Winter family travel ideas

woman looking at the map
Photo by Leah Kelley on

Traveling is fun- who doesn’t love to get away and explore new destinations? While most of us love to travel, we will admit traveling with small children is not always fun. It can be stressful, but with lots of preparedness, it can be enjoyable.

My children are not exactly small any more, and I am certainly not an expert, but I can share a few things I have learned along the way that make travel so much easier.

1. Avoid traveling during peak season…if you can

This one might not be possible for everyone, but you can save a lot of money by visiting tourist destinations during the off season. Things are far less crowded as well. Traveling to the beach in the winter isn’t always the most delightful experience, since you can’t swim in the ocean, but you probably can find a hotel with an indoor pool. Sometimes the littles don’t necessarily care, as long as they can swim in a pool.

2. Always carry water and snacks

Your family will inevitably get hungry and thirsty. Having water and snacks on hand means you don’t have to pay for them, which cuts out a bit of your expense. It also can mean that you’re eating and drinking things that are healthier for you, instead of whatever is available.

3. Eat at least one meal “at home”

Dining out on vacation can be costly, fast! If you have more than one child, you can rack up quite a food bill quickly. We like to aim for a hotel room with a kitchenette, if we can, but sometimes it’s not possible. You usually do have a fridge and microwave, so you can prepare a cup of oatmeal or eat a little yogurt for breakfast. There are other fridge and microwave options as well (fruit, microwave bacon, etc). We have also packed lunches and chosen to eat only dinner out.

4. Rent a house, VRBO, or Air BnB

Sometimes hotels hit you with a lot of hidden or extra fees. You can get a very nice space for your family on Air BnB or VRBO that is often cleaner and more private than your hotel digs….and then you will also have a kitchen to use for point number 3 :).

5. CityPass!

Depending on where you are visiting, you may have the option to purchase a CityPass card. This card can grant you access to some of the popular tourist attractions, as well as help you access discounts and deals. It seems pricy up front, but it’s totally worth the money in the long run. There is also a CityPass app you can download and enjoy.

What are your favorite budget friendly vacation tips? Where are you planning to travel this year?

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