Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Fun and Frugal Traveling

We just got back from a quick trip to the cities and back (We went down last night and back this afternoon) and so I have traveling on my mind. We take this trip (a 4 1/2 hour drive) fairly often with our four children as well as other jaunts that vary in length. For the most part we do enjoy traveling with them and I thought I would share some of the things that work for us.

Food and Drink For our family this seems to be an essential for any trip. We often seem to be in a hurry (we have a tendency to leave after Ken gets off work and we hope to get there before it is really late.) so we usually eat a meal or so in the van. Also bringing our own stuff saves money. Here are some things that work for us:
  • Everybody has a water bottle. Drinking water is good for you and I don't want to be stuck buying overpriced bottled water should someone get thirsty.
  • Ken drinks Mt. Dew for his caffeine "needs". When I remember I pack this as well (which for him it needs to be on plenty of ice!) which saves us a lot of money as well as time.
  • Snacks seem to keep our family happier while traveling, some of our favorites are: Popcorn (popped in our popper before we go), oranges, apples (I bring a knife to slice it as my kids eat it easier that way and with less waste), bananas, crackers, cheese slices, homemade cookies, mozzarella sticks and carrot sticks.
  • Sandwiches always work pretty well for meals on the road, usually we combine that with some of the snacks listed above for a meal. Other ideas for cold meals are wraps of various kinds and leftover cold pizza ( I love this but not everybody does).
  • Recently since we often leave just before supper time I have been experimenting with bringing hot food along to eat. Some of the ones that have work well for us have been : Tuna or chicken turnovers, pigs in a blanket and then my brainchild for last night: Pizza burgers. Yesterday afternoon I was making bread anyway and I had some browned hamburger in the fridge. I mixed the hamburger with tomato sauce and shredded cheese ( and I meant to add Italian seasonings which would have been good but I forgot it) and then I took a handful of dough and stretched it out and put some filling inside and then sealed it up and then baked it for 20 minutes or so. We ate them with black olives on the side and everybody seemed to enjoy them.

Packing our food has saved us a lot of money over the years. Also I think we end up with healthier food much of the time.

Activities to keep the kids occupied This is also an important part of traveling for us. It would be handy if our kids slept the whole trip but they don't so this is some of the things we do:
  • We pack a bag of books, writing materials and small toys. If it is a really long trip each child has their own bag.
  • An activity we enjoyed this last trip was finding things outside the van that started with each letter of the alphabet in order. You could do this as a competition but we had fun with all of us working together. It is also a good learning activity for younger children. (It can also be quite humorous with young children as they will suggest all sorts of things.)
  • Make up rhymes together. About what you see, your family or just anything. This can be quite funny!
  • I had another whole post on this part earlier so you can visit there for more ideas.

What do you do to travel frugally while having fun? For more Works for me Ideas visit Rocks in my Dryer.


BlessedMama said...

Those pizza burgers look great! Great idea....

Corene said...

Once nice weather arrives (takes a while up here, doesn't it!) we love to find interesting places to stop and eat our road food. Many rest areas have great views, picnic tables, even trails to stretch our legs.

I'm always bummed when we don't have food packed and have to grab fast food that tastes inferior!!

The Frugal Homemaker said...

This has some great ideas for traveling with kids!!! Thanks for a great post.


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