Went on our first solo vacation last year, just the four of us, and it was awesome. We had a blast. Here is the deal: We were a little poor, just coming of the maternity leave and such. We didn't have our usual budget because of that. My mom always flies to see us really cheap from Colorado on Allegiant Air, so I looked into the website. Pretty cheap tickets that fly out of LAX and Long Beach. We decided to find the cheapest place we could fly to and plan the rest of the vacation around where we could fly in to for cheap, and we ended up with an amazing, affordable trip.
Las Vegas was only 20 bucks round trip, but we recently went to Vegas, so we decided on the next cheapest place. Medford, Oregon was only $100 bucks round trip with taxes and fees. You might think: Medford, Oregon, what can you do there? Well, we were pretty excited because we had always wanted to vacation to southern Oregon.
So here are my tips and tricks to traveling with the kiddos:
1. Travel while they are free. Children fly free on a lap until their 2nd birthday, so fly it up. It is almost cheaper than driving right now.
2. Bring the laptop and a little fun bag of snacks and toys on the plane. They usually let people with children board the plane first. Take advantage of that. Try to take over a whole row if you can. That way you are not bothering too many people. Audrey was busy the whole flight with eating snacks, watching movies on the computer, coloring, and reading books.
3. Strollers and car seats can be checked for free at the tarmac. Use them while you are in the airport. You can easily strap your car seat to a rolling suitcase, or bring the double stroller like we did, which gives you lots of room to throw carry-on items while trudging through the airport. Give yourself plenty of time to get through security. They have to check all your baby gear.
4. Carry on everything if possible. Buy diapers and wipes once you get to where your going. You can buy food once you're there too.
5. If you are paying for a seat on the plane for your toddler, use the car seat. Audrey fell asleep with the drone of the plane very quickly.
6. Booby feed that baby. If your boob is in their mouth, then they are not screaming. This makes it nicer for everyone on the plane around you, especially your baby. It is pretty perfect.
7. Have fun!
I started this post almost a year and a half ago. Here are some trips we did since then as a family of 4.
- Stayed in a route 66 type hotel in a small town.
- Stayed in a "treesort" hotel. It was a real tree house that was over 50 feet above the ground with a flushing toilet.
- Stayed by the ocean in a hotel made out of giant redwoods.
- Drove the coast and took mini hikes.
- Went bowling.
- Went to local parks.
- Went to an aquarium.
- Relaxed around the hotel (a lot of people forget to do this on vacation, make sure you get in some "veg out" time).
- Stayed on a small island right outside Everglades National Park.
- Went on a bunch of easy hikes on boardwalks.
- Saw 99 alligators, 10 manatees, 3 crocodiles, and countless other wildlife in their natural habitats.
- Drove to the tip of Key West.
- Stayed on a smaller key island, went paddle-boating, and did short little side trips.
- Went to the beach of course!
- Relaxed around the hotel.
- Stayed in a secluded cabin north of Anchorage.
- Saw the tallest mountain in North America.
- Small hikes.
- Saw a moose.
- Went on a cruise.
- Slipped in a trip to Vancouver Island in Canada.
- Did some canoeing, paddle-boating, swimming in a lake.
- And of course relaxed in a cabin, a cruise cabin, and a hotel.
- Stayed in a cheap hotel (we are talking 3 stars for 19 bucks a night)
- Shopping at outlet malls and cool bookstores.
- Boat rides.
- Cheap movies.
Here are my favorite budget travel websites:
www.priceline.com (name your own price)