travel with toddler, by car?

This is some serious budget travelling I’m about to embark on here! Long ramble about money ahead…

I have been trying to figure out how I can travel, with my toddler, without breaking the bank… because to be honest, I have never quite caught up with the extra money I spent in California on our last road trip. The flight was paid for by mileage points on my Chase Sapphire… but the rental car for 10 days, plus some extra fees because of some sticky tar that got on the seat (long story), just really got me in the red. Instead of completely paying off the bill, I used my tax rebate to remodel the inside of my house (I know, I know). Then summer came and I wanted to fence in the yard for my daughter, so she could go outside more often and with less supervision. Long story short, the bill, although I’ve been chipping away at it, is still there. And I need to get rid of it before I can plan any more big trips! (Also, will only be spending money I already have next time.)

Besides pick up overtime at work (meaning I’m missing out on time with my daughter, but bills are bills), what is a travel luster to do? I was inspired by The Family Without Borders, who take their young children on low-cost trips around the world by renting their flat, buying a car in their destination country, and living out of it while they travel, reselling it before heading back to their home. Their blog is amazing, and really proves that you don’t need a lot of money to travel, or to raise young kids to be interesting, cultured, and flexible. While I can’t exactly rent out my home (we live in such a rural area, no one will rent it), I do own a car, and have no problem sleeping in it! I figure if people can run around the country camping, we can also camp… minus the tent.

The Family Without Borders turns their car into a tent at night

Click on the image to read all about this family’s experience camping in their car!

Why minus the tent? Obvious reasons (to me)… setting up a tent takes time, keeping the tent in the car takes up a lot of space, and the biggest one for me: you can lock the doors and drive away fast if anything happens! The family above has one male family member, which means they have a little more security. People see one female, or even more than one, and you more easily become a target. It feels a lot safer to have doors that lock, and keys that can drive you away quickly. I don’t intend to just sleep in any old parking lot or street, but in campgrounds (preferably with lots of families).

One issue I may have is with my small car… I hope that folding down the rear seats will give me enough room to semi-stretch out. I’m going to test this out though! Can you imagine a 2.5 week trip without hotel fees? Even in the seediest hotels, two weeks of rooms each night would still cost over $500. My gas will be less than half of that. I also plan to buy food from grocery stores, and budget to eat at restaurants (including fast food) only once per day.

Coming soon: a post about my next big, and very cheap, adventure!

One comment

  1. […] out my latest travel blog entry: Travel With Toddler, By Car and stay tuned for blog posts about our upcoming overnight car trip to St. Louis! And then get […]

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