We wouldn’t be able to travel like we do with three kids if we didn’t stick to a budget! We planned to put all these in one email, but we have far too much to share and would be doing you a huge disservice by not sharing the details. Stay tuned as well build our Guide To Traveling On A Budget With Kids!
Often times, budget is more than just what you see. When searching for a place to stay, the initial price is not always the final cost and that can be a huge budget buster. These are all things we take into account when planning where to stay and keeping it in the right price range.
All internet is not created equal. Free internet doesn’t mean you will be able to accomplish anything and no internet definitely means you’ll have to travel and potentially spend money to get online. Maybe a fast food restaurant is an option, but keep in mind that you will need to buy a drink or snack to use it and that’s additional spending.
This may sound silly, but with 5 people we wash a lot of clothes. I don’t want to have to continuously run to the laundry mat and spend my time or money there. Plus if someone gets sick or we need something washed immediately it’s great to have the services on hand.
Using your phone as a hot spot is a possibility, but without good signal, you don’t have that option. If you are using Facebook, Instagram, or e-mail for work or just keep in touch with friends and family this can be a hue issue. Do you want to have to leave every time you want to make a call?
Proximity to Attractions
Calculate your transportation costs to attractions. Proximity matters and so do transportation options. If a hotel right near the area you want to explore is $20 more a night, but a cab, bus, or ferry is $50 for your family and you plan to go daily, the more expensive hotel makes more sense because it’s actually cheaper.
Playground, Pool or other kids activity
We try to have something for the kids to do outside of the RV that is free. An outing may be much shorter than we planned, weather may change, or we may just cut something due to budget. Having a back up “adventure” in your pocket is key to happy kids and sane parents. Often, you can get these “extras” for the same rate as others.
Pet & kid friendly WITHOUT fees
Advertised prices are ALWAYS the lowest possible. Typically they are for single or double occupancy and no pets. Many places include pets or children under a certain age for free, but many don’t. I can’t tell you have many times I called the cheapest place that made my final cut to learn that they charged for kids and pets and were no where close to the cheapest. I’ve seen rates from $2-10 PER CHILD OR PET in addition to the normal fee. We have two dogs and 3 kids. $50 more for a nightly, weekly, or monthly rate adds up.
Bonus Tip: Check for dog parks too. Fenced areas where the pups can run definitely move parks up our list!
Availability of weekly and monthly rates & member discounts
On the subject of rates… Do they offer a discounted weekly rate? You don’t know if you don’t ask. There are often price breaks at the week and month marks. ASK FOR THEM! You can double dip and usually get an additional 10% off those weekly and monthly rates if you have Good Sam, AAA, Military, Escapee, Passport America, or KOA (at KOA parks only) so ask if they have additional discounts.