5 Must Have Travel Trips for Kids
Looking for travel tips for your kids? It doesn’t have to be impossible to enjoy vacation and travel with your kids. By following some simple tips and routines you can have a fun trip and travel with your kids with less stress.
I’m in kind of a brain fog right now since we got back from vacation last night but I don’t regret any of it – the late nights, the way too many carbs and the lack of routine were completely worth it! We had such an amazing time, just a few hiccups, and I learned some things I wanted to pass on to you!
See the thing is, we haven’t been on vacation for 2 years. After my husband was out of work for 7 months, it’s been an uphill battle to get in control of our finances again and even have space in the budget for much fun. Don’t get me wrong – I’m super happy and my life is full of joy but honestly, we don’t have much ‘fun’.
I wanted this vacation to be one that we’d all remember, with limited stress and just a great time for all of us! Luckily, it completely exceeded our expectations and we’re home now – tired and beat – but so happy and grateful for our time together!
If you haven’t gone on vacation yet this summer (or want to think ahead for next year), I wanted to share some of the things I did to help it go smoothly AND some places that I wish I had planned better!
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How to Travel with Kids
How to Set a Budget for Vacation
Since we don’t have credit cards, everything we do has to come from our income and needs to be budgeted for. When planning this vacation, we did our best in advance to find places we could save money and get deals so that it wasn’t super expensive.
Sometimes when you go on vacation, you just want to have fun and don’t think about spending until you get the bill later. By pre creating a budget, you can still have fun but make choices that don’t leave you feeling regretful later on.
Ways to save money for vacation:
– Bringing snacks on trips with kids:
This was a HUGE one. I bought snacks from Aldi and put them in small ziplock bags before we left (because we all know what happens if you just open a bag of chips right?). When we stopped as rest stops there was no need for any impulse buys and we had snacks for the hotel room or late nights as well. I shared all that we brought on my Instagram – just click the highlight for Travel Tips!
-Staying at a hotel with a continental breakfast:
With a family of 5 I will do my best to stay places with free breakfast. Since my kids get up so early (yes, even on vacation) we were able to eat breakfast at 7am and stop for their snack at 10am before breakfast closed!
– Why have your kids share meals when you eat out?
We only had to eat out for 4 meals the entire trip (breakfast was free and so were 2 of our meals with the family reunion) so when we did eat out I tried to order things we can share. I never get my kids their own meal – the littlest get a kids meal and an extra plate!
They are food wasters and I knew I’d be so annoyed if they did it when I spent money on food so I was smart about this when we were out. One night we did spend more to eat at a seafood buffet but found one where kids under 4 eat for free! This helped offset the cost since this was a more expensive meal.
-Using coupons to make travel cheap and affordable
On our drive back we stopped in Ocean City, Maryland and hit up the amusement park and rides. Our hotel had a discount for tickets so we got unlimited rides for only $18 per kid. At first I did NOT want to pay this because it just seemed so expensive but it was $10 cheaper than tickets at the park and the kids went on almost everything! Seeing Arianna go on rides by herself and literally go on everything in her size made it worth it!
Routines and Systems for Traveling with Kids
I tried my best to be ‘flexible Cara” while we were away which honestly is super tough for me. I’m super type A and love my routines a LOT. But because we have good systems and routines at home, I found many of them transferred over to our trip.
-Nap and Bedtime Routines for Kids:
I was VERY flexible when it came to sleep on this trip. When you have older kids and younger kids it is much more challenging to lock down at 7pm for bedtime while you’re away so my kids were up until 10-11pm most night (and one night until midnight!)
This was something I never thought I’d be willing to do but, when it came time for bed my kids knew what to do. They grabbed their pajamas, read their book, said prayers and went right to bed. It was awesome to see our home routines transfer over on vacation. (If you need help creating an evening routine, check out this blog post on how to create a bedtime routine for your kids!)
-Cleaning Up Routines:
We started a hamper (garbage bag) for laundry as soon as we got there. I had the kids unpack their things so they could pick out their clothes and we could see what they had left to wear. My daughter was so used to putting her clothes away that she asked right away where the hamper was! This helped when we got home because I was able to just drop the clothes into the laundry machine and get them done as soon got home)
– Tips for traveling in the car with kids
Right away we made a trash bag and every time we stopped we would pick up any trash so that a big mess didn’t catch up to us. This made it a lot easier to unpack the car at the end of the trip! Speaking of the car, we had Arianna in a pull up for the entire 6 hour drive. Even though she is potty trained, we wanted one just in case.
We did bring her portable potty and stopped about 4x on the side of the road but I think she got nervous with all of the cars and never actually used it! We only had one accident the entire trip (and that was on the beach when she pooped in her swim suit! mommy had a fun time running back to the hotel to clean that mess up hahaha)
What I want to remember next time:
My phone was having issues the entire trip (seriously, just my phone!) where I couldn’t get my social media to load. I was irritated at first – I mean I had 6 hours in the car and couldn’t mindlessly scroll! But it was such a blessing in disguise. I was able to be super present, I barely was on my phone, and just connected with my family, God, and myself. Not having my phone gave me time to think but it also meant I forgot to take pictures!
I got about a dozen pictures total and with all that family sent me, have a great record of our trip.
But one thing was missing.
Pictures with me and my kids.
Most of the pictures I have are selfies of me and the kids and I barely have any pictures with them. I have a bunch that I have taken with my husband and the kids but it’s rare anyone takes my picture. And I’m not mad about it but it reminds me that I just need to be more intentional. Before the trip I should remind my husband to take more ‘in the moment’ pictures or just ask more often when I think “oh this would be a cute picture”.
This was the only picture I have with me and Isaiah that my hubby took –
While the rest of my family loved vacation , Zay was pretty miserable. His molars are coming in and with the lack of his normal nap he was cranky. I don’t think I ate one meal without him on my lap, throwing food at me, or putting food on my face. Hubby snapped this picture at our last night at dinner when he had just covered me in ketchup while he tried to give me some fries.
On the next trip, I want to make sure we get more shots and more memories and it’s just not me taking them!
All in all it was a great trip and I came back refreshed, thankful and so grateful for this amazing family and life God has blessed me with!
On the podcast, I’ll be went in more detail about tips for summer traveling so you can hear more details right here!
Since we haven’t been on vacation in a while, I did a lot of reading and learning and checking out tips online so that we could really enjoy vacation! Most of my tips came from this Super Travel Bundle! It’s got resources, courses, printables and a ton more tips that can help you with your travel needs! One of our goals is to be debt free in the next 7 years and buy an RV, homeschool the kids and travel for the year! There are so many resources that I can’t wait to plug into when we’re at that planning stage! Check it out here!
Links and Resources to Help You Travel with Kids
Get $10 free from Rakuten (formally Ebates) before you book your trip
Use Ibotta for cash back on your trip
Need Help Budgeting? Grab my Busy on a Budget course here in the Master your Money Super Bundle
Busy Bags and Activities for the Car Ride
This travel potty is amazing! It folds up and you put a bag under it for easy clean up!
Related Travel Tip Blog Posts
Need Help Getting Your Budget Under Control so you can Save for your trip?