Eight tips for smarter family travel

Spring break and summer vacation are on the horizon, and many families are planning road trips and family travel over the next several months. With Dream Dinners‘ 16 years of experience helping families spend more time together through assembled meals, they’ve learned a few tricks for making family travel less stressful and less expensive, too.

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Photo Courtesy: vuelio

Consider a vacation rental over a hotel. Having access to an entire home means use of a fully stocked kitchen, the ability to store ingredients for homemade meals, and being able to enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner together around the table more easily – which ultimately means spending less money eating out while on vacation.

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Photo Courtesy: reidsguides

Roll your clothes instead of folding. When you travel, too many items means going over your carry-on limit or overfilling your trunk. One way to minimize the number of suitcases without sacrificing the items you really need is to roll clothes instead of folding them. They take up less space and don’t wrinkle as easily as folded clothes.

Pack your meals with you. Eating out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner means spending most of your travel budget on restaurants instead of family excursions and activities. Consider packing some of your meals with you. Dream Dinners offers a variety of meals each month that are packed in travel-ready pans. Simply pack them frozen in your cooler, store them at your vacation rental and pop them in the oven for a quick, easy, and stress-free family dinner.

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Buy travel-friendly snacks in bulk. It’s easy to overspend on snacks if you’re buying from gas stations each time you stop for a break. Buying snacks in bulk and pre-packaging them in individual portion sizes is a great way to avoid paying premium prices once you’re on the road.

Pack a picnic lunch. For a family of four, it is easy to spend more than $30 even at the most inexpensive drive-through restaurants. Consider packing a picnic lunch instead. This can save money and it allows you to feed your family a healthier option.

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Photo Courtesy: Visit Singapore

Pack a toy per day for each child. To entertain the kids throughout the day, consider a trip to the dollar store to pick up a few new toys for each child. Pack them in individual zip-lock bags with the child’s name and a day of the week on the outside. Opening a new toy each day means the kids will stay entertained and excited throughout your trip.

Pack reusable water bottles. This works for air travel or car travel. Bringing reusable water bottles for the whole family that can be filled at water fountains or restaurants saves money and reduces waste.

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Research fun games to play in the car. It’s fun to go beyond the basics of I Spy and the License Plate Game. Try Road Trip Bingo or Twenty Questions. Both can be enjoyed by the whole family.

“It can be so easy to get caught up in our everyday lives, but family travel can take us out of our routines and help us refocus on what’s most important in life: family,” said Stephanie Allen, co-founder of Dream Dinners. “It’s Dream Dinners’ goal to make family time possible, whether at home or while away on vacation. When families make the effort to create memories and spend more time together, the payoff is priceless.”