Family Traveling on a Budget

4 Nov

Recently I’ve had a few different people ask how we are able to take family trips, especially since we are living on one part-time income!   Well, we are able to take trips for a several reasons:

1. We have 3 people in our family.   Traveling with a family of 3 is easier and cheaper than a family of 5 or 6.  When we have more children our trips will probably become less frequent, but we have no intentions to ever stop our traveling.

2. We set aside money specifically for trips.  We have a “trip fund”.  Most of the money we save goes into our savings account to put towards emergencies or towards our future home.   However, sometimes we’ll end up with an extra $10 or $20 here and there and that is the money we usually put into our trip fund.

3. We usually don’t go very far.  Most trips are within 4 hours of where we live.   Taking day trips is easy to do and cheap!

4. We drive a very small manual car that is in good condition.   We were able to go down to Tulsa, OK  (from Sioux Falls, SD) and back for less than $150 in gas!

5. If we are going somewhere overnight, we camp if possible.  That is VERY cheap.  Tent-camping, cabin camping, or RV camping (if we’re with Gage’s parents or grandparents).   Camping ranges from $15-40 a night.

6. Allegiant Air – Several times a year you can find tickets to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Orlando, and a few other places for as low as $39 each way.  That is about $80 a person.  The locations of this airline are limited.   Our small airport here in Sioux Falls happens to be one of them!

7. If it is a trip that requires several nights stay, we always make sure there is a place to stay that is not a hotel. We visit family and or friends who are willing to open their homes up to us.   If we do not know someone in the area (and we do not have an RV) we usually will not stay for more than a night or two.  Hotels are way too expensive.

8. We have very generous parents and grandparents!  Whenever we travel with family, many of our expenses are covered by family members or we split the cost between everyone on the trip, which ends up saving everyone money.

10. Gage is working part-time right now.  He is able to take time off pretty much whenever he wants.  Once he is finished with school and has a regular full-time job we’ll need to get even more creative with our trip planning! 🙂

11. We bring as much of our own food as possible and, if we’re going to be staying somewhere with a microwave and/or oven/grill we cook our own food.

12. Eat more at lunch than dinner.   If you’re going to be eating out at restaurants a lot, have a big lunch and a smaller dinner.  Lunch is almost always cheaper than dinner.

Many of my favorite  memories took place on road trips.  My husband and I love to travel. We hope to travel around the U.S. as much as we possibly can, especially when our children are old enough to remember the trips!  I don’t really expect to ever make it out of the country (except for maybe Canada or Mexico), but if we do, what a blessing that will be!

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6 Responses to “Family Traveling on a Budget”

  1. Christina November 4, 2009 at 7:16 pm #

    Sounds like your family and our family use the same cost-efficient ways of travelling. Great minds think alike. : ) We are even flying on allegiant to Arizona in about a month for an early Christmas with Ben’s family.

  2. shainachristine November 5, 2009 at 5:30 am #

    Oh fun!! Yes, we are flying allegiant next month too 🙂 We’re flying to Las Vegas and driving from there to San Diego. The L.A. tickets wouldn’t go down low enough so its cheaper to fly to NV and drive to CA. Gage’s parents and Grandparents decided to do this trip this year rather than buy gifts for everyone. I’m so excited! I haven’t been “home” for Christmas in 4 years 🙂

  3. Kari November 5, 2009 at 1:28 pm #

    We are planning a big family trip next summer to take the place of Christmas gifts this year. I’m still not sure how we’re going to do it because it will still be more expensive than what we pay for Christmas gifts, but we’re trusting that God will provide.

  4. suzie November 6, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    wow thanks for the tips, what a smart and frugle young woman you are.

    Now not to ask you another personal question or anything. Do you live in mulit- dewelling home or do you have roommates? I still find it hard to get away if i do not have payed vacation because after the trip you have bill to pay with no income if you do not have payed vacation. How does that work for you.

    Thanks for the info
    God Bless!!

  5. shainachristine November 6, 2009 at 7:16 pm #

    In the future we will have to work around my husband’s paid vacation and long weekends. Right now we just make sure we have enough money to pay our bills when we get home. Usually Gage doesn’t miss too much work.

    This summer Zoe and I flew out to San Diego to stay with my family for 10 days, then my husband flew out with his family and we continued onto Yosemite for a week and then Bass Lake for a week for a family reunion. Two weeks was the longest trip Gage had taken since we’ve been married so, we saved up extra money beforehand (for several months) to pay our bills when we got back. Gage works extra hours and he also had a second job at that point. We just kind of go with the flow to see what we can afford and go with that.

    🙂

  6. Cynthia Loan November 24, 2009 at 8:00 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your experience, it’s very useful for me

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