Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Traveling with the Family

My family an I travel a lot. In fact, we just got back from a 2 month vacation in California. Yup, you read it right, 2 months! In the camper. 2 teenagers, 2 adults and one dog. It got cramped, it got stinky, it got crowded, and it even got moldy, at times. Would I have taken it back? Not a chance. Our family is used to driving for 16 hours straight - in a few days we are going on a 4 hour drive to see our family, that will feel like nothing! One good thing about traveling a lot is that you begin to learn the ins and outs of saving money (because it does cost a lot!) and having fun. Lets just call it camper hacking.

1) Pay for campgrounds ahead of time.
That way you'll be sure that they won't be booked when you get there. Especially if your visiting campgrounds that are in popular areas - in particular - beaches. It's great to support state and national parks and beaches, many of them have camping with hook ups and the sights are gorgeous! Plus, your helping to preserve the land. In California, many of the parks are closing because of lack of funds, it really is sad!

2) Stock up on essentials.
Sometimes its hard to find a good grocery store when your camping - especially in touristy towns where the food will be very high priced. Stock up on things you know you'll need and that won't go bad, such as cereal.

3) Go to museums for free.
Museums and aquariums are a lot of fun to learn about the area and explore different things. Something that a lot of people might not know about is that often the smaller ones will have a day of the month that admission is free! Usually it's on weekdays, but it's a great deal!

4) Free entertainment.
Find things to do that are fun and free! Beaches are often free to go to, hiking is always a fun option, you can also talk to residents in the area to find fun things to do on the cheap!

5) Gas up!
Gas is often very highly priced in touristy towns, or towns that are very rural. On our trip, we noticed that diesel was high pretty much everywhere ($4+) except in towns such as Las Vegas!

6) Doggie waste....
There's always grumbling when it comes to cleaning up the pooches poop. Save plastic bags from Walmart or other stores to use while camping!

7) Plane tickets
Flying? It can be hard to cough up the money for an expensive plane ticket. So, why not find a cheap one? Spend extra time searching through sites such as Travelocity and Priceline.

8) Add up those miles
There are loads of sources to getting air miles, that you can redeem for great trips! A great resource to learn more about this is - which I was a member of during our trip, great program Chris has put together!

9) Triple A
You wouldn't believe all of the times Triple A has swooped in to save the day. For $10, it's worth it. You'll be thanking me when you lock your keys in the truck, or be stranded on the side of the road because the gas wasn't reaching the lines due to the very steep mountains! (Yes, it's happened!)

10) Have fun.
You'll make mistakes. You'll find yourself in crazy situations. Just remember to laugh through them and make light of them. In a few years, you very well might remember them better than the rides at Disney World.

Traveling is a lot of fun, there's so much to see in the world! Don't let the economy stop you, I hope you can put some of these tips to good use!

“I wrote this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms and Alamo blogging program, for a gift card worth $25. For more information on how you can participate, click here.”

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