Travelling On A Budget With Kids

Travelling On A BudgetLast Summer we packed our backpacks and went on an adventure with the two smaller boys (the teen elected to stay behind). Travelling on a budget with kids is actually easier than you would think, providing you stick to some of our tried and tested tips!

Research, research, research.

Use Trip Advisor, online chat forums, and/or ask friends and families to see what they would recommend. However, I’m sticking a caveat in here! Be wary of some online reviews. We visited a number of places that had been recommended by bloggers while on our travels. It became clear to us that the reviews may have been influenced by sponsored visits outside of peak times, and seen through rose-tinted glasses. I’ll return to this again over the next few weeks. As a blogger myself, I’m kicking myself for not taking their reviews with a pinch of salt.

Pack Light.

I mean seriously light. We travelled for 2 weeks with hand luggage only. It meant that we didn’t have heavy bags to lug around, also meaning we couldn’t pack our bags with expensive souvenirs either. This will also save you on luggage charges, and waiting around carousels in airports. Between 2 adults and 2 small children we managed a combination of 2 small backpacks and 3 cabin cases. We didn’t take the buggy. It’s surprising how able a 3-year-old is to walk when they have no alternative. Yes he did get carried every now and again but we kind of liked the cuddles.

Book In Advance To Get Discounts

Certain parts of our trip had been booked over 18 months in advance. We were able to get up to 50% discounts on our tickets. This kept the costs way down. Also, as we had started to plan so far ahead of our journey we were able to add items into our trip as we saved money. We never had to pay a lump sum. We also bought public transport tickets online and had them ready to collect when we got to our destinations.

Travel Off Peak

I’m sure you probably know this by now. Travelling on a Tuesday afternoon is probably the cheapest you’ll get flights out of Dublin Airport to European destinations, but business locations are very cheap on weekend days like Saturday and Sunday.

Use Public Transport

Where possible of course. We travelled through 2 major cities entirely by using the public system. The kids loved the adventure. They were mad about the variety of different options there were in both places. We loved keeping the cost down.

Budget Hotels Are Great With Families

This is the surprising thing. When researching our trip we considered B&B’s, hostels, hotels, and even camping. The best value were budget hotels. The biggest surprises were how luxurious the budget hotels actually were, and how accommodating they were to families with children. We kind of thought they’d be a bit grimy and noisy but honestly they were fantastic. There is one hotel chain which nails it in this regard and I’ll chat about that in a future post!

Give Your Kids The Mushroom Treatment*

No expectations = low expectations. We told the kids we would have 2 weeks to spend together. Every day was an adventure. There was no pressure to do anything, or go anywhere, apart from pre-booked tickets.

Where Did You Go Then?

First stop, London. More in my next travel review post next Friday: Seeing London For The First Time Through The Eyes Of A Child


Due to annual leave restrictions on my husband we had to travel in August, which is peak time for most locations we visited. All opinions are my own, and (where appropriate) those of my family. We received no complimentary passes or special treatment from any destination (in fact none of them knew I was visiting or intended to review), and I paid for the trip myself. Look, what I’m trying to say is that this series of travel posts will be pretty much as unbiased as you’re going to get.

*The Mushroom Treatment = keep them in the dark. That’s how you grow mushrooms!

I'm an Irish mother to 2 boys, born & bred in Dublin, Ireland. I like to cook simple & fresh food for the family, with the family on a budget.


  • Steph

    Great post. How long in advance did you start planning and booking and what type of budget would you need ? Would love to bring our 3 kids abroad next year but would need a lot of planning and budgeting to come up with the finances ! Looking forward to reading your posts on this.

    • Caitriona Redmond

      Hi Steph, we started planning about 2 years before we travelled. As we saved money we increased our budget bit by bit. Our basic budget covered simply air travel to the country, local travel, accommodation, and food as we planned to visit as many free attractions as possible. It depends on the destination though!

  • Steph

    Thanks a million for the reply. Looking forward to reading more on your travels with your next posts. I’d better buckle down to the saving ! Always seems to be something that comes up and hard to keep the motivation up sometimes !!!

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