If you've been here a day you know we live in Alaska. As much as I complain about the rain or the never ending winters or 24 hour sunlight the biggest downside of living in Alaska is that we are so far away from friends and family and that it is so expensive to go visit. For us trips like this are funded by tax refunds and PFD money which also needs to cover other things so we spread it thin. So here it is, how we travel on the cheap:
|Google Maps pic of our road trip|
The internet and Google are your friend. You can compare, route maps, and plan endlessly through the web. You can even to it all at once! Utilize this precious FREE tool to make the most of your trip, find discounts, and make reservations. As you can see above, we are going on quite a road trip.
We buy all of our snacks in bulk and then separate them out into snack baggies. It's cheaper to buy in bulk at a store where we know that we will get the best deal instead of just winging it.
Bring Stuff To Do
I've heard of people raiding the $1 isle to find new stuff on the cheap to keep their kids entertained on the ride. Quite frankly, I don't have money to spend on novelty toys, I have to spend that money on food and gas. Instead I search the house. My kids are still young enough that a cardboard box is more entertaining half of the time any way.
Somethings I have found are:
- Aquadoodle (paper and crayons would work)
The one thing that we consider invaluable entertainment is the kid's portable dvd player. Although it was by no means free or cheap it is such a versatile thing that I justified buying it a few years ago when I was flying pregnant, with an almost 2 year old and 5+ layovers. It lasts, it will grow with my kids, it can be used anywhere and I can use it too!
Seeing It Is Just As Important As Having It
And being able to use it too. I bought a few yards of fabric my mom helped me make over the seat pockets and lap desks like the one above with some foam she happened to have. Even though we were able to make ours I would consider these a worth while purchase. Once you are done with them on the road trip they could be used everyday, they will last a long time, and if you can't see/find what you brought how are you or your kids going to use it? Since we made ours with just foam we can roll it up to fit in our bags on the flights. We also made our over the seat pockets so that, with a little modification, they can go on the handles of the stroller too.
Plan being the key word there. Smaller cars cost less to rent, because of that I can't bring my Graco double stroller with all the bells and whistles. Instead we will be bringing cheap Costco umbrella strollers that fold down super compact.
More/bigger luggage costs more to fly. We plan on each bringing one large backpack, the kind that you find in the hiking section, as our over head luggage, a smaller duffle that will go under the seat and because of the baby we get to have a diaper bag too. This means we don't have any $25 checked baggage.
We thought about the things that go in them too. The snacks are broken down for more fluid and versatile packing. They can be separated so everyone has some of everything.
The toys are small and compact.
The clothes are minimal, since we are staying with family we can wash as we go. For the girls everything is one piece, sundresses, jumpers, etc. For us it's all light fabrics and shorts/skirts. No jeans and flannel people!
Get A Kid To Watch Your Stuff
Teenagers are much more affordable than a dog kennel or a house sitter. Make sure you find one that is responsible and has experience.
Hmm.... I am sure there is more but I've got packing/ cleaning to do!!! Hopefully there will be time for one more post before we leave!
I would LOVE for you to (Read: please, please, please) share your time/money saving tips for road trips and keeping kids occupied!