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Travel Memories Keep Their Value Forever

    Planning to take your family on a trip abroad, the big question is, "How much is all this going to cost?" You might worry that a two week vacation abroad will cause a financial meltdown. But it doesn’t have to be that way, and going abroad can be comparable to a car vacation or summers in the U.S.
      First, think how much you typically spend in the summer on your kids. If you take a family vacation in the U.S., a hotel in a metropolitan area costs upwards of $100 - $200 and up a night for four people. Then there are all those meals out. Domestic plane tickets have no discounts for kids over 2. Tickets to DisneyWorld for four days are over $1,000 for two adults, two kids, then there's hotels, food, etc. If you're taking a car trip, how much will gas cost? Start with the budget you might spend in the U.S. and apply that to your trip abroad.
      When you travel abroad, the cost of plane tickets is often a gasp, but it shouldn’t be. The longer the flight, the more free meals and free places to sleep (all be it, rather uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.) Kids under 12 typically pay less than full fare for international travel. Does someone in your family wrack up those frequent flier miles?  Cash in your miles, get those tickets. Or, does someone in your family get a business paid ticket? Use that ticket as a "freebie" and when business is done, join the family travels.
      There are less expensive places to go than Europe. It used to be that Europe was cheap, but now, it’s right up there in the expensive category. In the summer, prices can double for almost everything. There are plenty of fabulous places in the world that have a cheaper standard of living, so your hotel and food bills can be less expensive than the U.S. On this list are countries in Central America and South America, such as Panama, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru. India is amazingly cheap for food and lodging, but plane tickets are a chunk of change.
      Pick a place that you and your kids want to go. Then figure out a way to do it, one that fits your budget and style of travel. We have an open-ended view of travel, where we might end up in basic accommodations one night, and go "palatial" the next. Or in Paris, the kids eat cereal in our hotel room (if breakfast isn't included), sandwiches in the park for lunch, we stop at cafes inbetween, and dine in a good restaurant for dinner.
On the Nile
    But "how can you afford to stay home" is really about time. It’s about how little time there is to discover the joys of traveling with your children. It’s not just for your kids but for you. To leave home is to leave your daily responsibilities in the dust. It’s a rare chance to experience the world-at-large with the excitement that kids bring, and small joys that we adults might miss in our haste to see something "important." When I travel with my kids, I‘m the "fun mother," not the nagging "Is your homework done" mother but the "We’re sailing on the Nile today" mother. It’s my chance to fly kites soaring into the sky over Pushkar, mingled with the sounds rising from hundreds of temples, and I’m delighted I'm on the rooftop too.
      There's no time like the present to start planning your next trip. Travel for Kids has plenty of choices for where to go and fun things to do. Once you've mapped out some ideas of where you'd like to go and what you'd like to see, you can start hunting for the best plane tickets and places to stay. Use our Trip Planner – all the links our staff uses to plan our own trips.
  Elizabeth Young
travel for kids | travel tips | how can you afford to stay home
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