It is always nice to find savings wherever we can as travellers. By saving here and there we can afford to spend more on some of the things that matter. Here are 10 things not to scrimp on when travelling with your family.
When you come across something you really want to do, don’t be afraid to spend money on it. Camel expeditions into the dessert, cable cars to the tops of mountains, spontaneous day cruises to Greek Islands are just some examples of things that might seem really pricey, but they will also create memories that will last a life time. These types of experiences are why you travel and what you hope to pass on to your kids.
I have tried, owned, resold, and cycled through at least 6(memories are sketchy due to lack of sleep) carriers in the last 22 months. This is one thing you want to get right as it will be used to suspend a lot of weight from your body and you want to be comfortable. If after solid experimentation time, it is not comfortable or not suited to your needs, you might as well get one that works for you. We also own two different strollers, one being a double, both of which serve different purposes. When it comes to strollers, look for ones that are built to last.
I was always the person with the cheapest luggage I could find until recently when I really did discover that just by spending a little bit more, it does make your experience better. I am not talking about $10K designer luggage, but rather picking luggage with robust wheels, proper handles, and reasonable structure. Investing in mid-priced luggage rather than cheap luggage can save you in the long run as it will last a while and endure the rigors of over-zealous baggage handlers.
You will spend a lot of time on your feet. There is no right answer as everyone’s feet are different and you need to find what is right for you, even if it costs a bit of money. Making a purchase of quality footwear will not only allow you to be comfortable but will last longer than cheaper options. Some people will swear by hiking boots and others by trainers. Your choice will vary by what you want to do on your travels and where you are going.
If you are going to be travelling around on a regular basis, a little rain will be inevitable. A “mid-priced” weatherproof rain jacket from a proper outdoor company that start at $150-$200 may seem excessive to some, but when you consider the cost of missing a great travel experience because it is raining a little bit, it is a small price to pay. When layered with a fleece, this also serves as an all-weather jacket for cooler times. If you are new to outdoor gear, I suggest at a minimum looking for a mesh lined jacket with taped seams, an adjustable hood, adjustable cuffs, adjustable waist, and pit zips.
Kids stay free* (in existing beds). This is the one line of fine print that annoys me to no end because it just seems like a hotel being cheap. Travel cots cost them nothing, but it is the industry standard and I prefer to pay if I have to for an appropriate bed for my babies. If you can get a crib or travel cot added on for a few dollars more, everyone sleeping a little better is well worth that little investment.
Quality Guide Book
A guide book is a way of gathering a lot of information in an easy to use format. For $15-20, it is a small price to pay relative to the cost of travel if it helps you discover something you never would have thought of on your own. Rick Steves and Lonely Planet are my personal favourites but YMMV.
Travelling without kids, I never once purchased insurance. Since I started travelling with my kids, I have never travelled without insurance. Even if you have medical coverage, trip cancellation and interruption insurance can be well worth the investment. If there is one thing I have learned from having kids, is that anything can go wrong and it will always be at an inopportune time.
If you have been travelling around on a budget, saving where you can, and generally being thrifty, don’t be afraid to spend a bit to solve problems. If you are a ten minute walk to the nearest metro station and the skies open up with rain on a biblical level, hop in a taxi. If you kids are screaming about being hungry but you are in the expensive district to eat, splurge on a meal. If clothes get stained, head to H&M and pick up a replacement. Money may not always buy happiness, but don’t be afraid to spend and get yourself out of a bit of a bind, and make your day a bit easier.
One cannot consume too much ice cream with children during their life. Even if gelato is 4€ a scoop somewhere, this is not too much to pay sometimes at sunset at the end of a great day.
Wondering how you will fund all this? Check out 10 Ways to Save While Travelling With Kids
Tell us what you splurge on while travelling in the comments below.