Backpack to Buggy

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Five budget friendly ways to make any trip feel like a vacation

October 14th, 2008 · No Comments · Tips & Tricks

You may not have much money to travel, but that does not mean you need to stay home.  Yes times are tough, but traveling is as much an experience as a destination.  A half-day trip can feel like vacation with the right approach.

What makes a trip, travel?

  1. Planning ahead – Even last minute travel involves a little advance planning.  At least a week in advance, pick your “vacation” day.  Schedule nothing else.  Give people the impression you will not be available.
  2. Research & preparation – Write down an itinerary for you trip including estimated departure time and potential destinations.  Watch a movie, or read a book related to your destination.
  3. Packing ahead – Put everything you will need for your ‘vacation’ together the night before.  Let your kids pack their own travel bag.  Put everything aside.  (Keep it real, by forgetting something.  Just kidding, kinda.)
  4. Indulge a little – Vacations are a time for ‘special treats’ that you don’t get at home.  Eat out, have ice cream, buy a souvenir, get dirty, or let bed times slide a little.  Break a couple routines or rules.
  5. Tell your story – Memories are part of what keeps us traveling.  Take lots of pictures on your trip.  Bring something home, other than a cold.  Put together a photo album, book or website with you family’s story.  Share with family and friends.  Have a family dinner in the spirit of your trip.

Here is our own example of turning a day trip into a vacation day.

  • Planning ahead — A couple of weeks ago, I set aside one Sunday for visiting pumpkin patches.  I collected a list of pumpkin patches in the rural areas ½-1 hour from home.
  • Research & preparation – The day before we left, I printed out directions to the top 5 pumpkin patches and the names of a couple of restaurants we could stop by.  The night before, we watched, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”
  • Packing ahead – Definitely not my style, but we did pull out a backpack for Mirielle.
  • Indulge a little – On the drive north, we went out for brunch at a diner that probably had not changed in 40 years (cost – $30 with tip.)  At one stop, we tried the homemade pumpkin ice cream (cost – $1, we shared.)  We indulged Mirielle with lots of time in a bounce house and a ride on a train through the pumpkin patch ($2 for bounce house and $6 for two train tickets).  Ironically, we did not come home with a pumpkin.  They are much cheaper at the grocery store.
  • Tell you story – We are adding the photo’s to Mirielle’s website and sharing them with you.
Two Kids at Peter's Pumpkin Patch

Two Kids at Peter's Pumpkin Patch

This is the first in a series on budget family travel.  My travel budget is spent and I want to travel, so here is how I am trying to make it work.  Have a travel budget problem to solve?  Send me an email.

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