Travel Hacks for Parents!

As you may recall, we just went on a family vacation in August and while we were on the trip, I had a few moments of “Hey, maybe I’m not so bad at this family vacation stuff after all!” I wanted to share some tips/tricks/hacks that I use to save time and money!

Here I am with all of our water bottles after a quick run into a gas station to fill them up! Yes, you CAN do this! Most Kwik Stars have the water option with the fountain pop. We happened to be at a Casey’s and they did not have water with the fountain pop but I got ice and filled them up at the drinking fountain! Another option is to get a BIG BUDDY at Kwik Star and just get water – it’s FREE! We try to drink a ton of water and less pop on the road and these two hacks make things much easier.

Something else to consider is getting a hotel or air BNB with laundry and actually using it! You can pack so much less and you don’t come home with a huge pile of laundry to fold and put away! Here I started a load at our Air BNB and used my favorite bag ever as a dirty laundry basket!

Souvenirs can be SO expensive but I hit the jackpot when we accidentally visited a thrift store after breakfast one morning. They had two light sabers! For $2, the boys each got their souvenir to remember our family vacation by! Granted, I’ve had to take these away from them and they’ve had to earn them back about a dozen times BUT they really like them and if you tell them it’s a special treat, it becomes a special treat. I highly recommend using a thrift store as a souvenir shop.

This piece of advice I came across by accident. I was packing a basket of snacks and other goodies when I happened to throw in a can of spaghetti-os that I found in the back of the cupboard. They came in handy when we got back LATE on our first night, we were all exhausted and the boys needed to get to bed ASAP. While Craig got them through the shower, I warmed up a can of spaghetti-os and gave them some applesauce. Craig and I then got to have a little date night after the boys went to bed, we ordered in take out and got to eat together out on the patio of our Air BNB. It saved us about $20-$30 of ordering food for the boys and more than that, it was QUICK and easy. I’ll always be packing a can of spaghetti-os on vacation from now on.

And lastly, do some research on parks in the area where you’ll be staying or on the route. Parks are free and it provides excellent entertainment to wear them out on long car rides or after a long day in the car before bed. We had several mapped out in Minneapolis before we decided to drive straight through to Brainerd. They had some pretty unique parks, I hope we will visit them on another trip.

That’s all I’ve got folks! Thanks for reading!

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  1. August 24, 2022 / 9:14 pm

    We used to travel from British Columbia to California every summer and we were on a tight budget. I would start gathering items for the trip months before to save money. I had a bag of snack items that didn’t make a mess in the back seat – things like dried fruit, fruit leathers.. nothing in a package that could spill. Also, only beverage was water and I would send them to fill their bottles up in the washroom as it was long before water was a drink of choice. I did it because spilled water is nothing to worry about or clean up. I had made these things that hung on the back of the front seats, like an over the door shoe holder, that had treats and simple games in there and would refill every evening after we finished traveling. In those days it was books on tape so a new book every day. My kids loved car games… tic, tac, toe, and I found magnetized ones so the bits wouldn’t get lost. Loved your laundry idea and staying in a B&B. The canned dinner was the best idea ever! Well done.

  2. August 28, 2022 / 10:33 pm

    When we almost get to our destination, we pull over to a gas station. We fill the gas tank. Everyone uses the bathroom. We clean out the trash in the car.. Then we drive the last 5 minutes and are ready to greet family or check in.
    When it is time for the next leg of the trip, the car is all ready to go.
    On the return home, we do this too, using a gas station with a car wash.

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