Do you remember the days before you had kids? How different life was!
I’ve just been thinking about the vacations I used to take before I had my girls in tow. OK – I’d plan the whole trip but I’d always allow plenty of room for things to just sort of happen and I never worried too much about the money side of it all.
That’s all changed now that I am travelling as part of a family. Just about the first thing I think about when planning a trip is money. This by no means stops at paying for the vacation. I think about wise money planning during the trip as well.
Encourage kids to save
As soon as you have booked your trip, let your kids know all about it and encourage them to start saving spending money. This will teach them the value of earning cash and give them some experience in money management.
The more excited your children are about the vacation, the more enthusiastic they will be about saving. Let them start planning what they want to do on the trip to give them the motivation to put some money away for it. I know in our household, my six year old loves stashing money in her piggy bank and a little guidance as to what she should be saving towards is always happily welcomed.
A reputable credit card like American Express is not only a saving grace when travelling with a family, it can make you money for your next vacation through points that you can use towards flights, hotels and full vacations. In other words, every time you spend with your credit card you earn!
A good credit card offers extras like travel insurance coverage which is a huge bonus when vacationing with a family. It will also offer protection against fraud and provide 24-hour customer service for any queries. In case you lose your card or it is stolen, all necessary measures will be taken to ensure the card is blocked and that a new card is sent to you.
When you’re away from home, this is a huge relief.
Book in advance
To save as much money as possible for spending, reserve flights and accommodation well in advance and keep your eyes open for any offers involving kids. Depending on their ages, kids can sometimes stay for free or half price.
Also, it is worth looking into vacation apartment style accommodations, having your own kitchen can save you a lot on meals.
Swap gifts for trips
Another great option is to consider substituting gifts for holidays during the festive season. This may seem like a strange idea, but according to reports we Canadians are really embracing it.
According to the 2013 Holiday Spending Outlook from BMO, gift purchases will amount to around CAD $678 this season, just 0.6% higher than last year, while holiday spends are expected to soar much higher. In 2012, we spend nearly double the figure from 2011 and if this trend continues then ditching gifts for holidays could become the new norm!
Personally I love receiving experiences over physical gifts and would happily ditch more “stuff” under the tree in favour of travel. What about you folks? Do you have any great money tips for travelling with kids? And come gift time, which would you prefer; expensive present or fantastic trip?