Guest Post: Budget Family Friendly Activities While Traveling with the Boundless Bakers
We are the Boundless Bakers, Jessica, Ross, Finnegan (4), and Hazel (2). We have been traveling fulltime in our RV since November 15th, 2018. We left behind our lives in Heber City, UT to find a simpler life, enjoy more quality time together, and see this beautiful country. Back home, Ross and I worked 90+ hours a week to afford a life we barely had time to enjoy. We were working for the weekend and missing out on precious time with our kids. We rented our home, went from a two to a one income family, renovated our tiny home on wheels, hit the road, and haven’t looked back since! Traveling with toddlers isn’t always easy and can be expensive if you let it. Along the road, we have found ways to keep the kids entertained without spending a fortune. Here are our tips for budget friendly activities to enjoy with your family!
Take a Hike
One of the reasons we chose to live this fulltime travel lifestyle was to spend more time outside with our kids. Immersing yourself in nature is one of the best ways to truly experience a new place. Many times we are drawn to destinations because of their natural beauty and hiking is a wonderful way to surround yourself in that beauty. And, guess what’s even better about hiking? It’s free! Well, most of the time at least.
To find hikes while traveling, we use the AllTrails mobile app. It makes finding hikes that are right for our family a breeze. I have preset filters that will only show me hikes that are under three miles and are considered easy. They also have a kid-friendly tag that helps me in our decision making process. When we get to a new area, I will look for hikes near me, using our filters, then save the ones that look just right for us.
While hiking is generally very budget friendly, there can be areas, such as National Parks, that cost money to access. Look for ways to save money on entrance fees such as passes or memberships. For example, The America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. This $80 pass gives you and your family access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites across the US.
To ensure everyone remains happy hikers while enjoying the great outdoors, make sure you have the right equipment. We bought the kids high quality outerwear and hiking boots so everyone stays warm and comfortable. The majority of their gear was purchased on sale at Backcountry.com, so we don’t feel guilty buying new gear when they outgrow their current stuff!
When not playing outside or when visiting an urban area, museums are top on our list of places to visit while traveling. Museums are not only fun for the entire family, but they are also educational and make for a great home/world/roadschooling field trip!
While museums can get pricey, especially if you are visiting with a large family, there are a number of ways to save a couple of bucks. Many museums will offer free admission a day or two out of each month. When planning your travel itinerary, look ahead at the free museum days in the area to help you decide which day will be spent exploring what. And, even better, sometimes museums are free of charge each and every day. Did you know all of the Smithsonian museums in Washington DC are free?
If you want to visit pricey museums any day of the month, look into memberships and passes. Sometimes multiple museums in a city will offer a pass that allows you to visit them all at a discounted price. For example, The New York Pass. This pass gets you free entry to 100+ of New York City’s top attractions! Another great membership is the ASTC Passport Program. The Passport Program gives you free/discounted admission at more than 300 museums across the US. So if you are even visiting two museums throughout a year, it’s worth it.
Another great way to spend time, get some homeschooling in, and pay little to no money, is checking out a local library. Libraries are not only a great place to sit and read stories with the kids, they usually offer so much more! On days we need a break from sightseeing and excursions, we will check out story time at the library. It’s a fun way to spend an hour, and you get to meet local families. I’ve learned a lot about the area we are visiting from local moms at storytime.
Besides storytime and books, we’ve found libraries will usually have educational toys and activities for kids of all ages. Just playing here is a great way to spend a rainy day without spending a dollar. We even found one library that partnered with a nearby gym and had a free toddler open gym hour. It was such a great way to burn off some energy while the weather kept us indoors!
We love a good park. Parks really do offer something for everyone in the family. Whether you are just looking for a place to relax or what to get some energy out, a park is just the place. And, what’s one of the best reasons to visit a park while traveling? It’s free!
When we get to a new area, we usually do a search for local parks right away. We first look for a good playground, as that is what most interests the kids. We have found some impressive parks during our travels that offer hours of entertainment. Like libraries, the playground is another great place to meet local families.
If we know we’ll be at the park for an extended period of time, we will pack a lunch. A picnic lunch in the park is another great way to save a buck! Our bento boxes and reusable sandwich bags have become a staple in the fulltime travel life. We would choose a picnic lunch over lunch at a restaurant any day of the week. Not only are they better for rambunctious kids, but they’re also much more budget friendly!
Parks can also be home to free events. When in a new area, check to see if there are events such as concerts, movies, markets, etc. taking place in a park near you. A free concert series, such as the Stern Grove Festival in San Francisco, offers entertainment and a chance to sit in the sun while sipping a glass of wine, for no charge!
Keeping the family entertained at a reasonable price while traveling might seem impossible, but it really isn’t! Kid’s are so good at having fun no matter where they are or what they’re doing. Don’t feel like you need to spend an arm and a leg when they are happy just having space to explore and be a kid. So, have fun, stay within your budget, and enjoy your time together as a family while on your next travel adventure!
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