Most Common Financial Mistakes Parents Make When Travelling with Kids

Travelling is undoubtedly one of the most enriching learning experiences that you can provide your child. Any trip can be costly, though, especially if you don’t know how to manage your expenses well.

Fortunately,  becoming aware of the most common financial mistakes that parents commit when travelling with kids can help you further refine your budget and related financial strategies.

1. Getting the Cheapest Tickets


Finding cheap flights and backpacking across cities, states, and even countries were our thing when we were still single. These practices have allowed us to wander even at a limited budget. However, these travel hacks can turn your trip into a living nightmare if you’re travelling with kids.

Running with your luggage, baby gear, and jetlagged kids in tow just to make a connecting flight is the last thing that you want to do during the wee hours of the morning in a foreign country’s airport. Trust us. We’ve learned this lesson the hard way.

2.  Flying with a Lap Toddler

Just because there are airline companies that offer this arrangement doesn’t mean that you should take it. Unless it’s an absolute emergency and there aren’t any other seats left on the last flight out, we strongly discourage you to carry a squirming toddler on your lap for an extended period of time, least risk a meltdown and two day’s worth of muscle pain.

We understand how frustrated you might feel with our first two tips. After all, most of us who travel on a low budget take pride in how much money we can save on transportation. But at what cost? Paying a little bit more for you and your family’s comfort and convenience is an investment that keeps on giving.

3.  Booking Your Trip without Doing Your Research

travel research

You will be pleased to learn that there are a lot of travel agencies, airline companies, and other related businesses that offer budget-friendly deals and packages for those who are travelling with family (especially those with really young kids). The more members in your family and the younger your children are, the lower your rates are going to be.

Don’t forget to check out the features and amenities of your chosen lodging option before booking as well. Staying in a hotel with a doctor-on-call 24-hour open kitchen will help you save on potential expenses in the future. Plus points if you can find a hotel that offers play areas and parks. This way, you are not going to be forced to go out and go strolling (and spending) every single day just to keep your kids busy.

4.  Not Bringing the Car Seat Along

We know it’s bulky and inconvenient to lug around, but here are three reasons that might convince you that bringing your own car seat is a good idea:

●     Car rental companies usually offer a premium price for an extra car seat.

●     There’s no way to learn whether your rented car seat was properly cleaned and disinfected or not. Nothing ruins a trip’s fun (and budget) faster than a sick child.

●     Finally, there is also no way to guarantee the actual condition of a rented car seat. This can significantly put your child’s safety at risk.

5.  Planning Activities without Prior Research and Consultation

Travelling with children

Are you planning a range of activities that your family can experience on your next trip? Then be prepared to do your research. It’s not enough to simply take note of the age restrictions of your intended experiences. There are a lot of activities with height and weight requirements as well.

You also need to make sure whether your kids are actually game for these activities or not. This way, you’ll only be investing in experiences that your family would genuinely enjoy.

Here’s a bonus tip: Resist the temptation of packing your days with as many activities as you can. Chances are, you won’t be able to do all of them anyway. After all, you will still need to account for nap times, meals, and rest periods. Otherwise, you will be risking overfatigue and weaker immunity.

6.  Not Stocking on Essentials While Overstocking on Non-essentials

The younger your children are, the more clothes you will need to bring. Toddlers, for instance, require multiple changes of clothes in a day. Don’t forget to bring enough diapers, prescription medicine, and other absolute essentials as well.

It can be tempting to think that you can always buy diapers at your destination, but are you sure that they will have your child’s favourite brand? There are also medications that are not easily accessible in certain countries.

On the other hand, don’t go overboard on non-essentials. You would probably need to reserve some space in your luggage for souvenirs anyway.

7.  Bring Your Own Entertainment

Finally, we can’t count how many times we have been forced to spend on things like toys, snacks, and even internet connection just to keep our kids amused and well-behaved during long flights, bus rides, and waiting lines.

It wouldn’t cost you anything to download your young one’s favourite movies in advance. You can also consider bringing books, activity sheets, and portable art materials. Pack these items in a bag that your little one can carry himself.

If you must bring toys with you, then we highly recommend bringing something that won’t be too missed if it gets lost or damaged during the trip.

For snacks, choose food and drinks that are easy and won’t be messy to munch on even during a bumpy car ride.

Finally, don’t forget to pack disposable bags as well in case of motion sickness.

Final Thoughts

travel with children

We have mentioned how educational travelling is for kids, but have you considered how potentially enlightening it is for you as well? There is always a profound joy in exploring new places through the eyes of a little one. It allows you to see and appreciate things that you probably wouldn’t even notice if you were there on your own or if you’re with other adults.

We just hope that this article will help you make your family trips more enjoyable, convenient, and budget-friendly. Safe travels!

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