Who says you need a lot of money to travel? To have adventure and experience nature's beauty? One of our family goals is to experience natural beauty and adventure and to encourage other families to do the same. But a real barrier for people is the cost of accommodations and simply getting from point A to B with children. After all, you need a van with a monthly payment when you have kids. Don't you?? (Please forgive my sarcasm I just get very tired of the pervasive and destructive North American belief that a small to mid-sized family requires a large vehicle with a large trunk, large gas tank and large price tag.) Cost is a real concern so let me share something with you; our family took 5 separate trips this past summer with a budget of $500 ($100/trip). I don't like to talk hard cash very often because people squirm at the mention of money and what's cheap to some is expensive for others and I don't like the comparison game. But as far as our family is concerned 3-4 nights away from home in a beautiful place for 100 bucks total for 5 people is a good deal.
Trips we took:
- North Conway, NH
- Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, Canada
- Pinkham Notch State Park, NH
- Gentian Pond on the Appalachian Trail, NH
- Common Ground Country Fair, Unity, ME
How we did this:
- We own a tent, the best investment we have ever made in traveling light. We can take our accommodation with us anywhere: campgrounds, farmer's fields or into the backcountry. I wrote a whole post on the subject of tent travel at ADVENTUREinPROGRESS. If you want to travel on the cheap with children you really should consider tenting. Our biggest summer travel expenses are the site fees for campgrounds which average $20/night. Still cheaper than any other option. If you avoid campgrounds and are willing to set up camp in the National Forests with no services you can go places for free.
- We pack all our food at home ahead of time, and it's paid for out of the monthly grocery budget. Lots of work - yes, but well worth the investment of time (easy for me to say since Damien does most of this work).
- We save gas money each month for trips. We have a set amount of money we spend on gas each week. Our budget is a little higher than the actual cost so every month we are able to save some gas money for trips.