A Single Parent’s Guide to Planning a Budget-Friendly Family Vacation

The number of single dads in the United States has increased in recent years. Parents who go it alone face a number of unique challenges. For example, they must manage their time carefully to make sure they can juggle work and kids. They may also face financial hurdles as they only have a single stream of income to rely on. This can make extra expenses, such as vacations, difficult to stomach. Luckily, there are many ways to save on a family holiday. This guide provides tips for affordable vacation planning as well as general parenting tips you can implement while on vacation and at home.

Book using online deal sites

If you are booking a trip that requires air travel, aim to go during the week when tickets cost less. For example, going from New York to Paris costs $548 on a Saturday or Sunday, compared to $470 on a Monday or Tuesday. You can also use discount travel sites like Priceline and receive email alerts when destinations of interest are on sale. There is also the opportunity to get deals when you book packages including travel, accommodation, and rental cars in a single go. You can find additional savings when you use Priceline coupons and promo codes.

Skip flying altogether and opt for a road trip

If airline travel isn’t in your budget, consider a road trip. You can save a lot by driving instead of flying. Before you go, make sure your car insurance policy is up-to-date and will cover you across state lines. If it’s time to update your insurance, look into bundling policies. Diverse factors determine the average monthly car insurance amount, such as a person’s age, zip code, and type of car. You may be able to save on your average monthly car insurance, for instance, if you have a clean driving record.

Look for affordable entertainment to keep kids occupied

Traveling requires patience. Whether driving or flying, pack entertainment to amuse your child. A tablet is a convenient option; for example, you can load it up with their favorite movies and games. So, look online for promotional deals on the latest tablets. If you’re flying, also pack entertainment that kids can still use during takeoff and landing (when most electronic devices need to be shut down). A coloring book is one easy option. In general, encourage little ones to exercise their creativity, which can promote problem-solving skills, boost confidence, and relieve stress.

Avoid hotels and opt for affordable home rentals

Instead of staying at an expensive hotel, look for more affordable accommodations and consider renting a vacation home in your destination. This also allows you to save money on food because you can get ingredients from a supermarket and prepare meals instead of going to a restaurant while on the road. Renting a vacation home also means you can travel with friends or family and all chip in on the costs.

With these tips, you can plan holidays for you and your child as a single father without stressing about costs. The benefits will be well worth it. Travel encourages positive development in children in many ways as it encourages them to learn about other cultures, allows them to become more adaptable, and instils curiosity in them. The investment you make in travel with your little one now will pay off well into their adult years.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

7 Tips For Young Travelers on Their First Big Trip

Everyone has traveled with their parents as a child, but setting off on your own first big trip is a whole different matter. For the first time, you are in charge of your itinerary and your budget, a thought that is both supremely exciting and quite terrifying. Whether you are jetting off abroad or finally setting off on that cross-country trip, here are a few ways to make your trip awesome.

Pack Like a Pro

If you are going on a longer trip (say, over a week or so), then you need to refine your packing strategy. Just cramming everything you may possibly need into a huge backpack is tempting, but you’ll be tired of hauling it all around within a few days.

If you’re up for the challenge, try to fit everything into a carry-on. This will make it a lot easier for you to get around and save you fees on flights. Pack clothes for a week (and do laundry as you go), use compression bags to save space, and only bring items that can work as several outfits.

Get Some Variety

Design an itinerary that allows you to experience a bit of everything, especially if you’re going on a longer trip. For instance, here in New England, we love that we can combine beaches, mountains, historic towns, and cities for a wonderful experience. But this really applies to anywhere. Going to Europe for the first time? Throw in some exciting day trips from the major cities, whether its seeing tulip fields near Amsterdam or the English coast near London.

Balance Planning and Spontaneity

The perfect trip combines solid planning with enough wiggle room to be spontaneous. Popular travel blogger Nomadic Matt recommends only planning around your “must-dos” and letting the rest unfold. Since this is your first trip, you may want to plan more than that. At the very least, have your first accommodation booked and an idea of where you might want to go next.

Bring Some Home Comforts

It’s almost inevitable that a first-time traveler will get a bit homesick. So, bring something to comfort you in these situations, such as a favorite T-shirt, family photo or a book you love. You will also want to bring along some entertainment in case you find yourself stuck indoors, or if you want to unwind at night. Many people bring travel tablets or laptops, but if you’d rather leave these at home, a portable streaming stick that provides access to a wealth of digital content can be an excellent solution. Watching your favorite television series is a great way to battle homesickness.

Know Your Budget

Budgeting isn’t the fun part of travel, but it’s very necessary. Research is your best tool here — resources like the Lonely Planet are an invaluable reference point. Their website has a “daily budget” section for every destination in the world, which is the easiest way to get an overall feel for how much money you’ll need to save.

Embrace the Hostel

Some people find the idea of a hostel offputting, especially after hearing stories of dirty beds and obnoxious roommates. The reality is that hostels are some of the coolest places to stay, and they are a great way to make friends. Also, most of them have private rooms, so you can socialize while still getting a good night’s sleep. Have a look at some of the best hostels in the US, many of which offer free daily activities, cool interiors, and a fun party vibe.

Stay Safe

It’s also important to stay safe! Some general safety points to remember are:

● Always travel with proper insurance.
● Note the local emergency numbers for wherever you visit.
● Keep family and friends updated on your plans.
● Be on your guard when alone in strange places, especially if you are alone.
● Pack a basic first aid kit for minor wounds.

Finally, have fun! Your first big trip as an adult is an unforgettable experience, and it is your first opportunity to figure out what kind of traveler you are. Just follow your instincts, keep an open mind, and try not to spend all your money on souvenirs.

Contributed by Henry Moore

Vacation Ownership

Here at Evergreen Valley, we do indeed offer vacation ownership through a timeshare program. However, you will never have to do a tour, or even see a salesman, we do not have them. Ask at the front desk about units for sale or exchange if you are interested.