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Save When Traveling with Kids
Experts say that travel can make kids more confident and open-minded, and open them up to the wonders of the world. It also can be a massive pain in the neck. But Budget Travel offers some tips for making it easier – and less expensive -- to travel with your children or grandchildren:
Be safe. If you are going to be around water, including pools, bring life jackets. If you have toddlers, bring outlet plugs and other safety aids. Have a chat with older children about not opening the door unless they know who is outside. And don’t leave kids alone in the room, even with a monitor.
Don’t be afraid to ask. The folks who run hotels and other lodgings are well aware that there are lots of places for you to spend your money. So if you want something, ask. A surprising number of places can provide not just the obvious, like a crib, but also things like stuffed animals, videos and games, or even a bathtub ducky. So ask – the worst that could happen is that they might say no.
Get what you need in a reservation. Ask for a crib or rollaway when you reserve your room. Check to see if there is a room with a large bathroom or closet, where you might be able to put a crib. If you need a refrigerator, let them know from the start. Waiting until check-in can leave you sorely disappointed.
Consider loyalty programs. If you tend to stay at the same hotel chain, join its loyalty program. You often can get discounts, room upgrades and other perks. Similarly, if you are a member of AAA or AARP, you often can get a discount when you book your room, so be sure to ask when you make your reservation.
Check for free food. Many hotels offer complimentary breakfast, and some offer other free food, ranging from taco bars to cookies. These can be game-changers when you have hungry kids!
Plan to do laundry. Yes, it’s a chore. But it can let you pack light and perhaps avoid an extra suitcase fee. And it can be crucial with kids, expecially if they get carsick or have an accident. Many motels have laundry facilities on-site or nearby.
Understand what you are getting. You don’t want any surprises when you check out, so make sure you understand all the fees you will be paying – including extra beds, parking, etc. And for goodness’ sake, keep the kids out of the mini-fridge!
Relax. Take some time for yourselves. If you have a terrace, for example, sit out with a glass of wine when the kids are in bed or watching a movie. Remember – it’s your vacation, too.