ❤️

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