Family Vacation on a Shoestring Budget: Part One

My family loves to travel and it’s something we value. We love seeing new places, exploring cities and towns, and allowing ourselves to take in all that places have to offer. We are also on a single income and work within a budget. This is where creativity comes into play with our love to wander.

I’m going to share some things I am doing for an upcoming family trip. I am not a travel expert, and would love if you might share ideas and tips that have worked for you.

My husband has family in Texas, who we haven’t seen in many years. He expressed a desire to make a trip out there to see the family and introduce them to our kids. We have had a few unplanned expenses this year, between needing to replace carpet and a couple car repairs, so I took the challenge to keep this trip as low-cost as possible.

The first leg of our trip is to San Antonio from Middle Tennessee. We wanted to stay somewhere with a kitchen to be able to keep food costs as low as possible. We are not big on eating out and it’s nice to keep some bit of normalcy for our kids, when traveling. Many hotels that have kitchens cost much more and then it’s a wash on food savings. We’ve used sites like VRBO (Vacation Rentals By Owner) in the past and liked renting directly from the owners. I wasn’t having much luck finding a location and decided to explore Airbnb. I was pleasantly surprised to find many nice options under $60/night.

I found a great townhouse for $50/night, within walking distance to parks and really close to the Alamo and Riverwalk. We will be touring the Alamo the first morning we are there, then checking out a State Park for hiking and exploring.  I found a great deal for the San Antonio Zoo for school groups, including homeschool families, where the entrance fee is only $5 a person.

From there we promised the kids some time at the beach. We found a National Park Service beach with camping right on the sand. The price of $8 a night had my interest up. Our kids are beyond excited to camp within steps of the ocean. I am doing a lot of pre-prepped meals to freeze ahead of time. I am looking forward to building sandcastles, jumping in the ocean water and seeing my kids play and have fun. However the camping is primitive, so while it has bathrooms, the showers are cold rinse only. Also, they don’t take reservations so we are hoping that travelling during the off-season means we won’t have problems getting a spot.

Let’s do the math: Lodging for 8 nights, will only be a smidge more than $200. My hope is that the adventure and experience will far outweigh not being able to take a real shower for a few nights. Our family already loves to camp, so I think this will work out great.

Once we get back, I will let you know how it all went and if AirBnB was worth the lower price tag and how we fared at the beach. Be on the lookout for part two of this article, and don’t forget to share your tips and tricks to travel on a budget with a family. I am always hoping to do it a little better and more often.

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