We are a big family. There are 8 of us plus we usually have at least 1 or 2 extra kiddos with us pretty much wherever we go. For our last vacation, we had 11 people on an 11 day vacation. We had our 12 passenger van, pulled a trailer, and drove for 45 hours.
It was an amazing vacation full of memories. Even when we drove through the Bronx at rush hour with the van and trailer, which is an interesting experience in and of itself lol. So during that travel and the many travels of our family, we have learned some tips on how to travel inexpensively as a big family. Here are the best tips we use time after time.
Tips For Traveling As Inexpensively As Possible
Rent a House
When we stayed out on Cape Cod, due to the fact that there were so many of us getting a hotel for that many days was not in our budget. So instead we rented a house through Airbnb. It was the best thing we could have ever done. The house was huge, we had tons of space and everyone loved staying there. To top things off the owner had everything we could have ever needed. From spices, outdoor toys, beach chairs, bug spray, even laundry soap, and so many other things. I will always look for a place to stay on AirBnb now before turning to a hotel.
Rent a Suite
I know that it may not seem like it would save you money to rent a suite, but for us it can save a ton of money! Think of it this way. When we headed to Cape Cod there were 11 of us going. Trying to get regular hotel rooms would have cost us a TON of money. So what we did instead was get a suite, the 3 room suites are the absolute best. You have 1 king size bed, 2 double beds, 1 pullout couch double bed. Then we have a few of the smaller kiddos camp out on a sleeping bag on the floor. It works great and saves quite a bit of money.
Cook Your Own Food
When we traveled for our kid’s gymnastics we would pack lunches in these food containers. They were inexpensive and perfect to put a meal in. It saved us a ton from having to eat out. We bring our crock pot and have even brought our griddle with us. We will put dinner into the crock pot before we leave for our day of adventures and when we get back we have a delicious dinner to eat with no effort. If we are doing lots of driving I will make sure to bring easy to eat snacks, veggies, and fruits. I will also pack stuff for sandwiches or meals into the containers listed above. During a trip, we do eat out very occasionally, but with 8 of us it is pretty expensive to do that, so it is very sparingly.
Plan Ahead Of Time
I am the type of person who has to have just about every single thing planned out for our trip. It is really because I am a little OCD about things, but it also saves us money to be that way. I start with our budget, minus the things we will need like transportation and food, then figure out how much we have left for activities. We plan out our activities with what we have available and make sure we stick to that plan. I also make sure to have extra money available, because you never know when something may come up. You could need to fix your vehicle, go into the emergency room in a foreign country, etc.
Find Free Activities
There is such an unbelievable amount of free things in any place you will visit. Don’t get me wrong there are plenty of great paid places and plan to do some of the paid things as well. Just head over to your favorite search engine or to Pinterest and type in Free activities in whatever city you’re going to someone has made a list of different places to visit. That is how you can make a list of different things to do. Then decide which activities sound the best. We have made so many unbelievable memories doing free activities, really just as many as when we have paid for them.
Use Credit Card Miles
Many people are against using credit cards, but I believe as long as you pay them off every month they can be a huge help to you. Many of them nowadays offer a huge bonus if you spend a certain amount of money within the first 90 days. They also offer points when you spend money on the card. I now make the purchases I would make every day like groceries, gas, eating out, etc and put them on my credit card to earn points. I pay the card off every month and I have usually earned enough points to pay for airfare for one of our vacation destinations.
Have you learned how to travel inexpensively? I would love to hear your tips and ideas. Leave a comment below letting me know.