Save Money Vacationing with a Child

As I write this, the final days of summer are winding down in the Northern Hemisphere. Autumn is upon us and most of us are looking forward to cooler weather, football and Halloween. It will be December before we know it and Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve will occupy our thoughts and our time. October through December can be the busiest time of the year, can’t it?

For some reason, many people feel the need to follow their December holidays with a planned vacation. I have never understood that. At least in the USA, people in the Northeast feel compelled to visit sunny Florida. People in the American South feel the need to go to Colorado or some other place w

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14 Responses to Save Money Vacationing with a Child

  1. Ann says:

    I’m lucky enough not to worry about the kid angle. LOL

    I like to combine efforts. For instance, I recently went to London, Ontario. I had fun exploring some of Michigan (a beautiful state) along the way and then picked up 750+ lbs of soapstone for my studio while in London. :-) To me, it was a win-win situation — I got to see some more of a state I love and I got to personally pick out colors and shapes of stone supplies … and met a really interesting Native American, who owned the distributorship, and even picked up a tip on darkening and accenting fine details in the stone! Loved it!

    I’ve also checked out some of the folkart schools. There are some terrific schools in beautiful places where you can take classes on everything from different woodworking things to weaving to boat building to stained glass, etc. You can go a little early and stay a little late and really explore some new and interesting countryside! Most of these places are in a country setting, but there are also classes offered in or near major cities. For instance, if I go to Florida, I’d like to go to Seaworld and Disney, but I’d also attend a stone sculpting class at Montoya. LOL Loveland, Colorado also has a sculpting school. Same bit — visit the Rockies and take a class! :-)

    The advantage for me is that at least part of the trip is then tax deductible as a business expense.

    When I was in corporate, sometimes people I worked with would have their spouses or family join them. Their expenses were covered, so they just had to pay for the rest of the family and the family could go off exploring, while they were working. Worked for them! :-)

  2. Well said about family vacation stress and going broke after vacation. One thing to look for at those attractions is the “unlimited food meal plans” They are worth it for those always hungry kids.

  3. asmom says:

    Very funny article! I’ve vacationed many times with my kids over the years and I’ve been able to relax AND enjoy myself, go figure. If you cannot learn to spend times with your kids without feeling stressed and harried, you better learn because 18 years is a long time to avoid vacations because you find taking care of kids a “chore”.

  4. Tony says:

    I enjoyed this article. I however might be one of the few who do not take a summer vacation, not because I don’t want to, but because the job doesn’t permit. I think you are dead on about taking a vacation to a place where everyone is happy with, which in itself is very hard to please everyone. I too live in Florida and my the whining of the kids. Should be a happy place here you would figure, but with the heat and crowds, I am sure I would be in the same boat. I get to vacation in the winter time and sometimes leave here for Colorado or Kansas or anywhere that has a “real winter”.

  5. cptacek says:

    Good comment asmom. I was going to say…those kids in front of you at the dolphin show probably act like that all the time, so it wasn’t any more stressful than a normal day!

  6. kenyantykoon says:

    seeing as how vacationing with kids is so stressful, why dont parents just find something fun to do at home? these stressful holidays make the parents want to take vacations from those vacations. nice post btw

  7. Lou Russo says:

    My wife and I have been married for 40 years and have two grown children. It is only since they went out on their own that we went on vacations on our own. For more than the first half of our marriage, we did all of our vacationing as a family. We visited Disney (twice), Williamsburg and other places, but most of our vacations were on the New Jersey shore. I suspect that the kids enjoyed those vacations as much as we did. In fact, we know go on vacation with our two adult children, their spouses and 5 grandchildren. While at the shore, we all find things we like to do separately, but we spend a lot of time together. We play games, go to the beach, visit sites, go to the zoo, etc. Now that the kids are goen, though, my wife and I also enjoy going places that we didn’t go when they were younger. I can’t imagine going on vacation when I was younger without including the kids.

  8. persephone says:

    We did not vacation with our kids very much when they were very young but after they got to be a bit more self-sufficient, it was fun. We found with each child that the ages of 10-14 were the best ages for kids to travel. Any older and they did not want to hang around doing things with my husband and me. Any younger and they became too easily bored.

  9. spicoli says:

    When I was younger, my parents liked to visit museums and historic places. I have no interest in places like that. Also, my Dad would only do things that included everyone because he was not willing to leave my mother or siblings in a hotel room while he took me off to do things that I might like and he did not want to worry about my Mom or siblings if they went off in a strange city to do things without him. As a result, I enjoyed staying close to home where I could do what I wanted and where my parents felt it was OK to do things one on one with me, without dragging my siblings into the activity.

  10. we_travel says:

    Our solution to vacationing with our children is to rent a timeshare. We use http://www.redweek.com – very budget-friendly. We can typically get one with 2 bedrooms for up to 50% what a cramped hotel room would cost. The kitchen helps save money on meals when you’re feeding constantly hungry kids. The resort’s amenities are included so we save on things to do. Some even offer baby-sitting services, and many have children’s playgrounds, kiddie pools, etc. This is the only way to go with youngsters! You can still go to the amusement parks, etc., but then when you come “home” at night everyone relaxes better.

  11. minny says:

    Our most enjoyable holidays with the kids was when they spent hours on the beach.

    As they grew older we went to sites where we could stay in a caravan or tent, there was a pool and the kids all congregated there together messing around.

    We quickly discovered that if they were happy, we were happy. We then left them with grandparents and had a few days alone.

  12. Anette says:

    I’d second the renting a timeshare idea. We do an annual family vacation — my family did that when I was a kid and I have wonderful memories from it. But never in a hotel. We go somewhere in driving distance and rent an apartment or timeshare, or camp. It saves on food, and if you rent an apartment with a pool and/or jacuzzi the kids consider it the height of luxury. (We also allow daily soda on vacation and they consider that the height of decadence. Only works if soda is usually restricted, of course!)
    We’ve gone to Williamsburg VA the past few years which has a good mix of cultural/historical stuff, theme parks, and outdoor opportunities, and over Spring Break is a LOT warmer than our Upstate New York home. We live very near the Adirondack Park and in the summer, that’s where we go.
    You are right on that theme parks with younger kids make no sense. I do plan to do Disney one of these days, but not till my youngest is old enough to do a whole day without a meltdown.

  13. Gail says:

    I well remember our trip to Disneyworld with two youngsters and a husband who wasn’t into helping with anything. I was left with all driving, suitcase lugging, child care, food prep, etc. while HE took a vacation. Glad I will never go through that again as that husband is now on his own and goes on vacation where he wants and I assume has to take care of himself. If you don’t have a happy family to start with, a vacation isn’t going to help it to be happier but will escalate the stress.

    When current hubby and I take our rare trips, it is wonderful what happens when two people work together to have an enjoyable time.

  14. ThiNg says:

    You are making a basic assumption: that vacations are only taken to relax.

    That’s not always the case. We take vacations to give the kids real life experiences OUTSIDE of their own backyards. I want my children to know that the world exists outside of my town and my province.

    You can’t assume that parents who are stressed on vacation are miserable. I’ve been stressed (they lost 2 suitcases and of course, they were the ones with all the boys stuff in them!) on vacation, but it had nothing to do with the kids!!

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