Affording summer vacation with kids requires proper planning and learning to say no (like constant demand for Shopkins, geez!). We just got back from our 10-day trip abroad. We are literally ten shades darker but who cares.
This year we planned on traveling to Costa Rica, however, we looked at the economics at the time, and at the very last minute decided on Cancun, Mexico. As a background, my 7yo daughter Tee and I go on at least two or three vacations outside of the country per year. We started in 2013, so this is our fourth year traveling. In 2013, we visited France, Morocco and Nigeria. In 2014, it was Italy, Austria and Switzerland. In 2015, the boyfriend joined our crew, and we visited Vancouver and China (without her). This year, we have Mexico and Belize planned and it’s taking a lot of number games to reach an affordable budget.
Traveling with kids can be affordable
A number of people have asked me how we can afford these trips and I seriously don’t have a good answer other than, it really is priority for us. The biggest thing we do is plan as early as possible, we look out for deals, credit-card bonuses, and we go places no one thinks about going like China and Vancouver.
Due to the school system, we are limited in our travels during the Fall and Spring, and we do not like taking advantage of the Spring Break season because we can’t deal with these college students and their noise. Hence, these tickets and hotels reservations are purchased in advance for the best deal possible. To give you an insight, it cost $550 per person for our trip to Cancun and stay at the Westin Resort & Spa for 8 nights. This math makes affording summer vacation with kids a reality.
How To Cover Cost of Food and Drinks
When it comes to affording food and drinks, we take advantage of hotel discounts and eat out with the locals when possible. For example, at the Westin Resort & Spa Cancun, we chose to waive housekeeping in exchange for $5/day towards our food and drinks, which is about 800 pesos for our stay.
We also signed up for a 2-hour tour to Westin Lagunamar Vacation Ownership club and received a $100 voucher applied to our food & drinks. In addition, we received 20% off all food and drinks during our stay, as well as discounted massage and spa (which we did not use) and a photo-album.
Another option we tried for the first time was cooking our own meals. We froze some jollof rice (a Nigerian delicacy), beans, beef and chicken stew as well as some okra. The hotel room however did not come with a microwave, however, room service was kind enough to microwave our food for us as needed. Luckily we went through our home-cooked meals in a matter of three days, so we didn’t have to bother them much.
Affording Travel Activities with Kids
Activities are a different ballgame, we cannot afford more than two to three activities per vacation. Affording summer vacation with kids is a real numbers game. We try to visit amusement parks, water parks, national parks and make the most of the free activities such as beach, pool and hotel games.
While in Cancun, we visited Chichen Itza, one of the seven wonders of the world, a waterpark, and aquaworld. At aquaworld, we rented a jet ski for a total of two hours at $60 per half hour, quite steep if you ask me. We scored a few discount purchasing ahead of time on Travelocity, as well as use our 20% hotel discounts on tickets purchased directly from Westin. Ultimately, unless you groupon a deal, travel to a less touristic city, you have to pay what everyone else is paying for activities.
Do you travel with your kids outside of the country? How often? Do you have affordable destinations to share?