There's something special about that summer vacation or spring break trip isn't there? Everyone's in a fantastic mood because they've got the week off work (or school), the sun's shining, and seven glorious days of action-packed family fun stretch ahead of you. The only wasp at the picnic is that family vacations aren't cheap, especially if you have one booked abroad, so you’ll need to ensure you know how to keep track of the budget!
While you think gas stations are giving you a good deal, the truth is very different. Public places like airports, hotel lobbies, train kiosks, and gas stations are known for hiking up their prices of popular items including drinks and snacks. The meal deal might seem worth it at first glance, but take another look because the chances are the packages are actually smaller than in regular shops. To avoid any complaining and unnecessary whining when you stop for gas, make sure you pack lots of snacks. Don't just prepare healthy ones, as while apples and peanut butter crackers are great a few potato chips, sweets, and chocolates will stop kids pestering you for anything in the quick stops. Remember-- the more drinks you buy, the more bathroom stops you'll need, so if you're on the way to the airport you might want to limit the juice cartons until you've checked in.
Mischievous kids can be tricky to handle in airports as there's so many places to go, things to look at, and people to talk to who sadly, may not want to chat with your kids. Keep them close at all times as it's very easy to lose a child in a terminal. See if there's a family lounge where the kids can play in peace and quiet until you're ready to board the plane. Don't feel bad about using the free terminal WiFi to watch a few sneaky episodes of 'that-show-you've-been-dying-to-watch'. Keep kids quiet by streaming that MovieBox latest release they wanted to see in the cinema or start a game of virtual Monopoly because there's only so many times they can play Go Fish.
If there's no family lounge it may be worth upgrading into the frequent flyer lounge instead. Why? Free food and drinks are served and passes start at around twenty dollars, so it could work out much cheaper than having to pay a small fortune for a few burgers and fries in an air side airport restaurant.
You might think taking their entire Calico Critters collection, or about ten Game Boy PSP games on a 14-day vacation is a bit excessive, but your children happen to disagree. Avoid packing problems by making clear how many toys and games they can take in advance, as well as distributing items equally between your suitcases and checking the weight limits before you leave home. It may also be worth shopping around for tickets, not only could you pick up a great deal but different airlines don't always have the same baggage allowances. While your kid's stuff might be included in their ticket price with one company, the same might not be said for another!