When you have young kids, travel can be both inconvenient and expensive. Not only do you have to lug car seats and diaper bags all over the place, but you also have to learn to live with higher travel expenses overall.

Obviously, this should be expected. After all, little bodies take up space on airplanes and often require pricey snacks and their own tickets to attractions.

It almost makes you want to just stay home, doesn’t it?

How to Travel with Kids On a Budget

Fortunately, you don’t have to stay home and look at beach photos while drowning your sorrows with the world’s biggest Mai Tai. You just have to learn how to travel with kids on a budget without going crazy – and without sucking every ounce of fun out of your vacation. Here’s how:

Pack Your Own Snacks

Traveling with kids is always going to be more expensive than traveling without them because kids are constantly asking for drinks and snacks. A few milk cartons and cheese sticks add up throughout the course of a week, and before you know it, you can easily be out a few hundred bucks.

That’s why it is always best to pack some of your own drinks and snacks to bring along on your travels. I like to stick to foods that aren’t too messy – things like graham crackers, for example. I also tend to stay away from snack foods that melt or end up all over my children’s adorable faces. Pack a few bottles of water and you’re ready to go.

Look Into All-Inclusive Resorts

If you are worried about the food budget, you can always see if your destination of choice offers all-inclusive resorts. If you can score a good deal, you can often pay one low price for a hotel stay that includes all of your meals and drinks in the basic room fare. Even better, alcohol is usually included too. {Disclaimer: The alcohol is for you, not your kids}

Most all-inclusive resorts are based outside of the United States in Mexico and the Caribbean. This means you will have to fly there, but the value could still be huge if you get a good deal. I tend to find the best all-inclusive deals in Mexico, but the Dominican Republic and Jamaica also have their share of bargains for family travel.

Be Flexible and Shop Around for Deals

The best way to spend more than you plan on vacation is to be completely inflexible about your resort, destination, and travel dates. On the flip side, you can save a lot more cash if you’re willing to consider a ton of really cool options.

I always check Groupon Getaways for all of the latest greatest deals, in addition to Expedia.com for general price comparisons. Westgate Resorts Vacation Packages can also provide a good value since they usually offer packages that include not only lodging, but park tickets as well. And don’t forget to see what kind of deals you can get with credit card rewards! Just check out these benefits of the Chase Sapphire Preferred card!

Settle For Second Best

I find it uber-annoying when people complain about the cost of Disney World.  You know you don’t have to go there, don’t you? Every time I price out a trip to Disney, I completely freak. Even though I can basically get our flights and hotel stays free with credit card rewards, the cost to walk through that pearly gate is basically $100 per person, per day!

If you’re on the fence about Disney, you should just got to Six Flags instead. Or King’s Island. Or Cedar Point. Whatever. Hit up your local theme park and tell your kids it’s just as good as Disney, if not better. You’ll probably save a ton of cash and you can even avoid airfare altogether if you have a theme park within driving distance.

If you have young kids, travel probably feels out of the question. However, vacationing with family doesn’t have to break the bank. The fact is, there are plenty of ways to save if you are creative with your planning and willing to compromise. You’ll still have to change diapers once you get there, but at least you’ll save along the way.

How you save on family travel? What are your best tips?

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