Vacationing (With Kids) On a Shoestring Budget

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Vacationing (With Kids) On a Shoestring Budget

By Marcella Simmons

 

Traveling is expensive, and when you’re on a budget, you have to find ways to stay within your spending means. It’s not always easy because there are always fun and exciting things in front of you that is enticing and flattering for you as well as your family. It’s especially hard when you have kids along for the ride.

I know. I travel with kids a lot. It’s almost impossible saying no but sometimes, you just have to.

Sometimes we get into a town and find an unexpected theme park or carnival. The kids have a fit and whine and beg. Saying no is the hardest part. But when you have a budget and going over is taboo – especially if there just isn’t enough funds for the expected, you have to say no and stick with it.

When you have traveled as much as I have, you learn to stay away from toy stores, museum gift shops and expensive candy shops and things such as this. When we travel with the kids and they want to buy souvenirs for friends and family members, we go to Dollar Tree when we reach our destination. They can buy several items for five or six dollars and are able to take souvenirs back with them.

Planning is the key. Research your destination. The Internet gives way to thorough research. Find the free and less expensive places to go first and itemize each one so you’ll know how much you have to spend when you get there. If you have enough left over, go to the places that are a little more expensive. Keep in mind that sometimes the freebies are just as fun as the expensive places. Just have to know before you go.

Stop at a visitor center or chamber of commerce – ask for available discounts and coupons on activities going on while you’re in town. You might get surprised with a handful of free tickets from time to time, or better yet, discount coupons for a variety of fun stuff.

When you’re shopping for rooms, be sure to make sure they have a refrigerator, microwave and a coffee pot – unless you carry your own. You can make coffee, tea and hot chocolate for everyone with the coffee pot. Popcorn, microwavable foods and snacks come in handy between meals – I always stock the ‘frig’ with sandwich meat, hot pockets and pizza rolls. Sausage biscuits and pancakes on a stick are the grandkids favorite snack. The freezer isle at the grocery stores usually carry a variety of microwavable food. Eating out gets expensive so why not eat like you would at home?  Remember your budget and stick with it.

A reminder: there are hotel coupon books at truck stops and convenient stores in most places – be sure to browse and if you can, save a few dollars using the coupon available. We usually save about $20 or sometimes more, a night while we are traveling to our destination. If you are a senior, sign up for AARP before you leave home and take

advantage of that 10% off rooms. Tip: dollar stores will give you 10% off some items if you have AARP – ask for assistance in this area. Restaurants honor a 10% discount if you have AARP.

When we are traveling, we like to make sure that the motel where we stay for the night has FREE breakfast. When you have two or three kids along, this will save you about $10 or $15 that morning. Take advantage of the breakfast – it might be a bit early but you are traveling just like everybody else. Getting a free meal for the road not only saves you money but time as well.

When we stop for gas, we DO NOT buy soft drinks, candy or chips at convenient stores. I make sure we have plenty of snacks, especially animal crackers and apples, on hand and the cooler is always stocked while we are on the road. Learn to say no before you stop. Tell the family ‘bathroom break only.’

Setting aside a spending budget is not hard – staying within the budget is. If it’s possible, never carry large amounts of cash. Carry in what you are going to spend and don’t go over that.

These suggestions have been tried and tested many times and they work. I usually take three grandchildren with me on road trips and believe me, spending on odds and ends along the way can get expensive. Through trial and error I found a way to curb the spending and so can you. My money is too hard to make to spend on junk food and expensive souvenirs. I ant to spend my money on things that matter most and still have a wonderful time.

One last tip: if you are a coffee drinker like me, carry a thermos. You can refill it for the price of a refill on a cup of coffee and have several cups to share.

Have a safe trip…

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AFFORDABLE FAMILY SPRING BREAK ADVENTURES AWAIT IN COLORADO

Estes Park Family Fun Host

DENVER (February 13, 2018) – Spring in Colorado offers sunshine, powder, ideal temperatures and a wide array of spring break deals for family adventures throughout the state. From swooshing down the slopes of iconic resorts such as Aspen or Vail or some of Colorado’s gem resorts such as Purgatory and Monarch Mountain to indulging in a true western experience at any one of the state’s dude and guest ranches, springtime in Colorado showcases a variety of experiences for a memorable spring family getaway. For more information, visit www.colorado.com.

Spring Ski Discounts:

Aspen Skiing Company. Known for it’s four diverse mountains, Aspen Mountain, Aspen Highlands, Buttermilk and Snowmass, Aspen offers a variety of terrain for any kind of skier or snowboarder. This spring, the resort is offering the Perfect Storm Package, allowing visitors to buy four days of skiing and get a fifth day free. With this package, skiers will also…

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LEARN NEW WAYS & PLACES TO TRAVEL WITH THE COLORADO FIELD GUIDE THIS SUMMER

LEARN NEW WAYS & PLACES TO TRAVEL WITH THE COLORADO FIELD GUIDE THIS SUMMER

Colorado Family Fun Guide

Denver, CO – Going off the beaten-path sometimes creates the most authentic connections and memories when traveling. Looking at an old favorite with new eyes and perspective can bring out the best in an often-visited location. Or, perhaps for the most well-traveled visitor to Colorado, time giving back to a non-profit or supporting the environment creates a new sense of appreciation for the outdoors and public lands. The Colorado Field Guide brings fresh exploratory ideas and opportunities to visitors this summer with new look-and-feel planning tools and more inspiration from all corners of the state.   

Here are eight ways to use the Colorado Field Guide to get to the lesser-known, travel like a local, and experience the unexpected on a Colorado visit this summer:

Plan Your Getaway: Build A Trip by Length, Region, City, Season or Activity. Heading to Colorado but for how many days? Looking for art galleries or…

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New ride for Magic Springs

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Paddling the Caddo River

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Hiking in Southwest Arkansas!

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Mark Martin to host final annual Fan Appreciation Days in Batesville

Mark Martin to host final annual Fan Appreciation Days in Batesville

Arkansas Family Travel Host

Mark Martin to host final annual Fan Appreciation Days in Batesville
Jill Rohrbach

Racing Legends Jack Roush and Jimmy Fennig to attend event on Saturday

This marks the 14th and final year that NASCAR Hall of Fame driver Mark Martin will host his annual Fan Appreciation Days event in Batesville. Set for April 27-28, this year’s event includes special guests Jack Roush and Jimmy Fennig.

The event is free and Martin invites his friends, fans and family to share in the weekend.

“We’ve enjoyed celebrating with our fans during this event in my hometown now for 14 years,” said Martin. “We really look forward to this every year. It’s a chance for me to acknowledge how much I’ve appreciated all of their support throughout my career.

“We invite everyone to come join us the last weekend in April for our final spring Fan Days,” added Martin. “After this I will…

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Family Traveler to Launch Quarterly Tabloid in June 2018

Family Traveler to Launch Quarterly Tabloid in June 2018

Attention – Family Traveler Readers: We are printing a quarterly tabloid for Family Travel Host USA (printed every 4 months) – first issue debuts June 2018, then October 2018, February 2019, and again starting June 2019. The tabloid will be distributed in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Idaho, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Washington – at this point – 25,000 copies per state. We will drop them at various convenient stores, motels and shops from one state to another every quarter (months printed above).

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The Top 5 Tips For Having The Perfect Family Vacation

By Thad Pickering

Having a successful and fun vacation requires planning and advance preparation anyway, but when it is a family vacation there is even more to consider on the family vacation getaway. Since you have more people involved and they are of different sizes and age groups, there will be differing needs and wants on the trip. So here are the top 5 tips for having the perfect family vacation:

1. You can keep boredom down to a minimum by thinking ahead and bringing some favorite games, videos and books along on the trip. This is very important for kids as they like to have things to do and the hours spent traveling to a faraway destination can seem to just drag for them. If traveling in a car, pull over regularly and let everyone stretch their legs and walk around a bit to help improve moods too.

2. Don’t try to do everything when you arrive at your destination. Some families just feel that they have to be constantly on the run to make it the perfect family vacation. But this is actually very wearing and at the end of the trip you can actually feel more tired and drained than if you had not had the vacation at all. It’s a good idea then to follow a high activity day with a low activity day to keep things balanced and avoid too much stress.

3. Be flexible in your scheduling. Some folks are extremely scheduled in their professional life and they bring that same mindset to their family vacation getaway. But things happen that you often can’t foresee and when they do you will only make the situation worse for all involved if you stick stubbornly to a preset routine or plan that does not allow for variation. Just relax, and enjoy your time together as circumstances allow.

4. Budget your vacation in advance and keep an eye on the money that is being spent each day. There is nothing that introduces more stress in parents that watching the money that they brought disappear way too quickly and not knowing where it is going. This can also lead to real frustration after the vacation is over too. However, those who have the best family vacations learn to establish clear budgets for each segment of the trip including the travel, lodging, meals, activities, souvenirs and so on. Then they watch the daily expenditures carefully to make sure that they do not exceed their budget limits.

5. You don’t have to do everything together as a family either. Of course, you also don’t want to do everything separately, but there is a happy medium where you can enjoy activities in smaller groups that may appeal to certain ones in the family, and then other activities can be things that everyone can enjoy together. Just trying to make every event fit everyone just usually doesn’t work too well.

These simple tips can contribute toward having fun family vacations that everyone can enjoy. That way you can look back after the trip is over and say that it was one of the best family vacations that you ever had.

Thad Pickering writes on many consumer related topics including vacation travel. You can find out more about finding the best family vacations [http://www.consumervacationguide.com/best-family-vacations.html] and fun family vacations [http://www.consumervacationguide.com/index.html] by visiting our Vacation Guide website.

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Read This If You Want To Find The Perfect Family Vacation Destination

By Morris Raymond

Family dynamics are an interesting thing, and given the types of chasms that can exist between kids and their parents, it would be a little surprising to see how any common ground could exist. Then again, there is one glorious thing that can bring the entire family together for one common goal – choosing the next family vacation destination.

Ah, the family vacation. It’s the one time of year that everyone in the household can set aside generational divides and complex social constructs for doing nothing more getting away from the hustle and bustle of life.

There really is only one real problem with choosing a family vacation destination – choosing the ‘perfect’ destination. Perfection, in reality, is not just not attainable, and to strive for it may end up taking the fun out of what should be the best time of the year for the whole family. It may be best to plan for great family vacation. Sure, there may be some possible hiccups along the way, but that’s part of the experience of a vacation.

Regardless, if you’re looking to choose the right place for your family getaway, you need to do some significant planning. Here are some things to consider:

Establish and Maintain A Budget – There was a time when families would have savings accounts dedicated to specific expenditures during the year (e.g., Christmas Club). The same goes for saving up money for the family vacation. When it comes to planning out the getaway, don’t allocate money you don’t have. Otherwise, you might be in for a rude awakening.

Look At Multiple Calendars – Sure, you might have a time of year that works for your whole family, but if you aren’t careful in checking as many calendars as possible, you might miss out on some cool stuff. For example, if you travel abroad & aren’t aware of major holidays, you may not be able to visit certain tourist sites as they may be closed for these holidays. Maybe you’re sticking to domestic travel, but if where you’re traveling is having a massive annual motorcycle rally that welcomes tens of thousands of riders, your family may not get the most out of your vacation.

Make A Working Itinerary – Vacations are supposed to be fun, but you also want to be sure to get the most out of your time away. You can be lazy at home. If you’ve taken the time to travel, make a plan. A working itinerary is helpful to make sure your family can stay on schedule, see a whole lot of things, and still have room for trying something new.

Communication – There’s not much to say here. You’re traveling as a family, and maintaining communication between each other will be key to get the most out of your getaway together.

A family vacation destination will mean something different to every single family. By maintaining open communication between family members and being proactive in your planning, it is possible to find a vacation destination that is about as perfect as possible. Just keep in mind that the notion of perfection may be a little too ambitious, and if you’re apt to fall apart when things aren’t ideal, you’d be missing out on the best part of the vacation – spending quality time with the ones you love.

Click here for a great family vacation destination near Taos, NM.

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How I Spent My Summer Vacation 2016

Summertime is just right around the corner! It’s time for summer vacation!

Family Travel Host USA

leadville train 5by Marshall Lewis

 

     This summer was unlike any other that I have had.  I say this because I got to visit other states.  These states included Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and a little bit of Arizona.  It was an awesome experience!  I recommend going to these places even if you weren’t thinking about it. 

     We left my hometown of Gorum, Louisiana at 5:30 A.M., and we picked up Johnathon and Emmett Bull at Flora, Louisiana at 6;00 A.M.  Then we headed toward Amarillo, Texas.  We stopped at Shreveport for a Taco Bell breakfast, and then stopped at the Texas Tourist Bureau for maps and brochures.  When we got to Dallas, we took a wrong turn and had to get turned around.  We had driven about 13 hours when we arrived in Amarillo at the hotel.  We…

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Upcoming Trip To Santa Fe New Mexico in April

Upcoming Trip To Santa Fe New Mexico in April

By Marcella Simmons

 

In April, we are heading to Santa Fe, me, hubby-dearest and the three grandsons. This will be our second year doing the Santa Fe week getaway in the Spring in the spring and kind of know what to expect. But this year it will be a little different. Maybe.

I was diagnosed with stage 4 mouth cancer back in August 2017 and had surgery in October. The doctors removed the tumor and 98 lymph nodes which all came back negative at that time and said I was cancer free. I started taking radiation treatments on January 3rd 2018, and am finishing up next Tuesday. Our trip is just a month and a few days away.

My worries at this point is if I am going to be able to make such a long trip this soon. We’ll soon see. I just hope that I don’t get so tired or sick and ruin it all for everybody that’s going especially the grand kids. They have waited such a long time for a road trip.

We have a really nice motel already booked that is clean and comfortable and the beds are really good. To top that they have a deluxe breakfast (waffles!) We enjoy the breakfast bar a lot and that helps when you’re on a tight budget anyway.

We’ll be at the inn at Santa Fe… I’d like to say, The Inn at Santa Fe is our favorite place in all the world. The staff is friendly and supportive and go out of their way to make our stay one to remember.

The first day we arrive, you can bet I am going to rest. Hubby-dearest can take the grandsons down to the heated pool and let them splish and splash for the afternoon. Then we can go out to eat somewhere inexpensive and call it a day.

Day two, we can head over to Albuquerque and the kids can play at Hinkle Family Fun Center for the entire afternoon. Hubby and I enjoy being here as well and play as much as the kids do. At the end of the day, we share our tickets with the kids and they carry home several bags of loot!

Day three, we’re heading back to Albuquerque and we’re going go to the zoo and aquarium and spend the day. We’ll picnic somewhere in the zoo. At 3 o’clock we’ll take the little train back fro the aquarium to the zoo and head back to Santa Fe. We’ll probably eat pizza for supper!

Day four, we’re going to stick around Santa Fe and visit the old churches downtown as well as some of the other museums and shops in town. We’ll find a nice little Mexican restaurant and have a family dinner.

Day five, we’ll head over to Albuquerque, visit several second hand shops, and several free museums and later that afternoon go over to the dinosaur museum and watch a   movie at the dino-theatre and another one at the planetarium.

Day six, we’ll head back to Texas and stop for the night in Amarillo before starting home.
That’s our plans in a nutshell. I can’t hardly wait till time to go! Santa Fe, here we come!

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BEE FAMILY CENTENNIAL FARM MUSEUM

BEE FAMILY CENTENNIAL FARM MUSEUM

The Bee Family Centennial Farm Museum, National Register Historic District, will open for the 2018 season on May 5. It is open from 9:00 am – 4:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays and is located… Read More Here

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Keeping Kids Happy

Keeping Kids Happy

Let Deer Valley’s state-licensed children’s center entertain kids who are pre-ski (they’ll take 2 months to 12 years) or post-ski (i.e. tuckered out) so you can ski in peace. There’s also an award-winning ski school (not just for kids) so beginning skiers can learn the proper safety and technique for the best day ever. They’ll have more fun without you, too.

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Join us on a History Tour of Downtown Tucson

Join us on a History Tour of Downtown Tucson

Sunday, February 18, 2018

When we will be in search of George Hand’s Tucson
as it was in the 1870’s.

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JOIN DADELAND MALL TO CELEBRATE CHINESE NEW YEAR, THE YEAR OF THE DOG

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February Trailhead: Hydro Flask Giveaway | Sled Dogs | Aprés-ski | Surf Bend

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BILLY THE KID MUSEUM IN FORT SUMNER

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Get the New Mexico True Adventure Guide Here

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Smithsonian Exhibition Celebrating Sports in American Communities coming to the Pioneer Florida Museum

Smithsonian Exhibition Celebrating Sports in American Communities coming to the Pioneer Florida Museum

Baseball. Soccer. Hockey. Bowling. Kickball. Surfing. People around the country are drawn to compete in these sports and many others. Still more gather on the sidelines to cheer for their favorite athletes and teams. Nowhere do Americans more intimately connect to sports than in their hometowns. The Pioneer Florida Museum & Village in cooperation with […] Read More Here

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Experience everything the waters of Tampa Bay have to offer!

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AN AIR BOAT ADVENTURE IN THE EVERGLADES

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Attend The John’s Pass Seafood Festival

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ALLIGATOR ATTRACTION AT JOHN’S PASS VILLAGE ADOPTS NEW PRICING STRUCTURE & INTRODUCES NEW ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM

via ALLIGATOR ATTRACTION AT JOHN’S PASS VILLAGE ADOPTS NEW PRICING STRUCTURE & INTRODUCES NEW ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM

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Celebrate the 50th Anniversary with Pioneer Park Days

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MOM & POP RESTAURANT BRINGS THE SPANISH FIESTA TO MIAMI VISITORS AND LOCALS

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Experience everything the waters of Tampa Bay have to offer!

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Celebrate the 50th Anniversary with Pioneer Park Days

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SHREVEPORT 1 (1)

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Florida Ranch Days Returns to Little Everglades Ranch, Dade City, FL on Feb 10 & 11, 2018.

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Timucua presents Latin Jazz Nights

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Things to Do this Weekend in Southern Arizona

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PANAMA CITY BEACH: THE 18 BEST EVENTS TO EXPERIENCE IN 2018

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SIRATA BEACH RESORT BEGINS 15 MILLION DOLLAR RENOVATION

Florida Family Traveler

SIRATA BEACH RESORT BEGINS 15 MILLION DOLLAR RENOVATION
“Play More” takes on a meaning all of its own at the new and improved resort set to premiere fall 2018 St. Pete Beach, Fla. – January 22, 2018 – Sirata Beach Resort, located directly on the Gulf of Mexico has announced that a 15 million dollar renovation is underway set to be premiered late […] Read More 

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HYATT REGENCY CLEARWATER BEACH RESORT & SPA COMPLETES MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR RENOVATIONS

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Museum of Discovery and Science presents IKEA Design Nation

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Seven Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels in Florida Offering Inviting “Escape The Cold” Rates Through March 31st

via Seven Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels in Florida Offering Inviting “Escape The Cold” Rates Through March 31st

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12 OUTDOOR ADVENTURES TO TAKE THIS YEAR

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12 OUTDOOR ADVENTURES TO TAKE THIS YEAR
A cheat sheet to make your 2018 extraordinary.

Jen Anderson, Author
The new year is full of hope, promise and endless beauty in all seven regions of Oregon. Will you summit a new peak? Try fat biking or float the river for the first time? Take the family on a scenic snowshoe trip or moonlight paddle?

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Tristin and his Snowman

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