I am wife to a magnificent man and mother to five wonderful children. Three of my children were born in the Northwest and two were born thousands of miles away in Liberia, West Africa. Birthplace is no matter, all of my children were born in my heart. This is our journey.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Saving money and sanity while traveling with a young family

It is no secret that traveling with a larger than average family can be spendy. A few years ago we purchased a tent trailer so that we would be able to go on vacation more often but not spend very much. The size of our family requires two hotel rooms for each stay. That adds up and having a trailer instead means we have plenty of room, a bathroom and a place to cook. This year we upgraded to a hybrid trailer that was less complicated to set up.

We attended a family reunion in Canada about nine hundred miles away and came up with a plan to make sure the spending didn't get out of control. Having a plan means less chaos and less spending.

There is a bank of cabinets under the boys' bed for storage. I purchased foldable bins that fit very well in the cabinets. Each of the kids had their own bin that held their clothing for five to six days. We were gone for ten days and did laundry at a campground half way through the trip. The shower worked great as a laundry basket since we were using campground facilities for showers.

We weren't sure what the weather would be the entire time but knew that some mornings would be chilly. The bank of hooks by the kids area served well for all of our jackets. 

We had a second area of hooks on the outside of the bathroom that worked perfectly for bath towels, kitchen towels and swim suits.

I had tried a large tote bag for toiletries on trips past but we always found ourselves having to dig through items that had sank to the bottom each day. It wasted time and was a little frustrating at times. This toiletry bag I found at Target for less than $7 was the perfect solution. The fabric wipes off and each pocket has a couple of little riveted holes in case a shampoo bottle or toothbrush is still wet when it is put away. I kept toiletries as well as medications and first aid items in this bag.

It is no secret that a big budget buster on a trip is food. We worked hard ahead of time on food prep and organization. I made two quiches and 2 dinners of burrito mix. We had lots of lunch meats, breads, chips, bagels, cream cheese, eggs, cheese sticks and fruit. Our goal was to only eat out once per day and we did really well with that. Alternating each day purchasing dinner or lunch helped so that we didn't get tired of the same foods. Also, sticking to places like Subway also kept it affordable and less greasy. I used my regular grocery budget for the make ahead meals and we really only spent about $20-$30 each day eating out which came out of the trip fund. All in all we were able to stay under budget with a minimal amount of chaos. What do you do to keep costs in check while traveling?

1 comment:

samantha said...

What a great post. We have been trying to come up with some type of trip that we could take without spending a arm and leg. Our plan is to buy a trailer soon so we can use that instead of hotel rooms.