Archive | Frugal Travel

How to Travel on a Budget.. With a Baby!


How to Travel on a Budget.. Lots of families out there want to get out and see stuff.  They want to leave their troubles behind and spread their wings!  Even if that means heading just 100 miles away to go camping.    Vacation season is in full swing and American families are hitting the road with excitement. According to AAA’s annual vacation cost survey, the combined lodging and restaurant costs for vacations have jumped up 3.7% since last year, making this year’s vacation price higher than ever before. That’s why you have to put your frugal travel hat on and get creative.

Biggest Money Wasters on Travel..

  • Purchasing tickets at the last minute.  Rates are always higher when you book it late.
  • Buying too many travel supplies and accessories than needed.
  • Stopping to buy $30 worth of snacks at every truck stop.
  • Paying for parking at the airport when you could have someone drop you off.  If you have a family, consider having a friend or family member drive your family car to the airport to drop you off and then pick you up.  This one little thing could save you hundreds!
  • Over indulging in spa services – vacationing above your means.
  • Impulse purchases – lame souvenirs that are likely to end up at Goodwill.  Souvenirs are fun and help the economy of the place you’re visiting, but be conscious of how much you’re buying and make your purchases count.
  • Dining Out – If you’re traveling alone, this is definitely a cheaper way to go if you know how to order  smart.  But when you’re traveling with kids and several family members, this can be a challenge.  Dining out with 2, 3, or even 4 kids can be fun and interesting, but it can also cost you a fortune.  Talk to your kids about the family budget and let them know that you would appreciate them doing their part.  This way, when it comes to dining out at restaurants, your kids have a good understanding that they don’t need to order everything on the menu.  If you’re traveling with infants, that’s simple.  Most of the time they’re sleeping.  But with toddlers, you want to bring something with you that you know for sure they will eat.  Typically restaurants won’t care if you bring something in for the kids.  They want them happy too.  Another dining out money saver is ordering a larger meal and splitting it between two people.  You could also try to find a “buy one entree, get one free,” coupon if you know where you’re going ahead of time.  If your hotel has a business center, you could use the internet there to find the restaurants website and do a local search.
  • Credit Cards – If you’re vacationing on credit, you’re tossing money out the window.  Unless you’re using a credit card with 0% interest, your vacation is going to cost you far more than you think!  If you must use your credit card to pay for things like airline ticket, charge only the amount that you’re sure you can pay off quickly.  You don’t want to get stuck with months of high interest payments.

Now that we’ve covered “what not to spend money on,” lets talk about what TO do to save money on travel.

The average cost of food and lodging for two adults and two children is $269 per day. It’s the lodging rates that hit the hardest, going up 7.9% since last year. Meals, on the other hand, have slid down 1.3%, making eating on the road a bit less expensive, but not enough to counteract the spike in lodging.

According to AAA, the most expensive vacation spot is Honolulu, Hawaii with an average food and lodging cost of $584 per day. New York City and Miami Beach rank second and third, costing $524 and $409 per day respectively for a family of four.  However, there is hope for U.S. travelers who wish to go out west. According to the AAA survey, Albuquerque, New Mexico averages only $165 a day and Arizona costs $180 a day for the four person family making these three cities the least costly travel spots in the U.S.  If you’re just looking for some sun and warmer weather, Arizona with sight seeing, horseback riding, and a swimming pool, might be perfect for everybody.

An unpleasant truth is that food and lodging are not the only costs involved in a vacation. Hidden costs such as tolls and parking must also be considered as well. Every dollar you spend, matters. Watch what you need to spend money on, vs. what you just want.  Entertainment is yet another cost that may go under the radar as well as souvenirs, maps and travel guides, even gum!  It all adds up.

With gas prices on the rise, the fuel it will take to get to your summer hotspot will also add to the vacation expenses. It is important to plan ahead and budget for this cost by utilizing a fuel calculator – a variety of which may be found online at Mapquest and other travel calculator websites. Simply knowing how much you will spend on gas may affect your other vacation expenses.

Ever thought about traveling with an RV?  RV traveling is not the only way to save on your vacation, but is one of many tactics to keep your vacation inexpensive while still keeping the fun. Many families take trips in two or three days, staying at a hotel half-way to their destination. A great way to avoid such mid-way lodging costs all together is, if possible, to wake up early and drive through the day. Although you may not enjoy hitting the road at 5am, thinking of the money saved on lodging will help.  This is also the perfect time to come together as a family.  You can play games, listen to music, and even make some food while dad is driving.  It’s a smart way to kick of a summer vacation.

Also, bringing food and drink along for the ride cuts food costs. Once you arrive at your destination, locate a grocery store and prepare most of your food at your home away from home. Dining out for all vacation meals will incur a large cost that can easily be avoided.  Dining out is actually one of the biggest travel expenses you will have.  You can master how to enjoy your food while traveling and keeping it cheap.  You definitely don’t have to spend a lot to eat great and have fun.

Regarding the entertainment, when traveling with children, bring your own entertainment such as movies and board games. Consider lodging where entertainment is “built-in,” such as a beach (or within walking distance to a beach), mountain or lake.  Many lodges and lakeside hotels keep complimentary paddle boats and kayaks.

Finally, seek out discount rates for airlines and hotels. Many hotels and airlines offer discounted rates when large vacancies exist.  It’s best to travel in mid week and off seasons for the best deals.  And there are great deals out there!  However, keep your guard up as there may be some deals that really are too good to be true.  Beware of offers that are non-refundable or do not disclose enough information about your travel options.  It’s best to book trips and tickets online with a reputable and established company.

Here’s a little airline tip:  If you book your flight through an online company like Travelocity, and you ever need to make changes to your flight dates, don’t call Travelocity to make the change.  Avoid the change fees that can be upwards of $220.  Instead, call the airline directly and request your new travel dates.  Airlines will sometimes have change fees too, but they are much, much less.  You may end up paying $35 instead of over $200.

These budget tips will ease vacation expenses, making you more relaxed and focussed on your family.  After all, vacations can be even more fun when you know you paid less and everybody’s happy.

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A Frugal Way to Summer


A frugal way to Summer… Think about all the things you can save money doing…   Summer on a budget is not always the easiest thing to tackle.  All parents want to show their kids a good time and take them on fun road trips.  But not all parents can afford extensive trips, and certainly not when it comes to buying plane tickets for 2, 3, or even 4 kids!  A nice solution and a cheap solution to family quality time is to head to the park and just hang on the swings.  Or dig in the sand if you have a beach or sandpit around.  Remember back before TV and video games?  Families used to spend time together.  Not only was this a more simple way, a better way, but definitely a cheaper way.  If you really want to save money and do something fun for the summer, just relax, go to the pool and chill.  You don’t have to spend a lot to really enjoy your summer as a family.

Riding bikes is a great way to pass the beautiful days of summer.  This is definitely a cheap way to spend the afternoon and get some excersise in along the way.  Kids are more proned to gaining weight these days.  Do your part as a parent and teach your kids early that not only do you not need to spend a lot of money to have a good time, but you don’t have to sit on the couch and do nothing either!   Some kids would through a fit if you took their video games away.  Our new president Obama is encouraging our youth to put down the video games and pick up a bike!  He, along with other parents agree that we could always bring more excersise into our daily routines, not to mention family time. Remember family time?

If you have some frugal ideas about how to spend the summer, please share your comments!
Email: comments@frugalbabytips.com

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Money Saving Tips For a Family Holiday


Money Saving Tips For a Summer Family Holiday. If you’re planning on taking your family for a holiday this summer you’re probably interested in how you can do that and still save some money. There are all types of options for you, and one of the best ones is to stay closer to home. There are so many rich and beautiful areas that can be explored right in your own country that there’s no need to go to an exotic location this summer.  How much of the United States have you seen?  Have you considered exploring things within 300 miles of your house?  Sometimes there might even be something across town from you that you haven’t been to yet.  Its nice to find family events and shows right in your own neighborhood.  Who knows, you might even have fun!

The fun of a holiday is mostly about being together, anyway, so why not have a ‘staycation’ in your own country? You can be gone longer, see more things, and buy more souvenirs because you didn’t spend hundreds of dollars on a fancy hotel and a lot of airfare.  Not to mention the cost of getting a baby’s passport early.  These things have to be considered if you’re trying to be more frugal with the family budget.

Another thing you can do is go when the summer is just beginning or just ending, because places aren’t as busy then, and some of them will have better rates for things like hotel rooms and car rentals. If it’s not the peak of the tourist season you always have a chance to get something for less especially when you go online.

You don’t have to spend a lot on a hotel room, though, no matter when you go. You can stay in a self-catering cottage instead, or you can even camp. Camping is becoming one of the best ways for families to take great holidays without needing to spend a lot of money. It can be just you and a tent and a campfire, or you can stay in a campground setting that offers running water, an electrical hook-up, and bathrooms, as well as a club house, a pool, and restaurants.  This is not highly recommended if you’re planning a long trip with a new baby.  You have to take steps to be prepared when traveling or camping with a baby.  It’s nice to have the luxuries of home sometimes with a new baby.  There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your own sofa and your own porch for a while.  The new baby is probably entertainment enough.  Enjoy a relaxing and frugal summer.

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Cosco Baby Products


People want to know about Cosco Baby Products.  And no, I’m not talking about Costco (the mega club store)  Cosco is a big player in the baby product industry.  The company is known for being the “best value” product on the shelf.  Cosco offers all sorts of contemporary baby products ranging from Car Seats to Strollers to Baby Play Yards.  Check out Amazon.com for some of the best deals on Cosco Baby Products.  You can also sometimes find great deals on Cosco products on the Clearance page of BabiesRUs.com.  If you’re wondering about recall information on your Cosco Baby Product, go to ConsumerReports.org for recall information.

Another great place to look is Craigslist.com and Ebay.com.  But there’s nothing easier than finding someone local through Craigslist so you can actually check it out in person before you buy.  You’ll find amazing deals on CL.  It’s a hot spot for used kid and baby stuff.  Currently, they have a listing for a 1 year old car seat with drop-in bases for 2 cars. All 3 pieces sold for only $50.00.  That particular car seat retailed for $169.99 one year ago and the drop-in bases retail for $33.60 each on Amazon.  Now that’s the kind of deals we’re talkin’ about!

Favorite Pick:  The Cosco Pink Altura Jogging Stroller for $69.99.  If you buy through Yahoo Shopping, the link actually takes you to The Stroller Superstore.  Check this place out!  They offer FREE Shipping and a $25 rebate on orders over $100.  ..Definitely a place to do some online shopping for Cosco baby products!

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What You Need To Travel Cheap

What You Need To Travel Cheap

Baby Travel Needs

Traveling with a baby can be a nightmare. Not only can this be tough on you physically and mentally, but you must also keep a close watch on your finances. Doesn’t sound like a lot of fun, does it? Of course, this is taking things to extremes. You can most definitely travel cheaply with a baby no matter what situation you are in. And once you do this a few times you will make things much easier on yourself in the future.  Traveling with a baby can also be wonderful!

Tips for Travel On A Budget:

  • Don’t Be Afraid To Say, “No.” If you’re traveling with older toddlers and they’re old enough to ask you for things, don’t be afraid to say, “no.”  This is one biggy that will save you lots of money on stuff you or your toddler don’t need.  We all want to show our kids that we love them and we want them to have nice things.  ..But they don’t have to have everything! Consider teaching your kids how to be selective and buy smart – even at the age of 2.  It’s never too early to lead by example.  When you’re out shopping, especially when traveling, let them see that you want some things too, but you’re not going to get it because you simply choose “not right now.”  Let them know by being expressive and verbally say to yourself, “Gee, I want that, but I’m not going to get it right now.”  Let the child hear you and learn.  The “not right now” phrase will help a lot when a toddler is considering “a moment” in the checkout line and doesn’t understand why he’s not getting that toy.  If you feel that it’s not an item that you really need or want to buy, don’t be afraid to say, “no,” and stick to it.  Don’t get in the habbit of tossing extra items in your cart just to satisfy Junior and avoid a melt down.  You would only be setting yourself up for failure down the road (when the items get more expensive.)  Good habbits, including good spending habbits form early.
  • The Essentials, To Go. Make sure that you have enough diapers, wipes, formula, bottles, and more diapers.  This little thing alone is going to save you money because you can pretty much guarantee that the diapers and formula you have to buy in an airport or a hotel courtesy shop are not going to be cheap.  Not to mention the fact that carting your baby in and out of a store is never easy, especially with multiple kids.  Baby wipes are a prized thing to have when you’re traveling.  Only now, they’re not just for the baby.  Keep these handy and your trip will be cleaner and probably smell a little nicer too.  Remember one thing:  Vacations are not for diaper shopping.
  • Baby Food On The Go. No matter how old your baby, make sure that you have enough food to last the duration of your travel. This is one area that many parents underestimate time after time. Remember, it is better to pack too much food than not enough. Dining out with your baby can be done!  If you’re dining out in a restaurant with the baby, consider packing a small snack dish of baby food.  You can find small baby packs for food travel in most grocery stores or Walmart or Target.  These mini snack keepers are a must have when you’re on the go.  If you do pull out a baby food on the table at a restaurant, don’t worry.  Most restaurants respect that you need to feed the baby baby food and not a chicken club.  And any good waiter would even offer to warm it up.
  • Sleep and Save Money.  Have you ever thought about how much money stress can cost you?  If you think about it, we pay for all sorts of de-stressing things from products to spa treatments.  How much money do you think you would save if you never had to buy Asprin, IBprofen, Starbucks, Energy Drinks, Supplements, or that $80 massage?  We also tend to over eat and drink alcohol because of stress.  A lot of family travel budgets are busted when it comes to all day snacking and fast food joints.  How much money would you save on your travel food bill if you (and the baby) got a good night sleep everynight and stuck to a normal eating routine?  Take a note from your baby.  Let your body rest, drink lots of water, and feel your best throughout the day.
  • Stay Organized. If you want to travel with your baby in tote while staying frugal you need to be organized. This means that you should have all of the proper baby items in an obvious place, and your budget should be laid out in front of you.  I once had “a friend” who would have to buy the most basic baby things over and over again because she simply wasn’t organized and couldn’t find anything when she needed it.  This was rediculous and I had to step in with some see-thru storage bins.  If you’re in this situation too, you’re throwing money out the window.  Get some help from some friends if you have to, but get organized.  It’s not just important to know what you have, but know where it is.  And there’s nothing wrong with buying things along the way if they fit a need and fit your budget.

Soon enough you will want to take your baby on the road with you.  When the time comes, have fun traveling cheap!

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Frugal Travel

Frugal Travel

Baby Travel

There is nothing worse than traveling with a baby and learning that you forgot something you needed at home. If you run into this situation it means you will have to stop along the way to purchase what you need.  This is not frugal traveling. In turn, you are wasting money.  As a frugal consumer and traveler this is sure to bother you around the 3rd time you realize you’re out of wipes and you have to pay double what they should cost, at the corner drug store.

Here are five items that you need to take with you when traveling with your baby:

  1. Diapers. Your best bet when traveling are disposable diapers. This way you can throw them out along the way instead of having to worry about where you are going to do the laundry.  Consider getting one of those space bags to store your diapers in the suitcase.  These are super space savers and the more you can pack, the less you will have to buy on the trip.
  2. Baby Food. Be sure to take more food than you think you will need. It is much better to take too much than not enough. Depending on where you travel to, baby food might not always be as easily accessible as it is at home.  When you’re on vacation, that is not the time to be testing out new baby food either.  This is when you want to keep some things the same as they would be at home.  Traveling can sometimes be stressful for babies too and nothing soothes a baby’s stress like the same milk and baby cereal they’re used to.  Plus, You don’t want to be stopping and trying to find the right food during your trip.  A hunt for baby food should be the last thing on your travel agenda.
  3. Toys and a Goodnight Book. You definitely want to take toys and a goodnight book when traveling with a baby. This will help to keep your baby happy and occupied on the plane while allowing you to save money too. If you don’t take any toys you may find yourself at the store shopping around for something to keep your baby occupied.  Plus, toys can also bring a sense of calm and comfort.  Remember the magic of the baby blanket?  It could be the perfect thing that calms your baby on the plane.  That and their favorite toys.  This is a fun suggestion:  Check out MyCreateABook.com.  This kid’s publishing company will actually personalize a children’s book for you.  I can’t think of anything else more perfect to take on a trip than a great story with the child’s name and story in it.  They have existing stories and books that you simply plug your child’s or children’s name into.  The average personalized book costs about $12.97   A pretty great deal!  ..Not to mention a whole lot of fun for a toddler to show off on your travels.
  4. Baby Clothes. This goes without saying, but you want to take enough clothes to get you through your entire trip. Remember to plan for unexpected events. You never know when you will spill something and an entire outfit will be lost before the day even begins.  When you’re on your trip, that is not the time to be hunting for bargains on pants and socks.  Give yourself the pleasure of actually enjoying your vacation. Consider traveling with a stain remover pen.  This could save you some extra laundry time later, not to mention save you from throwing out stained clothing.
  5. Stroller and Car Seat. Don’t get so caught up in the other items that you forget to take a stroller and car seat with you. It is particularly easy to forget these items if you are not traveling by car.
    Depending on what country or city you’re traveling to, the child might need a car seat.  Imagine how much money you would waste by being forced to purchase a stroller or car seat upon reaching your destination.  And you don’t want to use those cheapo car seats that the rental car company will try to rent you.  I’m sure they’re up to safety codes, but those things are just dirty!  Think through your trip and decide whether you will need a car seat or not.  If there is any chance you will (even on a tour or something), bring it!  Don’t take a chance.  Use car seats in taxies whether it’s required or not.  Same goes for strollers.  Strollers are a must have for babies and toddlers.  Even traveling with a three year old that should be pushing me, I’m thankful for bringing the stroller along everytime.  The stroller is a gift from heaven!  Even if you typically don’t use a stroller, bring one.  Strollers keep your kids from getting overly exhausted (especially when travelling), it’s good exercise for you, and it’s one way to keep your baby or big kid safe, where you can see them.

Frugal travel with your baby is more than possible if you take the above five items along for the ride.

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