When I was small, our family was not rich and we hardly can afford a vacation as a family together. Yet my father never fails to bring us all for a trip, at least once every 2 years. I don’t remember much about the beauty or location, all I remember was the excited feeling of first time seeing the beach, first time get on that “xich lo”, first time tasting some special food. Those memories are still vivid even though I was so small.
That’s why I believed that it is vital for the child to grow up, building the experiences and bonding with their parents during the vacations. For those family on an extreme budget like us, and think travelling is such a luxury, don’t be, start planning and get going.
Take this article as a humble idea sharing and I hope your family will have a wonderful vacation.
Don’t be spontaneous, carefully plan to ensure you have a smooth carefree vacation. We normally save money first, then match our budget. This normally gives us less stress as there isn’t specific target to reach. What my father did is we have a piggy bank, named “travel”, every day he would add about $3 in (well we are in Vietnam though, so monthly income is about $400).
Technically it was less than 1% of the total income. Apart from that mandatory “daily dose”, if any of us has a suggestion on how or what we want from the coming trip, we can contribute to the piggy bank with a small note attached to it (like this $ is for me to eat all the type of ice cream). Nobody can touch the amount in the piggy bank until the end of the year.
This gives the young kids like us the sense of being responsible and saving, we learned from very small age, to reach your goal, sometimes, you got to sacrifice. I also never forget the thrill when we “kill” the piggy bank and count the money, full of satisfaction.
So now you have some amount on hand, start planning.
Below is a list of a few essentials for you to prepare in matching the budget. You can do research first and shortlisted a couple of options and present to your kids so you all can decide together (with your pre-set direction).
Kids love activities and they do not really care about the fanciness, well most of them. Just ensure the place is safe. Tent for camping, homestay (plenty on Airbnb or HomeAway), don’t opt for fancy hotels. So mix them up, few days in a tent, few days in the homestay, few days in a barn even if you taking the country road, variety is the key. You can even register to swap home so maybe if lucky enough, no accommodation fee to worry about.
Depending on the distance, you can choose the bus, flight, boat or even a road trip if time allows. If you are planning a road trip, the easiest way to plant is using Google My Maps to roughly get an idea on the routes to take. If you are unsure which transportation suite best use Rome2Rio for a suggestion. Just make sure your children’s state of health is able to withstand the journey, if any of them have severe sea sick, avoid boat at any cost. While at the destination, travelling around as a family can be costly, some public transport modes do offer children a discounted rate, so do make sure you ask. There are a handful of apps you can use to compare costs of different transportations.
Sometimes, kids are willing to try the new food. While other times, they may just want to have the usual ones. So, best to pack some comfort food such as cereal, snack bar, and instant porridge so that if your little ones don’t like the local food, they won’t be left hungry. Plus, this can save you some costs in case you travel to quite remote areas and have to pay like $5 for a simple cereal bowl because your kids won’t want to eat anything else.
Another important thing to bear in mind, for any kind of travelling, everyone in the family needs a thorough check and get common medicine. A first aid kit is a must have when you travelling with young kids.
The most headache for parents when it comes to travelling with kids is to ensure they are entertained throughout the trip. They are more creative and much willing to learn and adapt than you think!
Drop by the beach, bring along the swimsuits and your family can have an amazing bonding time. Zoos, Safari or getting their hand dirty with farm activities are something surely excite them too. Museums are also the best spot for you and your children to learn something new together.
Actually, the idea of being in a new place with unusual routines are already thrilling them to bits (to us as well), so don’t worry and just enjoy the moments. Stroll along the street, talk to local people, try new food.
Tip: do not treat them as your kids, treat them as your buddies, ask for opinions, share the stories… you will be amazed by learning about the world through their eyes.
Tip: do bring some light board games so your family does not get bored at night.
If things don’t go according to plan, your family still can have heaps of fun. As kids are sensitive, being disappointed can really ruin their holiday. Make sure you discuss with them beforehand, for example, the plan is to go to the zoo on that day but if it’s raining, what else do you think we can do?
Finally, it is essential to teach and make sure your kids well understand these rules. Set rules of public behaviours like no screaming or crying, rules on what they can and cannot buy, rules on the minimum distance they should keep with their parent so you never lose sight of them.
Teach them how to find you in a crowd or who should they contact to if they are lost. Have a list of police station number on the cities you plan to go and always keep them with your child (bracelet or pocket) together with your phone number. All these are the extremely important while travelling to somewhere crowded, they should know who they can turn to for help in case of need.
All in all, travelling with your little buddy can be a reward if you treat them as your travelling buddies. Always discuss openly and get them involved in decision making because when kids feel that their opinions are heard, they tend to behave and cooperate.
So, don’t wait, go build the memories before they grow up!
We understand that a parent’s life is overwhelming and busy, juggling with kids, school and work. Here at LadyRedot, we can help to ease the frustrations of planning a trip aboard. Talk to us @ firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help!
June explores different roles to find out what is her passion. She used to be a travel consultant, a Kindergarden English teacher, an Expedia’s Lodging Partner Support agent, and the latest is being a freelancer. Eventually, she figures that her passion is to express the hospitality spirit from her heart and inspire others from her works. Being a writer for LadyRedot, where she get inspired and inspire others, and running her own bed and breakfast in her homeland. She views life as a colorful and adventurous journey, join her as she shares her passion with you! You can reach out to her @ LinkedIn.