How to Travel on a Budget With Kids: Tips for a Family Vacation

Written: The Top Thing Staff | July 10, 2023

Tips for Finding Affordable Flights With Kids

Are you planning a family vacation but worried about the cost of flights? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! Here are some fantastic tips for finding affordable flights when traveling with kids:

1. Be Flexible with Dates and Times

– Travel during off-peak seasons or on weekdays when airfares are generally lower.
– Consider red-eye or early morning flights, as they tend to be cheaper.

2. Use Flight Comparison Websites

– Utilize popular flight comparison websites like Skyscanner or Kayak to compare prices from different airlines.
– Set fare alerts to receive notifications when prices drop.

3. Look for Budget Airlines

– Keep an eye out for budget airlines that offer lower fares compared to larger carriers.
– Be sure to check the baggage policies and additional charges to avoid any surprises.

4. Book Connecting Flights

– Sometimes, booking two separate flights with a layover can be cheaper than a direct flight.
– Just make sure you have enough time between flights to avoid any stress.

5. Consider Alternate Airports

– Check flights from nearby airports as they might offer better deals than your local one.
– Factor in transportation costs when considering alternate airports.

6. Use Frequent Flyer Miles or Travel Rewards

– If you have frequent flyer miles or travel rewards, check if they can be used to offset the cost of your flights.
– Some credit cards also offer travel rewards that can be redeemed for flights.

7. Book Early or Last Minute

– Booking your flights well in advance or waiting until the last minute can sometimes result in lower fares.
– However, be mindful of the risks involved in waiting until the last minute.

8. Be Mindful of Hidden Fees

– When comparing prices, make sure to factor in any additional fees such as baggage charges or seat selection fees.
– Some airlines may offer lower base fares but add significant fees later.

Remember, finding affordable flights requires a bit of research and flexibility. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to securing the best flight deals for your family. Bon voyage!

Packing List for Traveling on a Budget

When it comes to traveling on a budget, packing smart can make a big difference. By being strategic with your packing, you can save money on baggage fees and avoid having to buy unnecessary items during your trip. Here’s a packing list to help you travel on a budget:


  • Pack versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create different outfits.
  • Choose lightweight and quick-drying fabrics that can be easily washed and dried overnight.
  • Don’t forget to pack a few layers, like a light jacket or cardigan, for unpredictable weather.


  • Instead of buying travel-sized toiletries, invest in reusable travel bottles and fill them with your favorite products.
  • Remember to pack a small first aid kit with essentials like band-aids, pain relievers, and any necessary prescription medications.
  • Consider packing a microfiber towel, which is lightweight, compact, and dries quickly.


  • Bring a universal power adapter to charge your devices in different countries.
  • Consider packing a portable charger to keep your devices juiced up while on the go.
  • Instead of carrying multiple devices, like a camera and a tablet, opt for a smartphone that can serve multiple purposes.


  • Don’t forget to pack some entertainment options for the kids, like coloring books, puzzles, or a deck of cards.
  • Consider downloading movies, TV shows, or e-books onto your devices before you leave to save on entertainment costs during your trip.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated and save money on buying beverages.

Documents and Money

  • Make sure to bring your passport, driver’s license, and any necessary visas or travel documents.
  • Consider carrying a photocopy of your important documents in case of loss or theft.
  • Bring a

    Opportunities for Experiencing New Locations at a Discount

    Are you dreaming of exploring new locations with your kids, but worried about the cost? Don’t worry, there are plenty of opportunities to experience new places while sticking to a budget. Here are some insider tips and tricks to make your family’s travel dreams come true without breaking the bank:

    • Travel during the off-peak season: One of the easiest ways to save money on travel is by avoiding peak tourist seasons. Prices for flights, accommodation, and attractions tend to be much lower during off-peak times. Plus, you’ll have the added benefit of fewer crowds!
    • Look for last-minute deals: Keep an eye out for last-minute travel deals. Airlines and hotels often offer discounted rates to fill up empty seats and rooms. Websites like Expedia, Kayak, and Skyscanner can help you find these great deals.
    • Consider alternative accommodation options: While hotels can be expensive, there are plenty of alternative options that are more budget-friendly. Look into vacation rentals, hostels, or even camping if you’re feeling adventurous. Not only will these options save you money, but they can also provide a unique and memorable experience for your family.
    • Take advantage of free attractions: Many destinations offer free or low-cost attractions for families. Research the local area before your trip to find parks, museums, and events that are free or have discounted admission for kids. This way, you can experience the local culture without spending a fortune.
    • Use public transportation: Instead of relying on taxis or rental cars, consider using public transportation to get around. Not only is it often cheaper, but it can also be an adventure in itself for your kids. Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to interact with locals and get a more authentic experience.
    • Try house-swapping or home exchanges: If you’re comfortable with the idea, consider arranging a house swap with another family in a destination you’re interested in. This way, you’ll save money on accommodation and have a home-like environment for your kids while exploring a new location. Websites like HomeExchange and Love Home Swap can help you find suitable options.
    • Look for discounted attraction passes: Many cities offer attraction passes that give you discounted entry to multiple attractions. These passes can save you a significant amount of money, especially if you plan on visiting several popular

      Dining Tips for Feeding the Kids on a Budget

      Traveling with kids can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be challenging, especially when it comes to finding affordable dining options. However, with a little planning and creativity, you can enjoy delicious meals without breaking the bank. Here are some tips to help you feed your kids on a budget while traveling:

      • Research local markets: Look for farmers’ markets or local food markets where you can find fresh and affordable produce. These markets often have a variety of snacks and ready-to-eat meals that are perfect for kids.
      • Pack a picnic: Instead of eating out for every meal, consider packing a picnic. Find a nearby park or a scenic spot where you can enjoy a meal together. Pack sandwiches, fruits, and snacks, and don’t forget a blanket to make it a memorable experience.
      • Opt for street food: Street food can be a great way to experience local cuisine without spending a fortune. Look for food stalls or carts that offer affordable and tasty options. From tacos to kebabs, you’ll find something to please even the pickiest eaters.
      • Share meals: Many restaurants offer large portion sizes. Instead of ordering separate meals for everyone, consider sharing a few dishes. This not only saves money but also allows everyone to try different flavors and cuisines.
      • Look for family-friendly deals: Check if the restaurants in your destination have special offers or promotions for families. Some places offer discounted kids’ meals or free meals for children under a certain age. Take advantage of these deals to save money.
      • Cook your own meals: If you’re staying in a vacation rental or a hotel with a kitchenette, consider cooking some meals yourself. You can buy groceries from a local store and prepare simple and cost-effective meals. It’s also a great way to involve your kids in the cooking process and teach them about different ingredients and flavors.
      • Take advantage of happy hour: Many restaurants and bars offer happy hour specials, which can include discounted appetizers and drinks. Take advantage of these deals and enjoy a meal at a fraction of the regular price.
      • Ask the locals: When in doubt, ask the locals for their recommendations. They often know the best places to eat on a budget. Strike up a conversation with the hotel staff, cab drivers, or

        V. Tips for Finding Affordable Lodging With Kids

        Finding affordable lodging when traveling with kids can be a challenge, but with a little planning and research, you can find great accommodations that won’t break the bank. Here are some tips to help you find affordable lodging for your family:

        1. Look for Family-Friendly Hotels

        – Many hotels offer special amenities and services for families, such as free breakfast, cribs, and kids’ clubs. Look for hotels that cater to families to get the most bang for your buck.

        2. Consider Vacation Rentals

        – Renting a vacation home or apartment can often be a more affordable option, especially if you’re traveling with a larger family or for a longer period of time. Websites like Airbnb and VRBO offer a wide range of options to suit your needs.

        3. Check for Discounts and Deals

        – Before booking, search for discounts and deals that hotels may be offering. Many hotels have special rates for families or offer promotions during certain times of the year. Sign up for email newsletters or follow hotels on social media to stay updated on any current discounts.

        4. Be Flexible with Your Dates

        – If your travel dates are flexible, try to avoid peak travel seasons and weekends. Rates are often lower during weekdays and off-peak seasons, allowing you to save money on accommodations.

        5. Consider Staying Outside the City Center

        – Accommodations located in the city center tend to be more expensive. Look for hotels or vacation rentals in the outskirts or nearby towns, which can often be more affordable. Just make sure to consider the transportation costs to and from your desired attractions.

        6. Read Reviews and Compare Prices

        – Before making a booking, take the time to read reviews from previous guests. This will give you a better idea of the quality and value of the accommodation. Additionally, compare prices across different websites to make sure you’re getting the best deal.

        7. Look for Room Amenities

        – When traveling with kids, it’s helpful to have certain amenities in your room, such as a mini-fridge, microwave, or kitchenette. These amenities can save you money by allowing you to prepare some meals in your room instead of eating out for every meal.

        8. Consider Loyalty

        Ideas for Fun and Educational Activities While on a Budget

        When you’re traveling with kids, it’s important to keep them entertained and engaged. Luckily, there are plenty of fun and educational activities you can enjoy while on a budget. Here are some ideas to inspire your next adventure:

        • Visit local museums: Many museums offer discounted or even free admission for children. Take advantage of these opportunities to expose your kids to art, history, science, and more. It’s a great way to spark their curiosity and stimulate their minds.
        • Explore nature: Nature provides endless learning opportunities. Take your kids on a hike, go birdwatching, or have a picnic in a park. Encourage them to observe and ask questions about the world around them. It’s a wonderful way to teach them about the environment and foster a love for nature.
        • Attend community events: Check out local listings for free or low-cost community events happening during your visit. These can include festivals, concerts, fairs, and parades. Not only will your kids have fun, but they’ll also get a chance to experience the local culture.
        • Visit libraries: Libraries are not only a great resource for books, but they often provide free or low-cost activities for kids. Look for storytime sessions, craft workshops, or movie screenings. Your children will have a blast while also developing their love for reading and learning.
        • Take a walking tour: Many cities offer free or affordable walking tours that are suitable for families. These tours usually cover interesting historical or cultural landmarks and are led by knowledgeable guides. It’s a fantastic way to learn about a new place while getting some exercise.
        • Engage in DIY projects: Get creative and have some hands-on fun with DIY projects. Look up age-appropriate crafts and experiments online, and gather the materials you need from a local dollar store. Your kids will enjoy the process of making something themselves and will learn valuable skills along the way.
        • Visit local farms or markets: Take your kids to a nearby farm or farmer’s market to teach them about where their food comes from. Many places offer free tours or allow you to pick your own fruits and vegetables for a small fee. It’s a fantastic way to educate your children about sustainable farming and healthy

          1. How can I travel on a budget with kids?

          There are several ways to travel on a budget with kids. Here are a few tips:

          • Look for affordable accommodations such as budget hotels, vacation rentals, or staying with friends or family.
          • Consider traveling during the off-peak season when prices are lower.
          • Research and compare prices for flights, transportation, and attractions in advance to find the best deals.
          • Pack your own snacks and meals to save money on eating out.
          • Take advantage of free or low-cost activities such as visiting parks, museums with free or discounted admission, or local festivals.
          • Consider exploring closer destinations to save on travel expenses.

          2. How can I keep my kids entertained during budget travel?

          There are plenty of inexpensive ways to keep your kids entertained while traveling on a budget. Consider these options:

          • Bring along activity books, coloring pages, or travel-sized board games to keep your kids occupied during the trip.
          • Engage them in the planning process by researching and involving them in choosing budget-friendly activities or attractions.
          • Opt for outdoor activities such as hiking, beach visits, or exploring local parks.
          • Encourage your kids to keep a travel journal or scrapbook with drawings, pictures, or notes.
          • Look for free local events or festivals happening during your trip.
          • Make use of public libraries, which often offer free activities and storytimes for children.

          3. How can I save on transportation costs when traveling with kids?

          Here are some tips to save on transportation costs while traveling with kids:

          • Consider using public transportation instead of taxis or rental cars, as it is usually more cost-effective.
          • Research family discounts or special fares available for children when booking flights, trains, or buses.
          • P