The secret of savvy travelers? They don’t actually pay for airfare and lodging. Instead, they use rewards credit cards to turn everyday purchases into free flights and hotel rooms. “Make your money work for you,” says Preethi Harbuck, travel writer.
Preethi’s family of seven travels almost exclusively on credit card points. She
says, “There are more expenditures when you have kids but you can leverage those into greater benefits.” Card hopping can net you major points thanks to signup bonuses but can be hard to manage, says Jamie Harper, mother of four and author of a travel blog. To keep things manageable, stick to one or two primary cards.
As adults, planning a trip with your children can be very expensive and tough. Organisingatrip requires accounting for naps, snacks, tantrums, and meltdowns. Moreover, you’re also budgeting for extra airfare, a bigger rental car, and additional lodging. However, you can save money on family travel and still have peace of mind.Here’s what
PACK LIGHT-AND SMART
Overpacking can be a disaster on multiple fronts. First, you have to lug all that stuff with you and keep track of it along the way. The odds of a lost blanket are high. Preethi and her family stick to either one checked bag or a few smaller carry-ons. Rather than afresh outfits for each person, each day, they re-wear outfits and typically do laundry on each trip. “Pack clothing that’s lightweight packs up well and dries quickly,” she says.
CHOOSE ACTIVITIES MINDFULLY
Pack your itinerary with free things to do, like local parks, hikes, beaches, or free museums. You can also tap into perks included with memberships you already have, or invest in passes that you can use again and again. When you do pay for experiences and excursions, consider your family’s life stage. Rather than taking your toddler to an art museum, for example, opt for an outdoor sculpture garden where they can run around or a museum tailored toward children with plenty of interactive features at their level.
PACK SNACKS, GROCERY SHOP
There’s no rule that says you have to dine out for every meal when you’re on vacation. In-
stead, pick one meal a day to eat out. Lunch is a good option, as it’s typically cheaper than dinner (which in some countries starts later than most kids’ bedtimes). By packing your supper or eating at home, you avoid an overpriced meal where children are either having a
meltdown or are asleep at the table. Hit up local markets to stock up on food when you land in a new city. Taking a road trip? Keep a cooler with food for rest and stop picnics.