Planning a family trip abroad but you don’t know where to start? We recently interviewed Bambina Herbosa, a well-traveled working mother of three, to give us some tips to help you maximize your budget:
“Ideally, the cheapest reason to go abroad is for a family reunion. You would most likely stay at the home of a close relative or friend,” says Bambina. “That will cut down your expenses where board and lodgings are concerned (and perhaps food) but there are a set of rules that you should follow to make your stay pleasant and fruitful.”
Don’t Be a Burden to Your Hosts – Even if they feed you, give your own contributions to the food budget. Also, doing occasional errands for them (shopping trips to the grocery or mall) will not only be appreciated, but will also familiarize you and your kids with life abroad.
If Possible, Try to Borrow A Car – Doing errands for your hosts will be easier if you could use an extra vehicle. This would also prevent your family schedule from hampering theirs.Consider the Age and Temperament of the Host Family – If your hosts like kids or have children close to your own children’s age, then they would be more likely to understand and deal with your own. If there is a large age gap however, it might be better for your family to stay in a motel or hostel.
Build a Good Relationship – If you and your family enjoyed your stay, wouldn’t you want to return? Making sure that you get along with your host ensures another invitation to stay there in the future.
Now, if you’re not staying with family, here are more general guidelines:
Set Limits at the Beginning – For example, you can allow your children to only purchase a maximum of 2 toys during the trip. Make discussions with your kids on what to see, do and buy before you leave for vacation, to filter their expectations and streamline your expenses.
Don’t Over Pack – You will surely be lured into buying stuff abroad. Avoid it or you will end up getting a balikbayan courier. Try to bring wash and wear clothing as many places have washing machines and bring clothes that look okay when wrinkled.
Bring a First Aid Kit - Ask your pediatrician what you need to bring for your children’s health (medicine for diarrhea, flu, allergies, etc.) as it’s usually cheaper than buying drugs there. Also, your kids may be more used to local medicines.
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Motels Aren’t a Bad Thing – Motels are ideal places to take the family to. In the U.S., Days Inn, Holiday Inn and Howard Johnson are ideal because they allow you to cook food in these places, saving you from spending on eating out all the time.
See If You Can Make Ba-on Where You’re Going – Many amusement parks such as Disneyland and Universal Studios allow you to bring ba-on. It will be much cheaper for you to do this as concessionaire markups in amusement parks, museums and zoos are double to triple normal food costs.
Do you have any other family travel tips to help maximize your budget? Tell us all about it!