It’s no secret that we LOVE traveling – my instagram accounts (@momendeavors and @travelendeavors) regularly show fun travel photos. In fact, we’re in Australia right now as I type this (one of our “bucket list” spots). Though we’ve been to some very incredible places already, there ere SO many places in the world we want to see and things we’d like to experience!
Travel Bucket List
While we don’t have any kid of “official” list, our family has talked about A LOT of places that we want to go and experience with the kids. We’ve so thankful that we’ve managed to “check-off” some fabulous spots on our “list” the past few years in, like:
- Australia – We have family living there and have wanted to bring the boys for years. We found great deal online for tickets (less than $800 RT per person), so we were able to make it happen.
- Hawaii – We LOVED Hawaii for our honeymoon and were so excited to go back with the kids just after our 10th anniversary and again last year for multi-generational family trip. (If you’re interested in visiting, you can read our Kauai posts here)
- Costa Rica – Rainforests & beaches? Incredible wildlife? Yes, please! Costa Rica was incredible!!!
- The Caribbean – Between a few Caribbean Carnival Cruises and a trip to Beaches Resort Turks & Caicos in the Caribbean, we’ve LOVED seeing the beauty there!
- Monterey/Pacific Coast Highway – This area is beautiful and something I’d always wanted to see. Plus, you can’t beat seeing sea otters in the wild!
But there are SO many more places on our “list” that we want to see! From Yellowstone and Yosemite, to the Pacific Northwest to New England, New Orleans, a Disney Cruise, and ALL over Europe! There’s also some much bigger, adventurous trips like the Maldives, Ecuador & Galapagos, an African Safari, New Zealand, etc. that we would LOVE to do as well!
So, clearly we feel passionately about traveling and sharing the world with our boys. But, the problem of course is that big vacations like this aren’t cheap – especially as a family of 5! So, we look for ways to save money to help fund our fun “travel bucket list”. Here are some of our best money-saving tips:
Funding Family Travel
- Quit the coffee run/fast food drink stops. Sure, many of us love a special Starbucks coffee or Sonic drink, but at $2-$5 a drink that can really add up quickly! Cut back and put the money you would have spent there right into your trip bucket! Then, splurge on a special treat on your vacation!
- Buy kids’ clothes second hand. I’m ALL for cute clothes on the boys – and matching is even better. But, quite a few of their clothes are actually second hand. You can save SO much money this way! Shop garage sales, hit the children’s consignment stores, or even swap with friends.
- Ditch cable. (gasp) This is a big one for a lot of people. But, we actually haven’t had cable the entire time we’ve been married! We use an antennae to get the standard air-wave channels. Sure, we miss having ESPN & the Big 10 Network during College Football season and Discovery Channel during Shark Week (among other things). But, with the average cable bill in the US being over $80/month (often times over $40 even for basic packages), that adds up REALLY quickly. By not having cable, we’ve saved almost $10,000 over the last 10 years — think about the AWESOME vacation you could take with that!
- Use coupons. I’m not couponing like I used to a few years ago, but I still use coupons quite often. Before ordering anything online, search to see if there is a coupon code! Download the coupon apps to your phone or anything else that makes it easy for you to remember! A dollar here, 40% off there– it really does make a difference!
- Have a change jar. We put almost all of our change in a large jar – a family piggy bank of sorts. It’s a great visual for the kids to see the money adding up in there. Before big vacations, take the jar to your bank or credit union and cash the change in. My parents just did this with a large bottle and it had over $500 in it!!
- Get a rewards card. We don’t carry a credit card balance, but using credit cards that have travel rewards (like airline miles) or cashback rewards can really be helpful. Just be sure to investigate the fees associated and make sure you’re getting the best deal! Our card of choice is the Chase Sapphire Reserve (we get 3x the points on travel purchases).
- Start a travel savings account. Open a separate savings account just for travel or your dream trip! Put in the money that you’re saving by giving up your drink habit, cable, or eating out. Then, add in just an extra $1 or $2 each day! Over the course of just one year, you could see a good amount of money in that account!
- Eat out less. This is one area that we really need to improve on! Feeding our family of 5 at a fast food restaurant is totaling around $30 and eating at a sit down restaurant can easily be $40-$60+ for our family! Doing that a couple of times a week adds up to A LOT of money! But, shaving just $20 off your weekly food bill can save you over $1000 a year!
So, do some investigating and see where you might be able to save some money. Sit down, review your budget and challenge yourself to find $20, $50, $100, (really, any amount) that you can save monthly. It can help you with your goals and planning for whatever bucket list(s) you might have!
What are your best tips for saving money for travel?