By Valerie Moloney
As the self-designated CEO of the household, I embrace any opportunity to shave money off the family budget. I’ll buy Irish Spring even if passion fruit pomegranate body mousse smells much prettier. I frequent flash sales, and scour the boards for promo codes (because who wants to pay for shipping?).
In my cheapness, which I flaunt, I’ve learned a thing or two about saving money while traveling with tots. Because like the kids, the bank of mommy and daddy needs to be disciplined from time to time.
- Opt for a condo hotel or family suite.
You work 351 days for two glorious weeks of freedom. As tempting as it might be to snuggle with your kindergartener, keep the damn kid away from your bed. Residential style-properties such as Courtyard by Marriott Anaheim at Disneyland Resort separate parents’ quarters from tykes’ with French doors and boast cool bunk beds and a private TV. Genius.
- Book a room with a kitchen.
This from a girl who’s packed juice bags and snacks in the family suitcase (hunger strikes silently, rapidly). Resort communities from Destin, Fla., to Kona, Hawaii cater to groups with condos equipped with kitchens sleeker than your own. Before your vacation, pinpoint the nearest grocer or see if your property has its own on-site pantry to stock up on necessities – like Funions and ice cream.
- Don’t be afraid of public transit – or just walk.
Last Labor Day weekend, a rogue taxi driver unapologetically took me and my girls on a $25 cab ride around Boston. The venue, as we learned from the locals toting their picnic baskets just outside our window, was merely a 10-minute T ride from our hotel. Along the way the charm of Newbury Street: darling boutiques, matchbox restaurants, cobblestone streets, ye olde Beantown that would’ve better been appreciated by foot.
- Love the lazy river.
Why go to a water park when there’s one at your hotel? Beachfront properties in Myrtle Beach and Charleston, S.C. are renowned for their kid-friendly amusements. And nothing tuckers the tots out like a day at the pool.
- Eat a late lunch.
The chances of your belly growling at midnight because you ate fajitas at 4 p.m. instead of 7 p.m. are slim. At the earlier hour, the price is typically a few dollars cheaper, with portions just as plentiful
Valerie Moloney, who publishes the CheapTickets blog, has yet to master the art of stacking coupons.