Too Broke To Travel? – Vacation Transportation

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Taxi Cab

Instead of cramming my ways to save for and on vacation into one super-post, I’m writing them in a series, ‘Too Broke To Travel?‘.

Let’s face it, mama. You don’t plan trips or actually take them because you’re worried you won’t be able to afford it. Of all the reasons, us single moms don’t travel, the one reason that stands high above them all is, money.

Money. Even those of us with healthy salaries wish we had more. After all, we’re still using one income to supplement an entire household. And, it’s hard. Whether you have one kid or five, it’s hard.

A lot of us have become pro budgeters, seemingly doing magic tricks with our paychecks.

In every aspect of a vacation, money is a question, a comment, and a decision-maker.

Today, let’s talk about: vacation transportation and how you can afford it.

This includes transportation to the airport or destination, from the airport or destination, and while you’re vacationing.

For my trip to Florida last month, my daughter and I took public transportation to the Chicago Midway Airport. It was seamless. We’re lucky to live in a big city that makes this possible and I’m lucky my job pays for a transit card so I can go anywhere on public transit for free.

Let’s just say I learned my lesson when I took a livery cab from my apartment to the airport for a trip to Virginia. That fare was so high, I almost didn’t want to pay the driver. Never again!

Always find out if there’s shuttle service from the airport to your accommodations. Sometimes, if there is, it’s free. Hooray for free!

If there isn’t, and you have to take a cab, find out, in advance, how much that fare would be. In fact, if a cab will be your source of transportation on your vacation, find out how much your cab itinerary will cost.

Don’t YOLO, your trip. Create an itinerary. Find out what there is to do where you’re going and create a schedule. Then find out how much it will cost to get from one place to another. I suggest using Google Maps to find out how many miles places are from each other and what’s in surrounding areas so you’re not going to far out of your way for food and activities.

Do the same if you’re renting car and find out the gas prices for the place you’ll be in.

Transportation needs to be a category on your trip budget. Don’t be afraid to travel because you believe expenses are out of your league. Do research. Take my advice.

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It’s always nice to know what your expenses are and exactly how much your entire vacation will cost before traveling.

Join me on the Mobile Mamas Crew Summer Cruise for 2014. With the help of a certified travel agent, I’ve coordinated a trip that is affordable, luxurious, and fun! Every aspect of this trip will be taken care of – including transportation. Don’t you like the sound of that? Everything you need to know is here.

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I Need A Vacation!!

Me. Time.

Me. Time.

In the mix of taking the kids to school or daycare, trying to make it to work on time, dealing with co-workers and bosses, getting off work in enough time to get decent hours AND pick the kids up on time, looking forward to getting home only so your offspring can bombard you with requests for food, water, and the last strands of your tired sanity and finally falling into bed with un-run errands, grocery lists, bills that need to be paid, bills that definitely won’t be, tomorrow night’s dinner, the field trip slip your baby almost didn’t get you, math problems your 2nd grader took 2 hours to finish, love, life, money, EVERYTHING on your exhausted mind – you utter to yourself, the secret self that doesn’t feel so guilty about not doing more, ‘I need a vacation‘.

Familiar scenario? Good, it’s not just me.

For single parents carrying most, if not all, the duties of parenthood and being responsible for most, if not all, the nourishment and nurturing of our children, we have the most guilt for not doing more. Why is that?

We’re the least likely to take a vacation. The most likely to over-extend ourselves for the betterment of our children or just for their satisfaction, however temporary. Why is that?

You’re running on fumes, find some me-time.

I suggest, finding time to do at least one of the things you love (mine is reading urban fiction) and/or indulging in a guilty pleasure when you have a little time to yourself (mine is chocolate and wine – any wine).

Combine all the points in this article:

Rent A Condo, Instead

vacation-house-vs-hotel-room

I’ve stumbled upon FlipKey.com – a TravelAdvisor site – where you can find home rentals for your next vacation. It’s changed the way I think of vacation accommodations.

If you’ve ever looked at a hotel’s mini fridge and gotten annoyed, A) because there’s no room for groceries and B) everything in there is monstrously over-priced, consider renting a vacation home next time.

If you’ve ever been glad to be away from home but desired homey accommodations (hotels can be so commercial sometimes), you’d be good to consider renting a place versus staying at a hotel on your next trip.

Did I mention that renting a home for vacation is cheaper than some hotel or resort stays but may include some of the same perks like housekeeping, cable, and a pool?

I’m not swearing off hotels or resorts, they’re awesome in their own right, but vacationing in a Puerto Rico penthouse is awesome in it’s own right!

The Mobile Mamas Crew wants to know: 

Plan for Your Last-Minute Getaway

 

Your kids are going back to school soon.NemoYOLO

Fall is around the corner.

Maybe you just feel all YOLO*.

Whatever the reason, you may be interested in a last-minute getaway. The incredible prices, seen on sites like Groupon Getaways, are enough to have you whipping out your debit card, accessing some rainy day funds, and booking your trip before you change your mind.

I don’t YOLO…with my money. I like plans – things that are planned out. I say, if you see some awesome deal for a 2-night stay at a spa in Bodega, CA and think to yourself, ‘I have to go on this trip, the kids will be back to school in a few weeks‘, plan.

Is that rainy day money for your last-minute getaways? If not, make up such a fund. Maybe call it the YOLO Fund. That way, when you get back from your eleventh hour trip, you don’t have regrets that lasts past minutes and haunts you far into Winter.

 

*YOLO – You Only Live Once

My 5 Favorite Apps I Use for Traveling

apps multicolor symbolWe live in a digital world. I am an app-tastic girl. I can’t leave my house without my phone let alone travel without it.

Here are 5 of my favorite apps I use when traveling:

  • Google Maps – get directions  via public transit, walking, and driving
  • GrubHub – see what what eateries deliver in your current area for those days you want delivery in your hotel room
  • TripIt – organize your flight and trip itinerary; have all your plans handy on your phone
  • Travel Advisor – find out more about the place you’ve traveled to; see reviews and photos
  • Instagram – okay, this app may not come to mind when you think of travel but I love how I can take a picture with my phone then share it to several social media sites, instantly!

 

Best of all, they’re all free!

What are your favorite travel apps?

10 Tips for Flying with Babies and Toddlers

Recently, I took a trip with my 3-year-old that included a flight.

I joked for weeks before that I hope the nice flight attendants wouldn’t have to throw us off the plane due to the notable unruliness of my kid. I laughed with family and co-workers but inside, I was like, ‘man I really hope they don’t’.

In Jaunted’s “10 Tips for Flying with Babies and Toddlers”

Traveling Dora-style

Traveling Dora-style

, I exercised about 7 of those 10. Here’s a few they didn’t mention:

Bring your baby’s ‘safety thing’: my daughter finds solace in chewing on this blanket she got as a newborn. Her solace is mine. It saved us from the greater part of in-flight tantrums.

Anticipate the discomfort of their ears popping: I bought sugar-free chewing gum – appropriate for kids with teeth. While Little’s jaws were chewing it took some of the pressure off her ears that popped during landing.

Make every part of boarding and flying a big deal/adventure: if your little one is into Dora like mine, even going through security can be made fun. I even made going to the plane’s bathroom and McDonald’s breakfast (an extremely rare treat) into awesome occurrences.

What Does A Luxury Vacation Look Like To You?

Admittedly, I don’t have any regrets when it comes to having my daughter so young. 3 years later, hard as I’ve found it is, I still feel like everything I want to do, I can do even as someone’s mother.

A lot of the things on my bucket list include my daughter – like traveling. My single mom and I traveled extensively when I was growing up. Some of my fondest memories were created in a different state or country.

That said, there are some things I’d like to do without my daughter – travel. Yep, I want to hop on more planes, trains, or automobiles (if the car ride is under 6 hours) sans toddler. I want to experience luxury without worrying about my little person.

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Dreamy…

I’ve never truly done this. I close my eyes and can’t really conjure what a luxurious vacation would look like adults-only. Then I read this. Sounds like some luxury I want to visit.

Tell MMC (Mobile Mamas Crew), what’s your luxury vacation look like?