Eid Al Fitr 2022: how to travel with children on a budget
We are approaching the next long weekend – Eid Al Fitr is expected to fall on May 2 or 3, which means a break of four or five days. Thinking of taking advantage of this moment to spend a short family vacation? Then it’s time to plan, plan, plan.
Traveling with children is both an art and a science. it needs the perfect mix – or as close to the perfect as possible – of excitement, flexibility, and strategy. There may be times of anger, frustration, and budget blast, but there will also be fond memories for a lifetime. Here are some tips that will make your vacation easier and more economical:
1. Choose a travel destination where your money will go further
Every dirham counts, especially if you are traveling with children. Save a little on destination by choosing a location where your bills translate to more petty cash.
2. Book out of season to get great rates
If you and yours are settled in a particular location, consider going out of season – this will mean not only a lack of crowds and more attention from those serving you, but also easier payments on the wallet.
3. Use a comparison site to book your tickets
Once you’ve decided where you want to go, it’s time to do some research. Your best bet for competitive fares is a flight aggregator – some, like SkyScanner, even offer the option to set alerts when ticket prices drop so you can get the best deal. For tips on how to make flying with children easier, click here.
4. Book hotels in advance or at the last minute for the best deals
Try to book months in advance for a bargain. Or, go the opposite direction and look for last minute ones (it’s a bit hit and miss). Either way, hotels will want to fill their rooms ASAP and these scenarios will work in your favor. Also keep in mind that when booking longer stays the costs per night may be cheaper and the site you use – Booking.com, Hotels.com, etc. – can also reward you as a loyal user.
5. Book an apartment or a house
Do you have a picky eater? Are you traveling with many children? Do you wish you could take the comforts of your home and kitchen with you? Check out Airbnb options in the city. There are luxury pads and budget accommodations, houses with pools and great listed views. If you are a sociable group, choose a great host who will be happy to offer tips for getting around the city.
6. Guided tours versus do-it-yourself trips
Tours are best booked in advance when traveling with family, so when you get there your day is already mapped out. However, for some places, such as museums or local markets, it may be best to use Google as a guide.
7. Public transport/Rental car
Along the same lines, research the city’s arterial network — you may find that public transportation is easier — and cheaper — to use intercity. Check passes — daily or weekly — if you opt for public transit. If you’re heading into town, hiring a car to take the long, winding road, driving through the countryside and stopping for a picnic can be less stressful than, say, taking the bus. Weigh the pros and cons before taking a call.
To get the most out of your dirham, don’t stop at the airport cashier – use an ATM when you’re in town to get the best rates.
2. Discover your cashback options
Travel cards and credit cards that offer cash back can really help stretch your budget. Read the terms and conditions and set a limit on your spending so you don’t go overboard.
3. Give the kids a budget for the day
New place, new ways to spend. Teach your kids not only the value of money, but also how to budget by giving them a set amount to spend on souvenirs or treats.
4. Go for experiences, not hardware reminders
While having a small memento of your trip can be a good idea, it’s best to travel light and keep memories in your heart and in photos. Plus, you can use the money you save on a cool adventure of a lifetime.
5. Download an app that tracks your expenses
It’s so easy to get out of script when traveling – one purchase leads to another and another, and soon the budget seems like a distant dream; download a travel app such as TravelSpend or Spent to help you track your expenses and control your cash outflows.
Will you make a lot of calls? Do you need data along the way? Buy a local mobile SIM card at the airport, if available, to make things a little friendlier for your wallet. They are usually loaded with minutes, national and international, and data.
Always ask for a discount, especially if you’re buying more than one item at a time. And when traveling with children, you will be. Also be aware of the land haggling culture, in some places like Egypt you are expected to do this, while in countries like Japan it can be offensive – watch the cultural trends.
Children can be notoriously picky travelers, easily distracted and wild. Whether you’re catching a flight or taking a long drive, make sure you’ve sorted out the entertainment options: preload games and download home movies so there’s no data lag resulting in blank screens and bored children. Also remember to bring a charger and a full battery so you don’t run out of power.
A change in atmospheric pressure can be distressing for a young ear; use rolled up cotton balls to keep the pain away. Or keep chewy treats with you, such as fruit snacks, hard candies, applesauce, or even sippy cups; the sucking motion will relieve them.
Keep small, inexpensive toys from the discount store handy and only give them during the trip – it will amuse and engage them as you get from point A to point B.
4. Car trip? Play a game
If you’re on the road, consider playing on-the-road games such as “how many cars have you seen?” » or « I spy with my little eye » for an edutainment experience for the whole family.
5. Carry snacks in Ziploc bags
It’s the easiest way to save money and keep your sanity in the face of sudden bouts of hunger. You won’t have to buy super expensive things on the fly, and you can keep healthy favorites that the kids – and you – will enjoy.
When you reach your destination
1. Go to a tourist office
You will receive a free map of the city and agents who can tell you about free or cheap places to visit and things to try.
2. Carry snacks and bottled water while on the go
We cannot stress this enough, especially if your child suffers from allergies. This way you will know exactly what you are giving her. If you buy a big bottle of water from a supermarket and pour it into your smaller bottles and carry it around on your day trips, you’ll end up saving a lot of money; restaurants are fond of overcharging.
3. Have only one can of “soda/chips/cookies” a day
This rule for kids is better for their teeth and better for their budget. Give them a treat of their choice and no more.
Local dishes at local places are cheaper – and often more delicious – than eating at a place offered by tourists. Check Trip Advisor or a similar review site to find the best place to grab a bite to eat.
Do you have a parenting tip for traveling with children? Let us know at [email protected]