family vacation http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12619/all en-US Yes, Affordable Family Travel Is Possible http://www.wisebread.com/yes-affordable-family-travel-is-possible <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/yes-affordable-family-travel-is-possible" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kids_tourists_smiling_at_the_camera_near_eiffel_tower_0.jpg" alt="Kids tourists smiling at the camera near Eiffel Tower" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Traveling with kids can seem prohibitively expensive. Considering a family of four may have to pay for four flights, hotel rooms, activities, and food, a staycation may seem like the only type of travel that fits your budget.</p> <p>But you could be missing out if you <em>assume </em>you can&rsquo;t afford travel. While a pricey Disney cruise or European vacation may be out of reach, there are numerous <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund?ref=internal" target="_blank">affordable family vacation ideas</a> suitable for stretched budgets. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-must-do-if-youre-traveling-with-kids?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Things You Must Do When Traveling With Kids</a>)</p> <h2>Cruise the friendly seas</h2> <p>While cruising has been around for decades, it&rsquo;s still one of the most cost-effective, family-friendly travel ideas around. Booking a cruise means letting someone else plan the bulk of your vacation for you. With meals, entertainment, and stops built in ahead of time, you can mostly just show up and enjoy the ride.</p> <p>Of course, there are financial benefits that come with cruising. Your food, lodging, and entertainment are all included in the price, making this a smart travel option for families who hate surprises. Some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-most-affordable-cruise-lines-for-families?ref=internal" target="_blank">affordable, family-friendly cruise lines</a> like MSC Cruises let kids cruise free on select sailings, in addition to offering seven-night Caribbean cruises starting at $449 per adult.</p> <p>But the savings and convenience don&rsquo;t stop at the cruise fare. For many people, the fact that they can drive to a cruise port makes this option even more affordable. In fact, a report from the Cruise Lines International Association showed that 78 percent of ocean cruise customers choose cruising partially because they can drive to a cruise port and forgo airfare.</p> <p>Obviously, not paying for airfare can be a huge financial boon if you live close enough to a cruise port to drive. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-affordable-vacations-to-please-every-age-group?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Affordable Vacations to Please Every Age Group</a>)</p> <h2>Book an all-inclusive resort</h2> <p>Similar to cruising, all-inclusive resorts offer a ton of bang for your buck. For one nightly rate, you can score all your food, drink (including alcohol), and entertainment without having to worry about added costs other than tipping and airport transfers.</p> <p>While this sounds pricey, there are many budget all-inclusive resorts in Mexico and the Caribbean. Even better, some all-inclusive resorts like Holiday Inn let kids stay free with paid adults.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re savvy, you may even be able to score an all-inclusive resort stay with the right <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel credit card</a>. Some of the bigger loyalty programs like IHG Rewards Club, Hilton Honors, and World of Hyatt make it easy to rack up points on their co-branded credit cards, which you can then redeem for free stays.</p> <p>The big downside with all-inclusive resorts is the fact that they are mostly outside the U.S. and you&rsquo;ll need to fly there. The good news is, once again, you can use <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">airline credit cards</a> to rack up air miles and defray the costs of your flights.</p> <p>Southwest Airlines, for example, offers a family-friendly option to the Caribbean with two free checked bags per person, and no limits on award seats. Several credit cards allow you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-domestic-frequent-flyer-program-southwest-airlines-rapid-rewards-premier-credit-card?ref=internal" target="_blank">earn points directly on Southwest</a> or transfer points to the airline&rsquo;s frequent flyer program.</p> <h2>Book a ranch getaway</h2> <p>Ranch getaways are similar to all-inclusive resorts. The big difference is, these properties are typically nestled up in the mountains or in the middle of acres of forest or open desert. Many ranches are in states like California, Colorado, Wyoming, and Arizona for this reason.</p> <p>Ranches also offer a different range of activities than traditional, beach-based all-inclusive resorts. Many ranches feature horseback riding, skeet shooting, hiking, archery, and kayaking.</p> <p>As you search for a ranch vacation the kids will love, keep in mind these properties range from budget to luxury. While there are numerous affordable options, there are some pretty outrageous ranches that cost $4,000+ per person, per week as well.</p> <p>Some budget options to consider include Southern Cross Guest Ranch of Georgia, which offers low season all-inclusive pricing starting at $135 per person, per night (kids eight years and under are only $50 per day, while kids ages nine to 15 years old are $110 per day).</p> <p>Lost Valley Ranch in Colorado also offers affordable rates for families, with nightly stays starting at $175 per adult and lower rates for kids. You can also book a seven-night stay for $1,210 per adult (kids stay for cheaper rates, depending on age). While that may sound expensive, keep in mind that it includes your lodging, all meals, and activities like guided horseback riding, swimming, tennis, kids clubs, and access to 26,000 acres of national forest.</p> <h2>Go camping</h2> <p>Camping is a budget travel mainstay, mostly because you can camp extremely cheaply if you&rsquo;re willing to rough it. Many state and national parks offer camping sites that start at $12 per night, for example. If you borrow a tent and sleeping bags, bring your own food, and stay busy enjoying the great outdoors, you could have a relaxing family camping vacation for a very low out-of-pocket cost. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-essential-money-saving-items-to-take-on-a-camping-road-trip?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Essential Money-Saving Items for a Camping Road Trip</a>)</p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-easiest-ways-to-save-on-your-next-rv-camping-trip?ref=internal" target="_blank">Renting an RV can also be affordable</a>, but you have to go about it the right way. Don&rsquo;t just rent the biggest, baddest RV you can find. Instead, rent only what you need and bring your own amenities like bedding and dishes to keep costs low. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Have a Family Road Trip Without Breaking Your Budget</a>)</p> <h2>Visit a local theme park</h2> <p>Taking the kids to a nearby theme park can be a frugal fast pass to fun. No matter what anyone says, Disney World is not the only happy place on earth. In your local area or a state nearby, it&rsquo;s possible to find <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/beyond-disney-8-affordable-family-destinations-in-the-us?ref=internal" target="_blank">theme parks that are tons of fun for kids</a> without the excruciating costs of a Disney vacation.</p> <p>Orlando, Florida, in fact, has its own share of parks other than Disney. Fun Spot America Theme Park and Aquatica Orlando Water Park are both less than $50 per person, per day to visit.</p> <p>Six Flags Theme Parks, which are spread across the country, are also an affordable option. Six Flags Over Georgia lets you book season passes with free parking for $65.99 each if you buy at least four at a time, although prices are subject to change with sales.</p> <p>Holiday World in Santa Claus, Indiana can cost as little as $29.99 per day in the offseason. In addition to low prices, the park also offers the two longest water coasters in the world, free sunscreen, and unlimited free soft drinks.</p> <p>Wherever you live, don&rsquo;t discount the local parks and attractions nearby. Not only can you drive to them, but you should be able to save more by staying in a basic hotel or Airbnb. At the end of the day, the kids won&rsquo;t know how much you paid for their few days of fun &mdash; nor will they care.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-affordable-family-travel-is-possible">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-save-on-a-european-getaway-with-kids">7 Ways to Save on a European Getaway With Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-great-places-to-take-the-family-for-spring-break">8 Great Places to Take the Family for Spring Break</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund">7 Affordable Family Getaways When You Don&#039;t Have a Vacation Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-romantic-getaways-any-couple-can-afford">7 Romantic Getaways Any Couple Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-a-cheap-spring-break-trip">How to Take a Cheap Spring Break Trip</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Travel affordable travel family vacation saving money on travel travel tips traveling with kids Fri, 23 Feb 2018 09:30:08 +0000 Holly Johnson 2106617 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Travel Splurges That Are Worth Every Penny http://www.wisebread.com/5-travel-splurges-that-are-worth-every-penny <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-travel-splurges-that-are-worth-every-penny" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tourist_in_paris_visiting_landmark_eiffel_tower.jpg" alt="Tourist in Paris visiting landmark Eiffel tower" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many people like to splurge on designer clothing, fancy houses, or flashy cars. For me, however, the big indulgence has always been travel, at least since I've been able to afford it.</p> <p>I'm perfectly fine with the fact that my husband and I share a 2009 Prius and that our &quot;fine China&quot; is made up of plastic cups we got for free. Heck, I'm even okay with the fact that half of our furniture came from garage sales. But I'll gladly spend enough cash to pay for the travel experiences we desire, even if it means going without some of life's extras. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-build-your-best-travel-budget?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Build Your Best Travel Budget</a>)</p> <p>While we do our best to rack up airline miles and find deals on hotels and condos, we still pay out of pocket for much of the expense. But you know what? Most of the money we spend on travel is more than worth it. And even though I love saving money, there are some travel experiences that I wouldn't dare scrimp on. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>Saving some cash is great, but not when it takes away from what could be an epic travel experience you'll never forget. Here are five instances when you should go ahead and splurge (within reason, of course). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-should-never-skimp-on-when-traveling?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Things You Should Never Skimp on When Traveling</a>)</p> <h2>1. Anything that saves your most important asset: time</h2> <p>Most of us who travel have limited time on our hands. Perhaps we have a week at a time to spend abroad, or just a few days in each city we choose. In those cases, it makes sense to pay more to save what we have the least of: time.</p> <p>To save time, you might choose to pay more for a direct flight instead of one with several stopovers. With this strategy, you could avoid hours spent idle in an airport and instead have more time to enjoy your destination. Similarly, maybe you choose to splurge for a high-speed train instead of taking a slow-moving bus. It costs more, but it frees up more time to sightsee and explore new worlds.</p> <p>I know my husband and I almost always book skip-the-line passes for museums and attractions for this very reason. You pay a premium to skip past the winding entry line, but you often save hours each time. Here's why the premium is worth it: Imagine you're visiting the Colosseum and Roman Forum in Rome. You can get skip-the-line entry into both for around $42, or you can pay $14 for a standard ticket. Since the lines can easily last several hours, you're paying $28 per person to buy several hours more of sightseeing time in Rome.</p> <p>Would you pay $28 for a few more hours spent wandering the eternal city? I would, especially if I only had a week to spend in the first place. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-you-should-splurge-on-experiences-not-things?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Reasons You Should Splurge on Experiences, Not Things</a>)</p> <h2>2. A once-in-a-lifetime experience</h2> <p>Bucket list experiences aren't always available, but when you find one, you should take it. Of course, what is considered &quot;bucket list&quot; is entirely different from one person to the next. For some travelers, forking over $100+ to ride a gondola in Venice might be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. For others, a true &quot;bucket list experience&quot; might be scaling Mount Everest or Mount Kilimanjaro &mdash; both time-consuming, expensive, and dangerous endeavors. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/once-in-a-lifetime-experiences-ive-earned-with-credit-card-rewards?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Once-In-A-Lifetime Experiences I've Earned With Credit Card Rewards</a>)</p> <p>My husband and I splurged for a once-in-a-lifetime experience earlier this year when we were in Bora Bora, which was a bucket list trip in itself. While we were content sitting on the deck of our overwater bungalow for days, something inside told me we should sign up for the quintessential Bora Bora excursion and swim with sharks. After all, when would we be in Bora Bora again, if ever?</p> <p>So we did swim with sharks &hellip; and it was absolutely electrifying. It was around $100 per person for the excursion, which was more than I wanted to spend at that point, but it was worth it and I would do it again.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/1_0.png" width="605" height="454" alt="" /></p> <h2>3. Experiences that help you learn</h2> <p>Traveling somewhere new can be a learning experience in itself, but there's something to be said for hiring a knowledgeable guide. Whether you're touring the Louvre in Paris, seeing China's Terracotta Warriors for the first time, or wandering Vatican City, it's helpful to have someone around who knows what you're looking at.</p> <p>Unfortunately, hiring a guide can be expensive. Websites like <a href="http://www.toursbylocals.com/" target="_blank">Tours by Locals</a> offer access to local guides in 158 countries around the world, but in some cases, the costs can be staggering. Still, the cost can be worth it if you want a private guide of your own.</p> <p>If you want to save, you can also book a guided group tour through a website like <a href="http://www.viator.com/" target="_blank">Viator.com</a>. Don't forget to check the concierge services or travel portals of your credit card. Group tours are typically less expensive because you have to share your guide with other people who sign up. However, you can still gain the kind of insider knowledge you're after.</p> <h2>4. Anything that makes the &quot;travel&quot; component of your trip easier to handle</h2> <p>Earlier this year, my husband and I took our kids to Spain and France for fall break. Always trying to save a buck, we mapped out our ideal subway route to get from the Madrid airport to our rental condo.</p> <p>What a mistake that was. Having never used the Madrid underground system before, we quickly found ourselves scaling multiple staircases up and down with four giant pieces of luggage. And since we had to change metro lines three times along the way, we had to go up and down, up and down, up and down to the point where our kids &mdash; ages six and eight &mdash; were exhausted and crying. Full disclosure, I was pretty unhappy about it, too.</p> <p>And we did it all for what? To save $50 on a taxi to the hotel? It wasn't even close to worth it. The funny thing is, we are usually more in touch with situations like these where our travel experience could be improved if we weren't so cheap. But we spaced out on this one.</p> <p>The bottom line: Do what you can to save money, but draw the line when saving a little cash will make everyone miserable. Travel is hard enough on its own &mdash; especially if you are bringing kids along. If you can make the process less stressful for a reasonable amount of money, you will thank yourself later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-lessons-i-learned-from-three-weeks-in-europe?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Money Lessons I Learned From 3 Weeks in Europe</a>)</p> <h2>5. More space (if you need it)</h2> <p>Whether you're traveling alone, with a partner, in a group, or with your kids, it's easy to settle on a cheap hotel or hostel and justify it by saying you'll never be in your room. While that may be true, I've personally found I'm a lot more comfortable if I have some space to spread out. I've stayed in a hostel with my husband and kids before and it was fine, but some of our best travel experiences have been in places where we've had our own condo and a separate bedroom for the adults.</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5197/2.jpg" width="454" height="605" alt="" /></p> <p>For this upcoming summer, I even splurged for a rental villa with a pool on the Amalfi Coast of Italy. It is easily twice the cost of renting an apartment away from the beach, but I want to relax in our own place without having to travel to soak in the beautiful views. To save money, we'll make most of our own meals and do free stuff in the area. It's a trade-off for sure, but it's one I'm willing to make to get the experience we want.</p> <p>Life is short, and the time we get to travel is often fleeting. Most of us get what, 10-20 vacation days per year? Saving money is important, but it's not everything.</p> <p>To get the travel experiences you truly want, sometimes you have to spend some cash. But don't take my word for it. The next time you travel, try splurging on something you've always wanted to do or paying extra to make your trip more convenient. Chances are, you'll have an experience you won't regret.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-travel-splurges-that-are-worth-every-penny&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Travel%2520Splurges%2520That%2520Are%2520Worth%2520Every%2520Penny.jpg&amp;description=5%20Travel%20Splurges%20That%20Are%20Worth%20Every%20Penny"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Travel%20Splurges%20That%20Are%20Worth%20Every%20Penny.jpg" alt="5 Travel Splurges That Are Worth Every Penny" width="250" height="374" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-travel-splurges-that-are-worth-every-penny">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-save-on-a-european-getaway-with-kids">7 Ways to Save on a European Getaway With Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-great-places-to-take-the-family-for-spring-break">8 Great Places to Take the Family for Spring Break</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/yes-affordable-family-travel-is-possible">Yes, Affordable Family Travel Is Possible</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-wisely-choose-your-next-travel-destination">How to Wisely Choose Your Next Travel Destination</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-affordable-destinations-for-people-who-love-to-fish">8 Affordable Destinations for People Who Love to Fish</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping Travel family vacation keepsakes travel budget travel gifts travel splurges travel tips vacation tips Tue, 06 Feb 2018 09:30:08 +0000 Holly Johnson 2098609 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Ways to Save on a European Getaway With Kids http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-save-on-a-european-getaway-with-kids <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-ways-to-save-on-a-european-getaway-with-kids" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_daughter_italy_539150341.jpg" alt="Woman saving on European travel with kids" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Packing up the family for a European getaway can easily become the ultimate exercise in patience, resourcefulness, and self-restraint. Europe is one of the more expensive regions for Americans to travel to, and adding kids increases costs even more. The good news is, there are plenty of ways to whittle down the price of your trip. Here are some of the best ways to save on a European getaway with kids. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-lessons-i-learned-from-three-weeks-in-europe?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Money Lessons I Learned from Three Weeks in Europe</a>)</p> <h2>1. Choose your locale wisely</h2> <p>Flying into one of Europe's major cities from the U.S. is probably a must, but where you stay for the duration of your trip can determine how much you'll pay for lodging and even dining. A hotel in the trendiest downtown areas of London, Rome, or Paris will always cost more than a choice in a less touristy neighborhood &mdash; or even in a neighboring town or suburb.</p> <p>Since public transportation is plentiful nearly all throughout Europe, staying just beyond the city limits of your desired destination may not be too much of a hassle. Make sure to check for local transportation options before you book. (Is a metro station nearby?) This way, you can make sure any savings you accrue by staying outside a city center won't be eaten up by taxi and Uber rides.</p> <h2>2. Take advantage of low-cost, high-speed train travel</h2> <p>Speaking of public transportation, Europe boasts a glorious high-speed train system that makes it easy and affordable to travel around Europe without having to fly. Traveling by train is especially convenient with kids because you don't have to worry about airline packing restrictions or spending hours in airport security. Not only that, but trains are comfortable, many have a dining cart, and you can get up and walk around more than you can on a plane.</p> <p>In terms of affordable travel, taking a train is usually a no-brainer.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.trainline.eu/" target="_blank">Trainline.eu</a> lets you search for train travel across all providers, then book all your tickets in one place.</p> <p>Book the underground Chunnel from Paris to London for as little as $78 per person, or book Rome to Venice for as little as $42. With kids in tow, you'll spend a lot less and get to see more of Europe than you might if you flew.</p> <h2>3. Use airline miles to get there</h2> <p>Often, the most expensive part of any European getaway is the cost of airfare. Economy tickets to Europe can cost anywhere from $400 to $1,500 from many major U.S. cities, which means you'll shell out a pretty penny before you ever step foot outside the U.S.</p> <p>One way to escape at least part of this cost is to dream up an airline miles strategy early. Many of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">top travel credit cards</a> offer sign-up bonuses good for a round-trip flight to Europe, and you can rack up additional miles by using your card for regular spending.</p> <p>If you plan to use airline miles, your best bet is to plan early and get everyone involved (i.e. get your spouse to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=internal" target="_blank">earn a credit card sign-up bonus</a>, too). With enough time and a smart strategy, you may be able to get most of your airfare covered with rewards, although you'll still be on the hook for government-mandated taxes and fees, and any fuel surcharges the airline imposes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-airline-rewards-programs-for-trips-to-europe?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Airline Rewards Programs for Trips to Europe</a>)</p> <h2>4. Book rental condos and make some meals at &quot;home&quot;</h2> <p>Hotels can be difficult to book in Europe when you want to sleep more than two to a room. You'll usually have to book a separate room or rooms for the rest of the family. Not only that, but hotels can be prohibitively expensive.</p> <p>One solution for families is booking rental properties through short-term rental platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, or HomeAway. While renting a condo or villa isn't always cheaper, it absolutely can be. Make sure to shop around and compare costs to hotels (including cleaning fees and online booking fees) to see how prices stack up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-vacation-rental-alternatives-to-airbnb?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Vacation Rental Alternatives to Airbnb</a>)</p> <p>Fortunately, a rental condo can help you save in more than one way. With your own small rental home, you'll have more room to stretch out, a living area to gather in, and a kitchen you can use to prepare meals. If you can eat even one meal a day at home, you'll save a bundle over the course of your trip. Consider heading to the grocery store to buy bananas, pastries, or cereal for breakfast. Or stock up on sandwich supplies so you can avoid pricey lunches out.</p> <h2>5. Consider a Mediterranean cruise</h2> <p>Cruising the Mediterranean can be especially affordable, either as your entire vacation or as part of a longer European trip. The key to making cruises affordable is avoiding all the extras like alcohol, shore excursions, upgraded dining, and sticking to the free meals and entertainment provided onboard. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-cruises?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards for Cruises</a>)</p> <p>But how inexpensive can a Mediterranean cruise be? It depends on your itinerary and the time of year you travel. It also depends on whether you choose a luxury cruise line or a more downscale family-friendly option. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-little-known-secrets-to-saving-money-on-your-next-cruise?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Little-Known Secrets to Saving Money On Your Next Cruise</a>)</p> <p>MSC Cruises is one of the <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-most-affordable-cruise-lines-for-families?ref=internal" target="_blank">most affordable cruise lines</a> in Europe because their cruises start at a lower price point than other lines, and because kids cruise free on many itineraries. Frequently, a family of four can take a seven-night cruise to countries like Italy, Malta, Spain, and France for as little as $659 per person. That's less than $1,400 total when kids cruise free, although you'll pay government-mandated taxes and port fees.</p> <p>Make sure to compare cruises and cruise lines if you consider this option, as well as what they include. The best part about including a cruise as part of your European itinerary is the fact that your cruise fare doesn't just include the cruise itself; it includes your lodging, most of your meals, onboard entertainment, and usually a supervised kid's club.</p> <h2>6. Travel off-peak</h2> <p>Off-peak season in Europe is usually considered any time between the end of October and the beginning of May, excluding holidays like Christmas and New Year's. During these off-peak travel times, you'll see fewer crowds and lower prices on everything from airfare to hotel stays and guided tours. If you're able to travel off-peak, you can typically save a bundle on your family trip. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-timing-is-everything-when-saving-money-on-travel?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Timing Is Everything When Saving Money on Travel</a>)</p> <h2>7. Get a credit card with no foreign transaction fees</h2> <p>Last but not least, you shouldn't have to pay extra just to use your travel credit card abroad. By signing up for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/smarter-security-and-no-foreign-transaction-fees-the-best-credit-cards-to-use-while-on-vacation?ref=internal" target="_blank">travel credit card with no foreign transaction fees</a>, you can avoid paying an extra 3&ndash;5 percent on every purchase you make. While 3&ndash;5 percent doesn't sound like a lot, these charges can absolutely add up over the course of a week or more.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-ways-to-save-on-a-european-getaway-with-kids&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Ways%2520to%2520Save%2520on%2520a%2520European%2520Getaway%2520With%2520Kids.jpg&amp;description=7%20Ways%20to%20Save%20on%20a%20European%20Getaway%20With%20Kids"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Ways%20to%20Save%20on%20a%20European%20Getaway%20With%20Kids.jpg" alt="7 Ways to Save on a European Getaway With Kids" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-save-on-a-european-getaway-with-kids">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-travel-splurges-that-are-worth-every-penny">5 Travel Splurges That Are Worth Every Penny</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-to-machu-picchu-and-back-for-30">How to Get to Machu Picchu and Back for $30</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-great-places-to-take-the-family-for-spring-break">8 Great Places to Take the Family for Spring Break</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-affordable-autumn-destinations-for-nature-lovers">4 Affordable Autumn Destinations for Nature Lovers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Travel affordable travel European getaway European travel family vacation travel budget travel tips traveling with kids Mon, 22 Jan 2018 09:30:09 +0000 Holly Johnson 2091496 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Have a Fun Family Road Trip Without Breaking Your Budget http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_s_road_trip.jpg" alt="Family&#039;s road trip" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You've got your budget-friendly destination. You found the best hotel rate. You've got activities and meals in mind that won't eat up your savings. But what about the expense of the actual travel? From snacks to fuel to entertainment to handling the unexpected, these tips will help you keep costs low while you're on the road.</p> <h2>Be strategic with fuel</h2> <p>There's not much you can do to control the cost of fuel, but you can make sure your vehicle is <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-smart-ways-to-boost-your-gas-mileage?ref=internal" target="_blank">as fuel-efficient as possible</a>. The best way to do that is to keep your car well maintained. Keep up with regular oil changes and tire alignment, and your car will run cleaner, cooler, and have less drag.</p> <p>Also, don't wait until your tank is on empty and you're forced to use the nearest gas station. Instead, use a service like <a href="http://www.gasbuddy.com" target="_blank">GasBuddy</a> to find nearby gas stations with the best fuel prices. Plan your stops accordingly; if you're traveling with young kids, chances are one of them will need to use the restroom, anyway. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-road-trips?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards for Road Trips</a>)</p> <h2>Pack snacks and beverages</h2> <p>The most cost-efficient way to have plenty of snacks on a road trip is to bring your own. You can't be sure what fast food joint or gas station offers will be available. And how much beef jerky can you eat before you start to regret it? Buy or make your family's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/24-easy-to-make-grab-and-go-snacks?ref=internal" target="_blank">favorite snack foods</a> in bulk before you leave, then package into single servings. Choose snacks that make the least possible mess. It's much easier to vacuum up crumbs than it is to clean gummy, sticky stains from car upholstery.</p> <p>Water is the best beverage for road trips. Take a cooler with ice and a couple of one-gallon jugs filled with fresh water. Refill individual bottles as needed. Juice, tea, or soda will lead to endless needs for bathroom breaks. Coffee, of course, fuels many drivers, as well. I prefer to start the journey with my own home-brewed coffee in my travel mug. You can also pick up coffee to go from any restaurant or gas station for very little. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-15-road-trip-snacks-make-it-all-about-the-journey?ref=seealso" target="_blank">These 15 Road Trip Snacks Make It All About the Journey</a>)</p> <h2>Bring on-the-go entertainment</h2> <p>The biggest challenge for road trips with children is keeping them entertained. As with food, bringing your own entertainment options from home saves time and money.</p> <p>You don't need special items for road trip entertainment; you just need portable options. Mess-free art materials are great: colored pencils, washable markers, and sketchbooks. Download a selection of audiobooks before you go; <a href="https://librivox.org/" target="_blank">Librivox</a> offers hundreds for free. Update your music playlists, and download movies for them to watch on tablets you bring along. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-you-must-do-if-youre-traveling-with-kids?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 Things You Must Do If You're Traveling With Kids</a>)</p> <h2>Travel based on time of day</h2> <p>The best time of day to travel depends on time of the year, personal preference, destination, and the length of the trip. Many parents of young children find it easier to travel at night, when the kids will sleep for most of the way. That's a great option if the driver can stay awake.</p> <p>During the summer, driving at night can also keep the temperature lower, meaning less stress on the engine and better fuel efficiency. The calculable savings is minimal, so compare it to the increased coffee you'll require to drive all night before you make a decision.</p> <p>The other factor to consider is traffic. If your timing will have you entering a major city at rush hour, change it. Leave earlier, leave later, or plan an extended rest stop along the way. Sitting in traffic is uncomfortable and stressful, and the stop-and-go movement is hard on your car and fuel efficiency.</p> <h2>Prep for travel emergencies</h2> <p>Take <a href="http://amzn.to/2sdUPDD" target="_blank">baby wipes</a>. I cannot stress enough how handy, no, <em>how essential</em> a pack of baby wipes is in any car. Don't have a baby? Doesn't matter. Baby wipes will save the day in so many ways.</p> <p>Coffee spill? Baby wipe. Messy face? Baby wipe. No napkins from the takeout place? Baby wipes. Smelling a little less-than-fresh after eight hours on the road? Baby wipes.</p> <p>A <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-first-aid-kits" target="_blank">first aid kit</a> is essential, too. Buy a pre-packed one, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-items-you-might-have-forgot-in-your-emergency-kit?ref=internal" target="_blank">make your own</a> and keep it in the car. You can include the essential items you know you'll use the most, as well as any specialized care items you might need.</p> <p>The other item that can save you from excess stress and cost is a car emergency kit. You should have the supplies to change a tire as well as a spare tire, flares, and jumper cables. It's helpful to have a <a href="http://amzn.to/2tj2cd0" target="_blank">flashlight</a> and basic tools on hand, as well. I've found it's also helpful to have someone who's adept at changing tires. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-jump-starter-kits?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 5 Best Jump Starter Kits</a>)</p> <p>Regardless of your skill level, though, preparation can save you in many ways. When you're prepared with snacks, entertainment, and emergency supplies you'll spend less and be more relaxed. That makes for a much better road trip.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%2520to%2520Have%2520a%2520Fun%2520Family%2520Road%2520Trip%2520Without%2520Breaking%2520Your%2520Budget.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Have%20a%20Fun%20Family%20Road%20Trip%20Without%20Breaking%20Your%20Budget"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Have%20a%20Fun%20Family%20Road%20Trip%20Without%20Breaking%20Your%20Budget.jpg" alt="How to Have a Fun Family Road Trip Without Breaking Your Budget" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund">7 Affordable Family Getaways When You Don&#039;t Have a Vacation Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-ways-to-get-the-most-value-from-your-all-inclusive-vacation">11 Ways to Get the Most Value From Your All-Inclusive Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-you-can-do-now-to-prep-for-your-best-summer-ever">14 Things You Can Do Now to Prep for Your Best Summer Ever</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-great-places-to-take-the-family-for-spring-break">8 Great Places to Take the Family for Spring Break</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Travel family vacation frugal travel road trip saving money summer vacation travel vacation tips Thu, 29 Jun 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Annie Mueller 1974320 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Most Affordable Cruise Lines for Families http://www.wisebread.com/5-most-affordable-cruise-lines-for-families <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-most-affordable-cruise-lines-for-families" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_family_cruising.jpg" alt="Happy family cruising" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Cruising has long been considered one of the most affordable vacation options for families. For one low price, you can secure your room on the ship along with all your meals and certain types of entertainment. And if you can avoid airfare by driving to the port of departure, you can save even more.</p> <p>Many cruise lines offer added perks like supervised kids' clubs, nightly shows, and formal dinners to lure families in. Special amenities and activities mean families can get more bang for their buck. Several cruise lines in particular make it easier for families to save, with kid-friendly policies or rates, and cheaper cruise fares over all. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-cruises?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards for Cruises</a>)</p> <h2>1. MSC Cruises</h2> <p>Mediterranean line MSC Cruises offers seven-night Caribbean cruises starting at $399 per person. Many packages also come with onboard credits and free Wi-Fi. But families with kids score even more when it comes to affordability. Unlike some other cruise lines that charge full or reduced fares for children, MSC Cruises has a &quot;kids sail free&quot; policy for some cruises.</p> <p>The fine print states:</p> <p><em>&quot;Kids 11 and under at time of sailing cruise free on select sailings. Kids must sail as third/fourth guests when sharing a stateroom with two full-fare paying adults to qualify to cruise for free.&quot;</em></p> <p>On cruises where kids sail free, the cruise line notes, families are still responsible for taxes and port dues.</p> <p>Although MSC Cruises is a European cruise line, it offers several cruises departing from Miami. On the MSC Divina, for example, you can cruise from Miami to the eastern Caribbean, or choose an itinerary that makes stops in both Central and South America. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-all-inclusive-vacations-and-cruises-worth-the-money?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Are All-Inclusive Vacations and Cruises Worth the Money?</a>)</p> <h2>2. Carnival Cruise Line</h2> <p>Carnival offers a wide range of cruise itineraries from various ports in the U.S., with fares as low as $279 per person. A quick, four-day cruise in August out of Mobile, Alabama, for example, sails the western Caribbean with a stop in Cozumel, Mexico for just $309 per person for an interior room.</p> <p>Kid-friendly amenities depend on the ship, but can include water parks, arcades, and splash pads. All Carnival cruises offer a supervised kids' club (for free) to give adults time for a break or a trip to the onboard casino. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-13-craziest-cruises-ever-to-sail-the-high-seas?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 13 Craziest Cruises to Sail the High Seas</a>)</p> <h2>3. Norwegian Cruise Line</h2> <p>Kids can occasionally sail free on Norwegian Cruise Line. On certain 2017 and 2018 trips, third and fourth guests can sail free with two paying adults.</p> <p>Prices start at around $369 per person for a three-day cruise from Miami to the Bahamas. Some of the shorter cruises even come with money-saving amenities like unlimited open bar and onboard credits of up to $500.</p> <p>Kids and parents can enjoy myriad onboard experiences, from award-winning shows, to onboard aqua parks, to bowling or mini-golf. Norwegian also offers supervised kids' clubs for youngsters, including the Splash Academy for ages three to 12, and the Entourage club for teens aged 13-17.</p> <h2>4. Holland America Line</h2> <p>Holland America Line is a family-friendly cruise line aimed at offering good value for families. Its Caribbean cruises from the U.S. can be especially affordable, with six- or seven-night itineraries starting at $699.</p> <p>Even its Alaskan cruises are affordable, despite the area's reputation for high prices. The seven-day Glacier Discovery Southbound cruise departing from Seward, Alaska, for example, starts at just $399 per person for an interior room.</p> <p>Holland America Line offers plenty of onboard entertainment and enriching activities for families. Depending on the cruise you book, you can find options such as spas, arcades, pools and waterparks, and nightly shows.</p> <p>Parents with kids can also buy some free time by checking their kids into Club HAL, a supervised club for children ages three to 17. Entry is free.</p> <h2>5. Royal Caribbean</h2> <p>Royal Caribbean is another line that lets kids sail free on select cruises. On other cruises, it has promotions that make it affordable to bring children along. Its current promotion offers 60 percent off a second guest, for example.</p> <p>Using that promotion, a four-night Bahamas cruise out of Miami starts at just $246 per person. Keep in mind, however, that your third and fourth guests (including kids) are full price.</p> <p>In terms of the onboard experience, Royal Caribbean's offerings depend on which cruise and ship you choose. Some ships feature rock climbing walls, zip lines, and onboard arcades. All feature swimming pools to keep the kids busy, and some have water parks as well.</p> <p>All Royal Caribbean cruises offer supervised entertainment for kids while the adults play on their own. The kids' club is open to children ages three to 12, while a teens' club offers activities perfect for older kids up to age 17.</p> <h2>How to save even more on cruises</h2> <p>While cruising is already known as an affordable option for families, you can save even more by shopping for deals. All the cruise lines mentioned above and many others change their promotions regularly.</p> <p>Never assume a specific cruise line is cheaper because kids sail free or they're offering 50 percent off. Compare specific promotions for the itinerary you want, then look for the best final price after all promotions have been added. Also take into account any extras, such as drink packages or onboard credits, that are being offered on a particular cruise.</p> <p>Finally, check out <a href="http://www.vacationstogo.com/" target="_blank">VacationsToGo.com</a> if you're looking for a last-minute cruise. The site promises that if you book within 90 days of departure, you can save up to 82 percent. Better yet, those discounts can apply to all available cruise lines, ranging from luxury brands like Princess down to the lower-priced cruise lines mentioned here.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-most-affordable-cruise-lines-for-families&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Most%2520Affordable%2520Cruise%2520Lines%2520for%2520Families.jpg&amp;description=5%20Most%20Affordable%20Cruise%20Lines%20for%20Families"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Most%20Affordable%20Cruise%20Lines%20for%20Families.jpg" alt="5 Most Affordable Cruise Lines for Families" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-most-affordable-cruise-lines-for-families">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-most-affordable-beach-towns-in-mexico">8 Most Affordable Beach Towns in Mexico</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-travel-splurges-that-are-worth-every-penny">5 Travel Splurges That Are Worth Every Penny</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-cruise-line-rewards-programs-worth-it">Are Cruise Line Rewards Programs Worth It?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-i-successfully-gambled-in-las-vegas-without-losing-my-shirt">How I Successfully Gambled in Las Vegas Without Losing My Shirt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-famous-overseas-film-settings-you-can-visit-on-any-budget">5 Famous Overseas Film Settings You Can Visit on Any Budget</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel budget travel cruise lines cruises family cruise family vacation travel tips Wed, 28 Jun 2017 08:31:06 +0000 Holly Johnson 1971633 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Affordable Family Getaways When You Don't Have a Vacation Fund http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/parents_and_their_two_children_on_the_beach.jpg" alt="Parents and their two children on the beach" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Oops! It's already summer, and you have yet to save for a summer vacation. No worries. There are many ways you can still enjoy a family getaway on the cheap. If you get creative, adjust your expectations, and put in a little extra effort, you can get some much needed rest and relaxation without going into debt.</p> <h2>1. Gather last-minute funds</h2> <p>Maybe you haven't done your big spring clean-out. You can host a yard sale this weekend and get some cash for your old treasures. Check out local resale shops for clothing, children's items, and more. I've made a couple hundred dollars after a big clear out of toys and baby clothes to put toward time away. My husband is a teacher and has taken on summer gigs (like being a camp counselor) to make money to put toward travel.</p> <p>Sit down and write up a list of any and all the ways you think you might be able to make some quick cash. Other ideas include selling clothing on sites like Poshmark, finally rolling all that loose change, selling your unwanted event tickets on StubHub, and more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-ways-to-make-money-today?ref=seealso" target="_blank">25 Ways to Make Money Today</a>)</p> <h2>2. Adjust your expectations</h2> <p>Consider approaching your usual vacation in a new way. Why not skip going out to eat and save a ton by trying to cook your way through each day? If you reserve a room or suite with a kitchen, this will be much easier. Try spending no more than you would on a normal week of groceries at home. Also, don't get sucked in by high-priced tourist attractions &mdash; many beaches and parks you'll find at your destination are free.</p> <p>There are many ways to cut dollars along your journey. If your hotel offers a free breakfast, take advantage. Call ahead to see if there are any perks included in your reservation, like free transportation, reduced ticket prices to local attractions, or special nightly events. If you have yet to secure your room, try staying a little farther away from the most alluring towns and attractions. Even driving 10 to 15 minutes can save you hundreds.</p> <h2>3. Check out your state</h2> <p>I recently researched everything the great state of New York has to offer in the way of travel. And I found plenty. Fresh water beaches on Lake Ontario. Majestic lake and mountain views in the Adirondacks. Romantic castles in the Thousand Islands region. Wineries and waterfalls in the Finger Lakes. There's so much to do within a couple hours of my front door, and I didn't even know it.</p> <p>Skip the pricey plane ticket and check out your state. You could plan a road trip visiting different regions, spending just a day or so in each area. Or you could choose the coolest thing you find and spend a couple days there. If you're not going to the more traditional vacation hot spots &mdash; the beach, for example &mdash; you may save a good chunk on hotels and eats.</p> <h2>4. Scope out campgrounds</h2> <p>If you have yet to try camping, you're missing out on an extremely inexpensive way to see the world. Try camping out at some of our country's National Parks. In fact, you can stay for an entire week at some of them for <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/camping-for-a-week-is-only-160-at-these-national-parks" target="_blank">less than $200</a>. Can't afford to go far? Check out state or even county parks. One of my favorites is in the Finger Lakes. Camping is dirt cheap, yet the setting gives you million dollar views and free swimming to boot.</p> <p>If you're not the outdoorsy type, some campgrounds offer glamping, aka glamorous camping, in cabins, yurts, and other accommodations that will feel more indoors than tent camping. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-save-on-your-next-glamping-trip?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways to Save on Your Next Glamping Trip</a>)</p> <h2>5. Go in with a friend (or two)</h2> <p>My family is actually taking a trip with another family this summer. We're both on a limited budget. Our kids are the same ages, and we like doing a lot of the same things. So, we hunted around to find a house rental to split in the Catskills. One of our shared interests is cooking, so we've already planned our homemade meals for the week. The house is close to the municipal pool, so that will be great for cooling off and it only costs a few dollars for a weekly pass.</p> <p>What do we plan to do for entertainment? Mostly just hang out. If you are close enough to certain friends or even family, sharing space can be a huge money-saver. And you'll have so much fun being together that you won't need to spend money to find things to do. If you're really strapped, your friends may even offer to let you come visit them for free. We've also done that in the past, and it was so much fun.</p> <h2>6. Consider day tripping</h2> <p>Who says you have to spend the night to get away? There are tons of places you can pack up and go for the day and get some much-needed R&amp;R. I like to go the old fashioned way and look at a physical map of my area. I have drawn a radius that gets us places in two or three hours (or less). In my circle, I can hit up gorgeous gorges and wineries in Ithaca, NY. Spend the day trekking around Philadelphia or New York City. We can even jaunt down to the Crayola Factory or Hershey Park for the kids.</p> <p>One of my close friends cannot afford to go on a full vacation in the summer. So, she takes her family on an incredible day trip most weekends. She packs lunch and snacks, too. Her kids absolutely love the adventures they find, and it keeps the fun going all summer long.</p> <h2>7. Research housesitting</h2> <p>Another friend of mine recently offered us her apartment near the Flatiron district of NYC because she needs a house- and cat-sitter while she backpacks around Europe. Unfortunately, we're not able to go. But seriously! What an amazing opportunity to spend a week in the heart of the City for basically nothing.</p> <p>Did you know that people post house-sitting gigs online? It's a great way to get a super awesome vacation, and fast. Try searching around on Craigslist or targeted sites like House Sitting America or Care.com. You can even put out a call on your Facebook to see if any friends are in need of this service. Gigs vary from place to place, but many will let you bring your pets and family. Some even pay you for your caretaking services. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-tips-for-landing-the-perfect-house-sitting-gig?ref=seealso" target="_blank">10 Tips for Landing the Perfect House-Sitting Gig</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F7%2520Affordable%2520Family%2520Getaways%2520When%2520You%2520Dont%2520Have%2520a%2520Vacation%2520Fund.jpg&amp;description=7%20Affordable%20Family%20Getaways%20When%20You%20Dont%20Have%20a%20Vacation%20Fund"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/7%20Affordable%20Family%20Getaways%20When%20You%20Dont%20Have%20a%20Vacation%20Fund.jpg" alt="7 Affordable Family Getaways When You Don't Have a Vacation Fund" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-marcin">Ashley Marcin</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-great-places-to-take-the-family-for-spring-break">8 Great Places to Take the Family for Spring Break</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget">How to Have a Fun Family Road Trip Without Breaking Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-underrated-us-cities-you-need-to-see-this-summer">4 Underrated U.S. Cities You Need to See This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-romantic-getaways-any-couple-can-afford">7 Romantic Getaways Any Couple Can Afford</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Travel family trips family vacation frugal travel getaways summer vacation travel tips Fri, 09 Jun 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Ashley Marcin 1961114 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Cheap Ways to Entertain Your Kids This Summer http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-this-summer <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-cheap-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-this-summer" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-521079240.jpg" alt="Mother entertaining her daughter on the cheap this summer" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>School will be out before we know it. As a parent, I understand that reality can be terrifying. After all, what are you going to do with the kids all summer? Will they spend another summer break playing video games and watching TV?</p> <p>I don't know about you, but my kids do better when they are active and entertained, and I aim to keep them busy. Here are some ways I'll be keeping my kids moving a little more this summer, and how you can, too. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Save Money on Child Care This Summer</a>)</p> <h2>1. Throw a water party</h2> <p>Kids of all ages like to play with water. I'm planning a couple of days when my kiddos can each invite a few friends over and go water-crazy for an afternoon. We'll have water guns, water balloons, the sprinklers will be going, an old school <a href="http://amzn.to/2qQEjry" target="_blank">Slip 'N Slide</a>, and more. It will be a blast, won't cost too much, and they will run around all afternoon.</p> <h2>2. Show them how to grow veggies</h2> <p>Having a garden takes some work, and I plan to put my kids in charge of (at least part of) mine. Digging, weeding, and watering are all active tasks and, even better, they get the kids out of the house. I'll give them each a small plot in the garden and put them in charge of picking what to grow and the actual planting, watering, weeding, etc. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-simple-gardening-skills-anybody-can-master?ref=seealso" target="_blank">13 Simple Gardening Skills Anybody Can Master</a>)</p> <h2>3. Have them create a funny video</h2> <p>Rather than have my kids watch videos, they'll be making their own. I'll encourage them to write the script, come up with costumes and props, and even shoot as much of it as they can themselves. It's cheap, it will keep them busy, and they'll have to exercise both their brains and their bodies to get it done.</p> <h2>4. Cook together</h2> <p>Most kids don't know how to cook, but I've found that they usually like to learn. As long as they don't feel like it's a chore and they aren't left entirely to their own devices, most kids are surprised to learn just how easy and satisfying it can be to throw a meal together. Plus, you'll finally have help with meal planning and preparation!</p> <h2>5. Teach them a new sport</h2> <p>Learning doesn't have to take place inside the confines of school, and kids can remember this over the summer. Take the time to learn some new activity with your kids. Try stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking if you want to do something outside. Not only will you and your kids get out of the house and move, but you'll learn a new skill that will keep you active.</p> <h2>6. Wash the car</h2> <p>Going back to the idea that everyone loves to play in the water, put your kids to work washing cars, bikes, scooters, etc. The job has to be done anyway, so you might as well use it as an excuse to get your kids moving. They may resist at first, but after the hose comes on, most kids are more than happy to do these particular chores.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-this-summer">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget">How to Have a Fun Family Road Trip Without Breaking Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-ways-summer-will-cost-you">7 Surprising Ways Summer Will Cost You</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-8-everyday-buys-will-be-cheaper-this-summer">These 8 Everyday Buys Will Be Cheaper This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-amazing-board-games-you-can-diy">8 Amazing Board Games You Can DIY</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Entertainment Family family time family vacation kids activities kids games saving money summer summer activities summer fun summer vacation Thu, 01 Jun 2017 08:30:19 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1944521 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Great Places to Take the Family for Spring Break http://www.wisebread.com/8-great-places-to-take-the-family-for-spring-break <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-great-places-to-take-the-family-for-spring-break" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-477325706.jpg" alt="Finding great places to take the family for Spring Break" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's hard to believe, but spring is just around the corner, and that means planning your spring vacation. Unfortunately, traveling during peak travel weeks like Spring Break can be costly if you don't shop around. But there are plenty of destinations that offer superior value and family-friendly activities your kids will love.</p> <p>Here are eight warm-weather destinations that fit the bill for the perfect Spring Break trip. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-to-take-a-frugal-grownup-spring-break?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Ways to Take a Frugal Grown-up Spring Break</a>)</p> <h2>1. Orlando, Florida</h2> <p>The sheer number of hotels and resorts in and around Orlando makes this family-friendly city a superb option for Spring Break. Finding a good deal is easy with so many properties to choose from. Plus, three-star hotels start at just $130 per night.</p> <p>Orlando is also thick with activities for the entire family, and they extend far beyond just expensive Disney parks. Not only can you splurge for tickets to the Magic Kingdom or Animal Kingdom, but you can take your kids to water parks, Sea World Orlando, and museums like Ripley's Believe it or Not. And if you have a rental car, several family-friendly beaches are just a few hours away.</p> <h2>2. Tampa, Florida</h2> <p>Tampa, Florida is easy to get to since many major airlines offer nonstop flights from major hubs. Plus, a three-star beachfront hotel can cost as little as $130 per night during the last week of March.</p> <p>Aside from the beach, kids will have plenty to do in and around Tampa. The city itself is home to a Busch Gardens theme park, an aquarium, and the famous Lowry Park Zoo.</p> <h2>3. Orange Beach, Alabama</h2> <p>Orange Beach's location along the gulf coast makes it an easy drive from many parts of the Midwest. Orange Beach is only 14 hours from Chicago and 11 hours from St. Louis, for example.</p> <p>This beach town is brimming with cheap rental condos you can book on Airbnb or VRBO.com. There are also dozens of inexpensive family-friendly restaurants in Orange Beach, as well as the neighboring city of Gulf Shores.</p> <p>You can play mini golf, visit the local petting zoo, or take a dolphin sighting tour. But what you'll really want to do is sit back and relax on the world's whitest, sandiest beach while your kids play in the surf.</p> <h2>4. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina</h2> <p>Myrtle Beach is another warm weather spot where cheap hotels are plentiful. You can find numerous hotel deals at three-star properties for less than $100 per night.</p> <p>For example, the Sand Dunes Resort &amp; Spa sits on the beach and hosts its own small water park with a lazy river, yet costs less than $90 per night during the last week of March. Even the 3.5 star Litchfield Beach &amp; Golf Resort costs less than $100 per night during Spring Break, and that's despite its beach access and on-site amenities like a water park, tennis, and golf.</p> <p>If you tire of your resort, you can keep the kids busy on the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk, at one of the seasonal water parks, or the Family Kingdom Amusement Park.</p> <h2>5. South Padre Island, Texas</h2> <p>South Padre Island is home to numerous vacation condos, plus plenty of low-cost hotels perfect for families. The Schlitterbahn Beach Resort, for example, complements its beachfront location with a huge lazy river and water park, yet comes with rates as low as $130 per night.</p> <p>South Padre Island is home to the famous Gravity Adventure Park theme park, baby sea turtle releases, and beach sports galore. There's also a Birding and Nature Center so you can observe birds and other wildlife in their natural, wetland environments.</p> <h2>6. Gatlinburg, Tennessee</h2> <p>Despite the huge fires that tore through much of Gatlinburg and the Smokies recently, the city is once again open for business. Not every attraction is open quite yet, but most are.</p> <p>You can still enjoy the beautiful mountain backdrop, head out for a hike, or visit Riley's Aquarium of the Smokies. The Gatlinburg Mountain Coaster, Space Needle, and Mirror Maze are all open, too. Most of the major restaurants and haunts for locals were also unscathed by the fire, as well.</p> <p>Obviously, Gatlinburg needs to bring tourism back, and this means low prices for the time being. Right now, Expedia shows affordable prices ($100 or less) for nearly all three-star Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge hotels for the last week of March.</p> <h2>7. Atlantic City, New Jersey</h2> <p>Atlantic City may not come with the warm weather you hoped for during Spring Break, but it can be downright cheap. At the moment, numerous hotels and vacation condos can be found for less than $100 per night.</p> <p>Fortunately, there's plenty to do in Atlantic City far from the flashy casinos. Take the kids out to explore the Atlantic City Boardwalk or to the Steel Pier Amusement Park. You'll also find many family-friendly restaurants, arcades, and more.</p> <h2>8. San Diego, California</h2> <p>San Diego may not seem like a frugal Spring Break spot, but it has enough lodging options and activities to make the cut. Plenty of hotels in San Diego and surrounding neighborhoods cost less than $100 per night during Spring Break.</p> <p>The big value in San Diego is just how much there is to do. The city is home to the world-famous San Diego Zoo, Sea World, and LEGOLAND. And the area's beautiful beaches, stretching from San Diego all the way down to La Jolla will blow you away. With the proximity to the beach, you can spend days playing in the surf and relaxing with the whole family.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div align="center"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-great-places-to-take-the-family-for-spring-break&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%20Great%20Places%20to%20Take%20the%20Family%20for%20Spring%20Break.jpg&amp;description=8%20Great%20Places%20to%20Take%20the%20Family%20for%20Spring%20Break" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <div align="center">&nbsp;</div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Great%20Places%20to%20Take%20the%20Family%20for%20Spring%20Break.jpg" alt="8 Great Places to Take the Family for Spring Break" width="250" height="374" align="middle" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/holly-johnson">Holly Johnson</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-great-places-to-take-the-family-for-spring-break">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund">7 Affordable Family Getaways When You Don&#039;t Have a Vacation Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-take-a-cheap-spring-break-trip">How to Take a Cheap Spring Break Trip</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-travel-splurges-that-are-worth-every-penny">5 Travel Splurges That Are Worth Every Penny</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-save-on-a-european-getaway-with-kids">7 Ways to Save on a European Getaway With Kids</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Travel family vacation frugal travel spring break spring break destinations travel budget travel tips Mon, 06 Mar 2017 10:30:37 +0000 Holly Johnson 1902770 at http://www.wisebread.com 14 Things You Can Do Now to Prep for Your Best Summer Ever http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-you-can-do-now-to-prep-for-your-best-summer-ever <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/14-things-you-can-do-now-to-prep-for-your-best-summer-ever" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-508921978.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>In the past week, I have experienced Polar Vortex-level temperatures in the upper Midwest and then back-to-back wind and rainstorms in California. I have not seen the sun in days. All this weather has got me dreaming about what my family will do this summer.</p> <p>But I can't just dream an epic summer into existence. I need to plan and prepare. Here are some things you &mdash; and I &mdash; can do in the gloom of winter to lay the groundwork for the best summer ever.</p> <h2>1. Reserve a Campsite</h2> <p>In some states, like California, state park sites book up devilishly early. In fact, a quick search of a couple of favorite beach campgrounds found them already booked for weekends throughout the summer. So if you haven't already booked any summer camp-outs, go to <a href="http://www.reserveamerica.com/" target="_blank">Reserve America</a> and snag them before it's too late.</p> <h2>2. Arrange a Home Exchange</h2> <p>If you're able to take a sabbatical or work from home, consider swapping your house with someone far away for a change of scenery, even without using vacation time. If you have to report to work every day, try a temporary relocation to a different part of your region. For instance, since my husband has a 40-mile commute to his Silicon Valley job, I'm eyeing swaps with families who live within the same distance from his work, but in other directions, on <a href="http://www.tkqlhce.com/click-2822544-10774433" target="_blank">HomeExchange</a>.</p> <h2>3. Send the Kids to Camp</h2> <p>If you're a parent, time away from your job might not be as relaxing as time away from your kids. I should know, I have three little buggers of my own. Fortunately, there exists a wonderful institution to give you a vacation from parenting: sleep-away camp. Camp catalogs go out soon. Girl Scout, Boy Scout, church, and YMCA camps offer some of the best values. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-child-care-this-summer?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Save Money on Child Care This Summer</a>)</p> <h2>4. Book a National Park Trip</h2> <p>The big-name parks book up fast. In fact, a random check of <a href="http://www.yellowstonenationalparklodges.com/" target="_blank">Yellowstone lodges</a> for June showed that rooms are already getting hard to find. If you're planning to stay in &mdash; or even near &mdash; a National Park this summer, get going.</p> <h2>5. Buy Baseball Tickets</h2> <p>It's not as if it will be impossible to get seats in most ballparks after Opening Day, but still, wouldn't it be nice to see a big circle on the calendar around a July day and know you'll be spending it at the ballgame? My family received tickets to a Cubs game as a Christmas gift, and I'm already looking forward to that August event.</p> <h2>6. Figure Out Where You'll Be for the Solar Eclipse</h2> <p>In case you haven't heard, there will be a total solar eclipse August 21, but the full monty will only be <a href="http://www.al.com/news/huntsville/index.ssf/2017/01/nasas_new_map_can_put_you_righ.html" target="_blank">viewable from certain parts of the United States</a>. You'd better believe that campgrounds and other lodging in the path, which will follow an arc from Oregon to South Carolina, are selling out fast. August 21 is a Monday, so if you can do a long weekend and get there, it should be a sight to see as the moon takes a big bite out of the sun and then blots it out entirely, bringing out the stars in the middle of the day. We haven't had a total eclipse cross the whole country like this for about 100 years.</p> <h2>7. Plan Your Garden</h2> <p>Your dirt may be buried under snow, but that doesn't mean you can't sketch out new garden beds (there's even <a href="http://theselfsufficientliving.com/7-vegetable-garden-planner-software-for-better-gardening/" target="_blank">gardening software</a> to help you do that now), ordering seeds, and starting seedlings indoors.</p> <h2>8. Research Major Summer Purchases on Your Wishlist</h2> <p>Is this the year you buy a boat or a camper, or even an inflatable dinghy? Most of the boat and <a href="http://www.rvpark411.com/rv-shows-camping-expos.html" target="_blank">RV shows</a> are in winter and spring. Even if you're just going to dream, walking through a boat show can help pass chilly days with dreams of fishing and snorkeling.</p> <h2>9. Get Medical Procedures Out of the Way</h2> <p>This may not be as fun as booking vacations or boat shopping, but think about it: If you need a knee replacement, do you want to be laid of up for six weeks in summer or now? Might as well get those bunions removed while you're stuck inside anyway.</p> <h2>10. Learn to Scuba Dive</h2> <p>If you live near water, you might love exploring the underside of it this summer. Did you know you can start learning even if it's too cold to jump in right now? First of all, scuba certification involves a classroom portion, which you can <a href="https://apps.padi.com/scuba-diving/elearning/purchasecourse.aspx" target="_blank">take online</a>. Then, there are <a href="http://www.dolphinscuba.com/scuba-diving-classes/overview.html" target="_blank">classes you can take in heated pools</a> to get you ready for dive season.</p> <h2>11. Buy Tickets to a Summer Theater Festival</h2> <p>For me, one of the highlights of summer is watching Shakespeare out in nature, whether it's at Wisconsin's <a href="http://americanplayers.org/" target="_blank">American Players Theatre</a> or the <a href="https://www.bard.org/" target="_blank">Utah Shakespeare Festival</a>. Tickets are already available for some of these festivals, and even if they're not, the schedule is probably posted, so you can decide which shows you'll see. And if you're unable to travel to see these, check for local shows in your area.</p> <h2>12. Book Amtrak Tickets</h2> <p>Even more than flights, Amtrak trains can fill up early, especially those sleeper cars that make the journey more pleasant. Buy it now or you may find yourself sleeping in a seat.</p> <h2>13. Buy Theme Park Season Passes</h2> <p>Early bird discounts can net you some real savings on these. For instance, Six Flags Great America in Chicago is selling season passes for $75-$93 right now; full price runs $189-$250.</p> <h2>14. Work Out</h2> <p>I'm not talking about a &quot;get your beach body&quot; weight-loss program, because all bodies are welcome at the beach. I'm talking about cardio and strength training to build your endurance for those summer hikes and swims you're going to do. You won't regret it.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!&nbsp;</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F14-things-you-can-do-now-to-prep-for-your-best-summer-ever&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F14%20Things%20You%20Can%20Do%20Now%20to%20Prep%20for%20Your%20Best%20Summer%20Ever.jpg&amp;description=14%20Things%20You%20Can%20Do%20Now%20to%20Prep%20for%20Your%20Best%20Summer%20Ever" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/14%20Things%20You%20Can%20Do%20Now%20to%20Prep%20for%20Your%20Best%20Summer%20Ever.jpg" alt="14 Things You Can Do Now to Prep for Your Best Summer Ever" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/14-things-you-can-do-now-to-prep-for-your-best-summer-ever">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget">How to Have a Fun Family Road Trip Without Breaking Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-using-credit-can-help-you-enjoy-a-cheaper-safer-summer-vacation">7 Ways Using Credit Can Help You Enjoy a Cheaper, Safer Summer Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-avoid-these-12-summer-travel-mistakes">How to Avoid These 12 Summer Travel Mistakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-underrated-us-cities-you-need-to-see-this-summer">4 Underrated U.S. Cities You Need to See This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-save-on-your-next-glamping-trip">5 Ways to Save on Your Next Glamping Trip</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel book a trip camping family vacation saving money summer shopping summer travel summer trip summer vacation winter Tue, 14 Feb 2017 10:30:39 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1888422 at http://www.wisebread.com 15 Little Known Ways to Save at Disneyland http://www.wisebread.com/15-little-known-ways-to-save-at-disneyland <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/15-little-known-ways-to-save-at-disneyland" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_92789511_MEDIUM.jpg" alt="learning how to save money at disneyland" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Disneyland is considered the &quot;happiest place on Earth,&quot; but if you look at the ticket prices, it is not the happiest place for your budget. Despite the pricey tickets, Disneyland is still a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-reasons-you-should-splurge-on-experiences-not-things">fun and magical place</a> to visit for the whole family. Here are some overlooked tips for enjoying Disneyland on a budget.</p> <h2>1. Be Prepared</h2> <p>We went to Disneyland recently for my four-year-old's birthday. All month, it had been in the high 80s, so we did not think to bring extra clothes. Of course, once we were in the park, the weather was chilly, and my daughter was uncomfortable. We ended up spending $50 on an Elsa sweater to keep her warm.</p> <p>Had we been prepared, we would've brought a sweater so that we wouldn't have had to waste the money. The funny thing is that Costco now has a very similar Elsa sweater for less than $10. I suggest you also bring a change of clothes and maybe even a poncho, especially if your little one loves to go on the water rides.</p> <h2>2. Shop the Wal-Mart or Target Near Disneyland</h2> <p>Wal-Mart and Target near Disneyland both have a lot of Disney memorabilia, clothing, and souvenirs similar to those offered at the parks. The only difference is you'll pay much less at these stores than on Main Street.</p> <h2>3. Use the Disney Credit Card</h2> <p>Disney offers a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-disney-credit-card-is-best-for-you">Disney credit card</a> without an annual fee. Having it allows you to access to a special character meet-and-greet area. This card can also offer you discounts on Disney purchases, as well as special rewards for Disney spending.</p> <h2>4. Get a Multiday Pass</h2> <p>If you're going to experience Disneyland, <em>really </em>experience it. A one-day ticket for just Disneyland can cost $95-$119 per adult, depending on the day you go. However, a three-day park hopper ticket costs $295 per adult, which allows you to visit both Disneyland and California Adventure, as well as expand your trip over three days.</p> <h2>5. Go Offseason</h2> <p>Not only are offseason tickets lower in price, but it's also a more enjoyable time to go. Check the <a href="http://www.isitpacked.com/disneyland-crowd-forecast-predictor-calendar/">Is It Packed? calendar </a>to get a better idea of when to visit. Try to pick a &quot;ghost town&quot; day to really enjoy the park.</p> <h2>6. Consider the Season Pass</h2> <p>The season pass prices start at $329 per person and grant admission to both parks for the full year. With the lowest level of the season pass, there are quite a few blackout days. However, if you visit the park at least four days, you would have already saved money. I live an hour and a half away from Disneyland, and I know many families that take advantage of this deal, usually going once or twice a month. For the Disney lover, season passes are a great deal, but if you're on a strict budget, the season pass might not be for you. Not only will you have the cost of the passes, but you must also factor in gas, parking, and food expenses as well.</p> <h2>7. Bring a DIY Autograph Book</h2> <p>Autograph books are a lot of fun for kids. You can either find a discounted Disney autograph book, or you can make your own. You can even find a small, cute notebook at the dollar store and decorate it with Disney stickers.</p> <p>If you are a little more tech-savvy, you can collect signatures on an iPad or tablet device with a touch screen pen. This will then allow you to upload them alongside pictures from your trip into a digital file that you can then use to create your own Disney scrapbook.</p> <h2>8. Buy a Photopass or Use Photopass Photographer</h2> <p>We opted into getting the Photopass day pass for $39, so that we didn't have to lug our camera around. It was extremely convenient, and now we have over 30 pictures from our special trip available to download. You can also choose to skip the pass and just ask the photographers in the Photopass locations to take your photo for you with your phone or camera.</p> <h2>9. Download the Disneyland App</h2> <p>The free Disneyland app is extremely useful to use in the park. It will tell you the wait times of rides and attractions, as well as show you locations of characters and Photopass spots.</p> <h2>10. Bring Your Own Snacks</h2> <p>The rules of outside food and drinks is not the clearest, however, my diaper bag of snacks and water were not looked down upon when we went. Disneyland is very accommodating for individuals with special dietary needs. Bring your own water bottles and light snacks, and if you're hungry for more, just leave the park for a bit and eat at a nearby restaurant.</p> <h2>11. Stay in a Budget Hotel</h2> <p>The hotels closest to the park are pricey, but there are many other affordable hotels within a five-mile radius. Most also offer affordable shuttle rides to the park so you can avoid paying for parking.</p> <h2>12. Pay With Disney Gift Cards</h2> <p>Paying with Disney gift cards will allow you to save more on ticket prices, souvenirs, and food at the park. You can even find Disney gift cards for up to 9% off at <a href="https://www.giftcardgranny.com/buy-gift-cards/disney-store/">Gift Card Granny</a>.</p> <h2>13. Use a SoCal City Pass</h2> <p>The <a href="http://www.citypass.com/southern-california">SoCal City Pass</a> is a great deal for $341 per adults. The pass includes three-day admission to both Disney parks, as well as admission to SeaWorld and Legoland.</p> <h2>14. Special Discounted Tickets</h2> <p>Disneyland offers special ticket discounts to several different groups of people, including active military, teachers, credit union members, and even college students. Check with your place of employment to see if you can buy discounted tickets. Through my husband's work benefits, we are able to save $10 per ticket.</p> <h2>15. Take Kids Before Three</h2> <p>Kids under three years old can visit for free, and this goes for one-day tickets and annual pass holders alike. My friends have twin daughters, and they took advantage of owning season passes before their daughters turned three. Therefore, every time they went, it cost about $35&ndash;$50 per trip, factoring in how often they went and the extra gas they had to pay for.</p> <p><em>How do you save money at Disneyland? Share with us!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F15-little-known-ways-to-save-at-disneyland&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F15%20Little%20Known%20Ways%20to%20Save%20at%20Disneyland.jpg&amp;description=15%20Little%20Known%20Ways%20to%20Save%20at%20Disneyland" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/15%20Little%20Known%20Ways%20to%20Save%20at%20Disneyland.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-little-known-ways-to-save-at-disneyland">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget">How to Have a Fun Family Road Trip Without Breaking Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-essential-money-moves-for-new-parents">7 Essential Money Moves for New Parents</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-budget-friendly-beach-destinations">6 Budget-Friendly Beach Destinations</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fun-books-that-will-get-your-kids-excited-about-money">10 Fun Books That Will Get Your Kids Excited About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Family Travel Disney Disneyland family fun family vacation saving money saving money at disneyland savings hacks Thu, 11 Aug 2016 10:00:07 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1766248 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Save Money on Travel With an Awesome Group Vacation http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-travel-with-an-awesome-group-vacation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-save-money-on-travel-with-an-awesome-group-vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/girls-travel-461993147-small.jpg" alt="group travel" title="group travel" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="173" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For years, my parents vacationed with their adult siblings in a big, boisterous group. For some people, an adult family vacation might seem like a nightmare, but for my parents, not only were the trips fun, but they provided years' worth of memories and inside jokes that tightened their family bonds.</p> <p>Group vacations can also have financial benefits. Lodging, transportation, food, and entertainment can all be cheaper when purchased for a group. Vacationers with children can share childcare duties while traveling together, so no one is stuck sitting in a hotel room bored every night after the little ones go to bed. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/free-online-tools-that-help-organize-people?ref=seealso">Free Online Tools That Help Organize People</a>)</p> <p>The challenge that prevents most people from accessing these group travel benefits is arranging it all. Here are some ideas and resources to make that easier.</p> <h2>Plan the Trip</h2> <p>Group vacations are especially great for friends or family who live far from each other and want time to reconnect. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, but it can make planning a pain in the neck. I am currently planning a Wine Country weekend with girlfriends using a &quot;secret&quot; Facebook group, and posting links to potential lodging and attractions there for all of us to discuss.</p> <p>A more specialized option for trip planning is <a href="https://travefy.com">Travefy</a>, where you can search through Groupon deals, lodging, transportation options, and attractions; post them to a group board with one click; and then discuss them.</p> <p>Another travel planning site that allows you to make group decisions is <a href="http://www.triporama.com/">Triporama</a>.</p> <h2>Share the Costs</h2> <p>Unless your trip is financed by a rich uncle (in which case, I just discovered we are long-lost cousins!), you will need a good way to split up the costs of the trip. Many groups skip this important step, figuring they will simply take turns paying for things. This strategy could cause an otherwise fun trip to descend into arguments over who is not paying their share. Even if you would never squabble with your friends or relatives about money, this method just takes up too much brain space. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">Best Travel Rewards Credit Cards</a>)</p> <p>There are web services to help you avoid this situation.</p> <h3>Divide It</h3> <p><a href="http://divide.it/">Divide It</a> tracks who owes what and can be updated throughout a trip to free vacationers of the hassle of remembering that Joe paid for dinner but not drinks, and Sue paid for breakfast which was much cheaper than either.</p> <h3>Pay It Square</h3> <p><a href="http://www.payitsquare.com">Pay It Square</a> also lets people pay their portion using a credit card or PayPal, and would be a good service to use to collect funds to pay for housing, etc., before embarking on a trip.</p> <h3>Travefy</h3> <p><a href="https://travefy.com">Travefy</a>, mentioned above, also has an expense-tracking tab, that totals up what each individual owes.</p> <p>But what if you're not sure how to divide expenses?</p> <h3>Splitwise</h3> <p>For instance, we took a trip with two other families this fall. One family had two members on the trip, one had three, and our family had five. Some of us were staying more nights than others. We decided to calculate the per-person, per-night cost, a time-consuming exercise that we could have automated if we had known about <a href="https://www.splitwise.com/calculators/travel">Splitwise's travel calculator</a>, which lets you choose between different ways to divvy things up, then does the math for you.</p> <h3>Shared Account and Prepaid Debit Card</h3> <p>Now, if you want to avoid having to track expenses on the trip at all, another idea is to create a group travel fund. Have each traveler or family contribute, either with a cash lump sum or as a monthly payment saved up over a year or more. When it's time to go, get a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-prepaid-debit-cards">prepaid debit card</a> that you can whip out when it's time to gas up or pay at a restaurant, and your vacation can be math-free.</p> <h2>Find a Nice Place to Stay</h2> <p>Groups will find a lot of advantages to renting a house or condo compared to staying in hotels. The price may be lower, but more importantly, you will most likely have common space to share. This is especially valuable for families traveling with children whose bedtimes are earlier than the parents'. On our three-family trip last fall, some of the most fun evenings we had were simply when we put the kids to bed and sat up in the living room drinking wine. And when the kids woke up at an uncivilized hour, only one parent had to stumble into the family room to switch on the TV, while the other adults slept blissfully on.</p> <h3>Vacation Rental Sites</h3> <p>To rent a house or condo, check out <a href="http://www.airbnb.com/">Airbnb</a> and <a href="http://www.vrbo.com">VRBO</a>. Another option that I've recently signed up for is <a href="http://www.homeexchange.com">HomeExchange</a>, where you can offer your own house to other travelers in exchange for free lodging. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-find-and-book-the-best-vacation-rentals?ref=seealso">How to Find and Book the Best Vacation Rentals</a>)</p> <h3>Camping</h3> <p>Camping can also be a great option for groups, because many campgrounds rent group spots that work out to be a better deal per-person than multiple family spots. And if a smallish group rents a spot designed for a large group, you can get the added benefit of privacy and/or more freedom to make noise without disturbing other campers.</p> <h2>Share Duties</h2> <p>With or without kids, renting a house tends to involve a little more elbow grease than living in a hotel. There will probably be at least some meals cooked &quot;at home&quot; and dishes to wash. It's sensible to come up with a system for dividing up the chores, so that the same people don't end up doing maid duty every day and missing out on the fun.</p> <p>For families with kids, if possible it's a great idea to give each couple a kid-free night out while the others stay home and do tuck-in duty. Or you can pool your funds to get a sitter from a service like <a href="https://www.sittercity.com/">Sitter City</a> and go out together.</p> <h2>Get Group Discounts</h2> <p>When hitting attractions as a group, you may have the opportunity to save money by buying all your tickets together. <a href="http://www.hollywoodwaxmuseum.com/hollywood/group_discounts.htm">The Hollywood Wax Museum</a> cuts 25% off the price of tickets for 25 people or more, for example.</p> <p>At some attractions, it might make more sense to buy a family pass that lasts the whole year rather than a bunch of individual tickets. For instance, if a family of five is visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium along with two friends, you can buy an <a href="http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/support-us/membership">Ocean Advocate-level membership</a> for $275 that would get all seven of you in. Individual tickets for four adults and three children would cost $234.61. If this is a one-day only opportunity, there is a slight savings to buying the individual tickets, but if anyone in the group can go back even once, you'll save.</p> <p>Some tour companies even offer a free trip to an individual who organizes a group trip. <a href="http://www.goaheadtours.com/groups/group-travel">Go Ahead Tours</a>, for example, gives every seventh person in a group a free ride, so if you recruit six relatives or friends, you're on Easy Street. Or, if you want to be more equitable, you could offer to &quot;share&quot; your free trip with the rest of the group by pooling everyone's fees and dividing the cost.</p> <h2>Travel as a Pack</h2> <p>Renting one minivan that seats seven is likely to be more affordable than renting two sedans, and you'll save on gas, too. For larger groups, savings are less clear cut, since the big vans that seat 12 or more can be expensive and gas-guzzling.</p> <p>However, there can be advantages to riding together besides cost savings. For one thing, you have less stress from trying to follow other cars in your group through traffic. For another, it can just be fun to stick together. Earlier this year I rented a 12-seat Ford Econoline van with family, and we had a blast chatting and singing songs on the way.</p> <p><em>Have you traveled in a big group? Please share your organizing tips in comments!</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this Post? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fhow-to-save-money-on-travel-with-an-awesome-group-vacation&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHow%20to%20Save%20Money%20on%20Travel%20With%20an%20Awesome%20Group%20Vacation.jpg&amp;description=How%20to%20Save%20Money%20on%20Travel%20With%20an%20Awesome%20Group%20Vacation" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/How%20to%20Save%20Money%20on%20Travel%20With%20an%20Awesome%20Group%20Vacation.jpg" width="250" height="374" alt="" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-travel-with-an-awesome-group-vacation">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frequently-under-budgeted-air-travel-costs">8 Frequently Under-Budgeted Air Travel Costs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-best-websites-for-last-minute-airfare-deals">7 Best Websites for Last-Minute Airfare Deals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-to-do-about-a-terrible-airbnb-stay">What to Do About a Terrible Airbnb Stay</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-frugal-fall-getaways-you-can-start-packing-for-now">10 Frugal Fall Getaways You Can Start Packing For Now</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-travel-splurges-that-are-worth-every-penny">5 Travel Splurges That Are Worth Every Penny</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel family vacation group travel vacation Tue, 10 Jun 2014 21:00:15 +0000 Carrie Kirby 1142122 at http://www.wisebread.com A Beginner's Guide to Earning Miles and Points for Free Travel http://www.wisebread.com/a-beginners-guide-to-miles-and-points <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-beginners-guide-to-miles-and-points" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/travel-477825273.jpg" alt="family vacation" title="family vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you think that racking up enough airline miles, hotel points, and credit card rewards to travel around the world at dramatically reduced prices is a treat reserved for full-time road warriors and the wealthy, you would be wrong.</p> <p>Traveling the world on reward points is for middle class working families, retirees, stay-at-home moms, leisure travelers, and lots of people in between. In other words, a world of very affordable, luxurious, and attainable travel is waiting for folks like you and me! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards?ref=seealso">5 Great Travel Rewards Cards</a>)</p> <p>I know this because I have been traveling with my family using miles and points for years. Sometimes it is in first class lie-flat beds across the Atlantic, sometimes it is in five star hotel suites, and sometimes it is more budget carriers like Southwest or Spirit Airlines, but it can all be done using miles and points that can be earned making <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-for-everyday-purchases?ref=internal">everyday purchases</a>.</p> <p>The world of miles and points can seem a bit overwhelming at first given all of the earning and redemption options, but don't let that stop you from getting started. I'll help you break down a few easy and straightforward steps that can literally put the world at your feet. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/choose-the-best-travel-rewards-credit-card-with-this-guide?ref=seealso">Choose the Best Travel Rewards Credit Card with This Guide</a>)</p> <h2>1. Think About Your Travel Goals</h2> <p>Any good endeavor starts with a good goal, so think about where you would travel if money weren't holding you back. This may be taking the family to Disney World, taking your spouse to Hawaii, or heading by train across Europe. There are no limits to where miles and points can take you, so dream big. It will be much easier to know what type of miles or points to earn in the beginning, if they are being earned with a specific trip in mind. Plan your future dream vacation, and see it manifest. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards?ref=seealso">6 Ways My Family Scores Free Travel with Credit Card Rewards</a>)</p> <h2>2. Research Your Dream Destination</h2> <p>In order to know what type of hotel points or airline miles to earn at the beginning, you need to know which type will help you get where you want to be. Find out what hotels and airlines serve the city (or cities) you want to visit, and then see which ones look like they would be your top choices. If you aren't sure where to start, <a href="http://wikitravel.org/">Wikitravel</a>&nbsp;is a great resource to discover the basics.</p> <p>While you can use some types of credit card points essentially as cash to pay for any type of travel expense you want, it can be easiest to begin your miles and points journey by looking at chain hotels like Hyatt, Starwood, or IHG Rewards since you will have the most points earning opportunities to get &quot;free&quot; nights at those types of hotels. Also find out which airlines will take you from your local airport to your destination.</p> <h2>3. Check Your Credit Score and Review Credit Reports</h2> <p><span style="font-size: 13px;">There's no denying the fact that the quickest and easiest way to rack up tons of miles and points is by using&nbsp;</span><span style="font-size: 13px;">rewards credit cards</span><span style="font-size: 13px;">. </span><span style="font-size: 13px;">However, before you decide if that route is for you, it is important to get a handle on your credit situation.</span></p> <p>You can obtain one free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus annually from <a href="https://www.annualcreditreport.com">annualcreditreport.com</a>. I also strongly recommend getting an idea about the range into which your credit score falls. You can get an estimate of your score free from sites like <a href="http://www.dpbolvw.net/click-2822544-10809829-1284618439000?sid=hull-1133375">Credit Karma</a> or <a href="http://www.anrdoezrs.net/click-2822544-12336153-1455123184000?sid=hull-1133375">Credit Sesame</a>. There is no &quot;magic number,&quot; but if your credit score isn't at least 700, I would not recommend applying for rewards credit cards until you can bring your credit score up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-rebuild-your-credit-in-8-simple-steps?ref=seealso">How to Rebuild Your Credit</a>)</p> <h2>4. Apply for a Good Rewards Credit Card (or Two)</h2> <p>After you determine that your credit score is good, then consider applying for a good rewards earning credit card&hellip;or two.</p> <p>There are dozens and dozens of rewards credit cards out there, and the best ones for you will depend on your travel goals. For example, if you are going somewhere that is served by United and has a Hyatt hotel that you want to stay at, then it makes sense to focus on getting the cards that will give you those types of points. You can either get a co-branded credit card or a flexible travel rewards card that allows you to transfer points to the loyalty program of your choice, or give you a statement credit for your travel bookings. This is where having well defined travel goals can help define how to get started in your points journey. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-travel-rewards-credit-cards-really-work?ref=seealso">How Travel Rewards Credit Cards Really Work</a>)</p> <p>Here's a list of our recommended cards:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-sign-up-bonuses-for-airline-miles-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Credit Cards with the Best Sign Up Bonuses</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-co-branded-airline-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Co-Branded Airline Credit Cards</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/breakdown-of-benefits-and-value-of-the-best-hotel-rewards-programs-and-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Co-Branded Hotel Credit Cards</a></li> </ul> <p>Keep in mind that there is usually a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-ways-to-meet-a-rewards-card-minimum-spending-requirement?ref=internal">minimum spending requirement</a> in order to get the sign-up bonus, so don't bite off more than you can chew. Go slow and focus on the sign-up bonuses that will get you the closest to your travel goals, or beyond. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-use-travel-rewards-cards-to-get-free-trips?ref=seealso">How to Use Credit Card Bonuses to Get a Free Trip in 9 Months</a>)</p> <h2>5. Shift Your Everyday Spending to Your Rewards Cards</h2> <p>The more you use your rewards credit cards, the more points you will earn.</p> <p>We have charged everything from car insurance, to daycare, to groceries, to doctor's bills, to gas, and more on our rewards credit cards. The result is that we earn a large number of miles and points each year for things we were going to have to pay for anyway.</p> <p>Once you get a bit more experienced, you can focus on using cards that pay out a bonus in certain categories. Some cards will pay out extra on gas, groceries, or travel, for example. We have one that gives extra points on dining charges, so we make sure to use that card when we eat out or hit the drive thru line on the way home. Here are our favorite cards for different categories:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-5-credit-cards-for-groceries?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for Groceries</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-dining-out?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for Restaurants</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-gas-rewards-credit-cards?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for Gas</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-credit-cards-for-travel-purchases?ref=seealso">Best Credit Cards for Travel Purchases</a></li> </ul> <h2>6. Redeem Your Points for an Amazing Trip!</h2> <p>The miles and points you earn are only as valuable as what you redeem them for, so when you have enough for your first &quot;dream trip,&quot; use them!</p> <p>With many types of miles and points, you will have the greatest success if you start looking for award availability early and have some flexibility with your dates. Not all types of points require you to have flexibility, but with many programs that does help. Various sites&nbsp;aim to help you learn about some tips and tricks for how to earn and redeem over time. But to start with don't worry about getting the best redemption ever, just work on getting the trip you are after! (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-expert-tips-for-redeeming-miles-for-free-travel?ref=seealso">12 Expert Tips for Redeeming Miles for Travel</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fa-beginners-guide-to-miles-and-points&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FA%20Beginners%20Guide%20to%20Miles%20and%20Points.jpg&amp;description=A%20Beginner%26%23x27%3Bs%20Guide%20to%20Miles%20and%20Points" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/A%20Beginners%20Guide%20to%20Miles%20and%20Points.jpg" alt="A Beginner's Guide to Miles and Points" width="250" height="374" />&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/summer-hull">Summer Hull</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-beginners-guide-to-miles-and-points">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards">6 Ways My Family Scores Free Travel With Credit Cards</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-credit-card-should-you-use-to-get-free-hotel-stays">Which Credit Card Should You Use to Get Free Hotel Stays?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-airline-rewards-programs-for-trips-to-europe">The Best Airline Rewards Programs for Trips to Europe</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-frequent-flyer-miles-that-are-about-to-expire">How to Save Frequent Flyer Miles That Are About to Expire</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-one-man-used-credit-card-rewards-to-go-to-the-last-11-super-bowls">How One Man Used Credit Card Rewards to Go to the Last 11 Super Bowls</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel family vacation rewards travel points Fri, 28 Mar 2014 09:48:17 +0000 Summer Hull 1133375 at http://www.wisebread.com Train Now for a Summertime Family Cycling Trip http://www.wisebread.com/train-now-for-a-summertime-family-cycling-trip <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/train-now-for-a-summertime-family-cycling-trip" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bike trail for WB.jpg" alt="Pine Creek Trail" title="Pine Creek Trail" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Winter is a great time to get ready for a summer cycling vacation with your family. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/summer-freebies-and-bargains-for-kids">Summer Freebies and Bargains for Kids</a>)</p> <p>A couple of winters ago, I convinced my husband that taking the kids, then 15 and 12, on an <a href="http://www.railstotrails.org/getinvolved/findanevent/sojourn/index.html">organized cycling trip</a> was a great idea. Actually, I persuaded him to sign up for the trip and withhold judgment on our family&rsquo;s capabilities (individually and collectively) to ride over 150 miles in 4 days. My job was to prepare the family for this adventure. I discovered that there are really four components to getting ready for a cycling trip (or similar outdoor vacations involving moderate physical activity):</p> <ul> <li><a href="#Fitness">Fitness</a></li> <li><a href="#Nutrition">Nutrition</a></li> <li><a href="#Gear">Gear</a></li> <li><a href="#Mental_Readiness">Mental Readiness</a></li> </ul> <h2>Create a Trip Evaluation</h2> <p>Before you get ready, you'll need to know <em>what you are getting ready for, </em>so start with a trip evaluation. Note your trip's:</p> <ol> <li>Distance</li> <li>Average speed</li> <li>Conditions</li> </ol> <p>Getting the distance of a trip should be straightforward. I&rsquo;ll mention, though, that the mileages for our trip were updated periodically as trails and road safety were evaluated and re-evaluated. There were also some optional miles for side trips.</p> <p>For a casual trip, you may not receive information stating the average speed of the cyclists, but you can calculate this number using the schedule of activities. For example, if the start time is 9 a.m. and lunch is served at 12 noon at a site 30 miles from the starting point, then cyclists should average 10 mph to arrive on time.&nbsp;</p> <p>Assessing conditions is the most difficult task. Look at:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Surface:</strong> Will you be riding on a trail where cars are prohibited? What type of surface is the bike path?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Support: </strong>Will you need to transport your own gear, such as tents and clothing? Are meals, snacks, and water provided by organizers? What type of overnight facilities are available &mdash; hotel, bed and breakfast, campsite? Will cell phone service be available if you have problems?<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Climate: </strong>What is the average temperature? Will you need winter gear or rain apparel?</li> </ol> <p>Having participated in cycling events with friends, I&nbsp;had the knowledge to get the family ready. However, finding time to train was a challenge with winter weather, short days, schoolwork, and real work persisting as interferences to a fitness regimen. Plus we had some false starts.</p> <p>Our first training ride has become part of family lore in the &ldquo;disaster&rdquo; category: My youngest son collapsed (figuratively, though he did feign a near-physical collapse) after cycling about five miles on a multi-use trail. My husband, then 49-years-old and an occasional exerciser, wasn&rsquo;t feeling energized either. I ditched my dreams of idyllic family outings in which we harmoniously enjoyed each other&rsquo;s company as we pedaled happily, steadily, and swiftly. Then I developed and activated Plan B.</p> <h3><a name="Fitness"></a>Fitness</h3> <p>To get ready for a cycling trip, <em>ideally</em> you and your family should take rides together on weekends, early mornings before work, or evenings after work (or during the day if everyone has a flexible schedule). Steadily you&rsquo;ll progress toward your fitness goals and trip readiness. Specifically, you should try to attain the average speed for the longest-mileage day.</p> <p>As I mentioned, my total-family approach didn&rsquo;t work smoothly for us, so my Plan B was to get each person ready separately, even though we&rsquo;d progress at different rates. My husband and I started by taking long bike rides on a greenway near our house on Saturday mornings and occasional evenings. Whenever possible, I took my 12-year-old during the week. Eventually, my husband and younger son rode together to take on more challenging distances. (I&rsquo;ll note that this son was working toward a Cycling Merit Badge and was motivated to complete a series of rides including the capstone 50-mile ride.)</p> <p>My oldest son didn&rsquo;t take many rides with the family as he was working out with his high school football team. His physical strength, mental toughness, and youth &mdash; along with the right gear &mdash; allowed him to complete daily distances easily.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s my approach:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Create and follow a plan that builds your mileage to the longest daily distance.</strong> Work out a few times each week, talking a long ride on the weekend and a couple of shorter rides during the week. Progressively increase the longest ride of the week, adding 15-30% in miles if possible until you reach your goal. If you are not able to ride during the week, do something: walk, take an <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/getting-started-in-indoor-cycle-class">indoor cycle class</a>, swim, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/exercising-in-a-winter-wonderland-how-to-be-fit-and-frugal">run outside</a>, or lift weights.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Add speed. </strong>You don&rsquo;t need to cycle 30 miles at an all-out pace to improve your fitness level. Quicken the pace slightly or put forth short bursts of intense effort and then slow down instead of stopping so that you&rsquo;ll get used to continuous effort (and avoid sudden drops in heart rate).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Rest. </strong>Take breaks during the bike rides every 10-15 miles or so. Recover between workout sessions. If you are relatively new to regular exercise, you may need to take more than a day of recovery between rides. If you feel tired, slow down or cut your distances, or take an extra rest day.</li> </ol> <p>As a note of encouragement, even if you walk a mile or so daily now, you have a better base level of fitness than you might imagine; getting to the next level is more attainable than you might realize. As a note of caution, don&rsquo;t overdo workouts. Build up slowly, and don't try to set speed records.</p> <h2><a name="Nutrition"></a>Nutrition</h2> <p>Novices consistently underestimate the impact of nutrition and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-to-drink-more-water">hydration</a> in tackling a long or multi-day ride. Those seemingly average in fitness can ride for hours when taking in the proper fuel and plenty of fluids.</p> <p>Generally, eating balanced meals and healthy snacks while avoiding fast food and processed food works well. My regimen is a fruit smoothie for breakfast with bananas, blueberries, yogurt, and orange juice; trail mix or energy gels for snacks; a sandwich and chips or pretzels for lunch; and a good dinner with protein, vegetables, and carbs, plus plenty of water and some electrolyte-laden sports drinks along the way. Others like eggs and toast for breakfast and peanut butter sandwiches for snacks, for example.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s my approach:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Develop menus that suit your preferences</strong> (breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks). Test foods, meals, and drinks to determine which benefit your performance and what causes problems.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Pay attention to your diet and fluid intake</strong> during the weeks of training as well as immediately before the trip, during the rides, and afterwards. Never start an event hungry or thirsty as you'll likely suffer throughout the ride.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Never try a new approach before or during a long ride.</strong>&nbsp;This idea is like #1, but important enough that it should stand on its own.</li> </ol> <h2><a name="Gear"></a>Gear</h2> <p>Bringing the right gear that is easily transported to the trip is a major consideration. Training sessions will give you indicators of what type of gear is essential. For more specific information, review trip packing lists, ask organizers for recommended items, and interact with ride veterans on trip forums (if available) to discover useful items that may not be mentioned otherwise.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s my approach:</p> <ol> <li><strong>Find a bicycle and helmet that fit</strong> you and the cycling surface (that is, use a hybrid or mountain bike if you are traveling on a rails-to-trails trail or a road bike if you are riding on the road).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Bring a water bottle and other essentials</strong> in a bicycle bag, which should include a basic repair kit (bicycle tube, tool, and pump), snacks, and possibly a first-aid kit. Avoid carrying a daypack on your back as this arrangement becomes uncomfortable quickly.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong>Acquire additional gear as needed. </strong>These items may include a bicycle computer, moisture-wicking clothing (shirts, shorts, and socks), raingear, bicycle lock, and camping gear.</li> </ol> <p>Renting bikes and other equipment makes sense if you are traveling a long distance for the trip, and you are confident that you can rent the right type of bicycle that is in excellent working condition and fits properly. Our family&rsquo;s disastrous experience was due partly to a problem bicycle, selected hurriedly from a rental shop next to the bike trail. The chain fell off repeatedly and seemed permanently stuck in one gear, which didn&rsquo;t allow for ease of pedaling. The owner helped us and adjusted our bill, but the experience taught me to be diligent in checking out rental shops and bike rentals.</p> <h2><a name="Mental_Readiness"></a>Mental Readiness</h2> <p>Getting mentally ready is just as important as physical fitness. You don&rsquo;t have to pursue mental toughness specifically. As you train and encounter challenges, make mistakes, and survive these experiences, you&rsquo;ll develop mental toughness naturally.</p> <p>Things that have happened to me, for example, include times when I started to become dehydrated because a rest stop closed early, ate a hamburger just an hour before a long and fast ride, pushed myself too hard in the early phase of a ride and struggled for the subsequent 20 miles, and cycled for hours in the rain. I've also heard &quot;war stories&quot; that included sudden muscle cramping and extreme fatigue during an epic ride a few days after donating blood.</p> <p>These things are scary but they are helpful because they...</p> <ol> <li>...teach you what <em>not </em>to do next time.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>....help you to encourage others to avoid these problems or recognize what&rsquo;s wrong when someone repeats your past mistake (instead of panicking).<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>...demonstrate your resilience.</li> </ol> <p>Another way to build your readiness is by completing the longest daily distance and doing back-to-back rides. The intimidation of a 40-mile ride and riding multiple days in a row disappears if you have managed to conquer those challenges already. You'll also learn techniques for handling such exertion.</p> <p>Don&rsquo;t panic if you cannot take that long ride if you are otherwise healthy and fit, and the trip difficulty level is low. On a typical day, you'll have completed a workout plus all your daily chores (such as going to work, fixing dinner, and doing laundry), which can zap your energy. During the trip, all you have to do is ride.</p> <p>To find a trip that's right for your family, talk to folks at your local bicycle,&nbsp;outdoor shop, and bicycle club; or investigate&nbsp;trips offered by <a href="http://www.adventurecycling.org/tours/index.cfm">Adventure Cycling</a>, hosted by state agencies (such as the <a href="http://www.mostateparks.com/katytrail/2011ride.htm">Katy Trail Ride in Missouri</a>) and organized by adventure travel companies. To find trails suitable for family training, check out maps from <a href="http://www.traillink.com/home.aspx">Rails-to-Trails Conservancy </a>or your local parks and recreation department.</p> <p><em>If you have techniques for getting families or yourself ready for a cycling vacation, share them in the comments. </em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ftrain-now-for-a-summertime-family-cycling-trip&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FTrain%20Now%20for%20a%20Summertime%20Family%20Cycling%20Trip.jpg&amp;description=Train%20Now%20for%20a%20Summertime%20Family%20Cycling%20Trip" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Train%20Now%20for%20a%20Summertime%20Family%20Cycling%20Trip.jpg" alt="Train Now for a Summertime Family Cycling Trip" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/train-now-for-a-summertime-family-cycling-trip">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-great-places-to-take-the-family-for-spring-break">8 Great Places to Take the Family for Spring Break</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-affordable-family-getaways-when-you-dont-have-a-vacation-fund">7 Affordable Family Getaways When You Don&#039;t Have a Vacation Fund</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-cheap-ways-to-entertain-your-kids-this-summer">6 Cheap Ways to Entertain Your Kids This Summer</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-a-fun-family-road-trip-without-breaking-your-budget">How to Have a Fun Family Road Trip Without Breaking Your Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-little-known-ways-to-save-at-disneyland">15 Little Known Ways to Save at Disneyland</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family Health and Beauty Travel cycling family activities family vacation summer activities training regimen Mon, 31 Jan 2011 13:00:21 +0000 Julie Rains 483647 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Frequently Under-Budgeted Air Travel Costs http://www.wisebread.com/8-frequently-under-budgeted-air-travel-costs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-frequently-under-budgeted-air-travel-costs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/airport-food-482364461-small.jpg" alt="airport food" title="airport food" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Over the next few months, many people will hop on an airplane to visit friends or family for the holidays.</p> <p>At some point in my life, I read about why airline miles are much more popular than hotel points (even though hotel points are more valuable). The reason is that our minds plan out trips sequentially. When planning a vacation, we first want to take care of airfare, then we will look into making a hotel booking. Thus, an average person might find it hard to envision the total cost (including all the extras) of his vacation or family trip.</p> <p>Most people who come back from a vacation that involves air travel often complain about how expensive everything was along the way. Check out the list below for air travel charges you should budget for.</p> <h2>Baggage</h2> <p>When booking tickets, I suggest you go ahead and make a total airline cost spreadsheet, because the cost of baggage when comparing airlines can make a significant difference. I&rsquo;ve heard people talk about how the price is the same to fly with multiple airlines, but that is not true when you factor in extra fees and charges. Since there are five people in my family, any time we can get on a Southwest flight we save a bunch in baggage fees. While traveling, you might consider one of these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-minimize-baggage-fees-when-flying">five ways to minimize baggage cost</a>.</p> <h2>Airport and In-Flight Meals</h2> <p>If you are flying stateside, don&rsquo;t expect to get a free lunch. For the most part, those days are over. Remember, also, that airports tend to have inflated meal prices because they have a monopoly. You&rsquo;re not going to drive to the nearest restaurant while you&rsquo;re waiting for a connecting flight.</p> <p>Of course, the obvious alternative is to take your own meal.</p> <h2>Foreign Currency Exchange</h2> <p>For those who will travel overseas, you should expect to pay a fee to exchange your currency. However, different ways to exchange your money carry varying fees. Depending on how long you plan to be on vacation and how much you plan to spend, that could make a significant difference. As an example, if you use a Visa or MasterCard that charges a 3% foreign currency exchange fee compared to a 0% foreign currency exchange fee credit card, then on a $5,000 vacation you can save $150.</p> <h2>Tipping</h2> <p>A personal pet peeve about traveling in America is all the people along the way who expect you to tip them.</p> <p>If you are traveling in and out of airports and in and out of hotels, you will likely incur some tipping expenses.</p> <h2>In-Flight Entertainment</h2> <p>Showing up at the airport with nothing to do can be expensive. The airport is one of the most expensive places to buy a book. In addition, some airlines are starting to charge for use of internet or movies.</p> <p>Consider your entertainment needs before getting on the flight, and bring your own.</p> <h2>Airport Transportation or Parking</h2> <p>The cost of getting to and from the airport can really add up.</p> <p>Determine which of these options is the cheapest for you: taxi, shuttle bus, stay at a hotel and leave your car, airport parking lot (don&rsquo;t forget to look for an online coupon), or have a friend drop you off.</p> <h2>Visa or Passport Fees</h2> <p>If traveling internationally, you should expect to pay fees for tourist visas. You&rsquo;ll need to find out details about that particular country.</p> <h2>Credit Card Interest</h2> <p>If you don't have the money to pay for the trip and think you can just charge it, let me just say that is a horrible game plan. The expense of the trip will be outrageous. If you are in credit card debt or getting out of credit card debt, you should consider a staycation or a vacation that doesn&rsquo;t cost any money. If you are paying interest on a credit card, this is not the right time for a vacation.</p> <p>While planning a vacation can be a lot of fun, you need to be sure to add all these extra fees into your budget or you&rsquo;re going to run out of coins before you even get to your destination.</p> <p><em>Can you think of any more often overlooked travel costs?</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F8-frequently-under-budgeted-air-travel-costs&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F8%20Frequently%20Under-Budgeted%20Air%20Travel%20Costs.jpg&amp;description=8%20Frequently%20Under-Budgeted%20Air%20Travel%20Costs" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;<img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/8%20Frequently%20Under-Budgeted%20Air%20Travel%20Costs.jpg" alt="8 Frequently Under-Budgeted Air Travel Costs" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/craig-ford">Craig Ford</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-frequently-under-budgeted-air-travel-costs">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-travel-hacks-only-frequent-flyers-know">5 Smart Travel Hacks Only Frequent Flyers Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-sneaky-vacation-costs-that-add-up-quickly">10 Sneaky Vacation Costs That Add Up Quickly</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-save-money-on-travel-with-an-awesome-group-vacation">How to Save Money on Travel With an Awesome Group Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-fool-proof-ways-to-stay-within-your-travel-budget">7 Fool-Proof Ways to Stay Within Your Travel Budget</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-get-free-or-almost-free-airline-tickets">10 Ways to Get Free (or Almost Free) Airline Tickets</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel air travel cheap air travel family vacation vacation Wed, 27 Oct 2010 13:00:08 +0000 Craig Ford 264863 at http://www.wisebread.com