Too Broke to Travel? – Group Travel And Travel Clubs

Enjoy the last post in my ‘Too Broke To Travel’ series.

While traveling alone has its benefits, a travel buddy or group can help reduce traveling costs, provide trip planning assistance, and have you making new friends on a vacation you could not have created on your own.

Saving money. That you want to get the best deal for the most reasonable price aka ‘great trip for cheap’, is no secret. Let’s do some quick math (the following is all hypothetical numbers):

  • 4-night stay at Virgin Islands all-inclusive beach resort – $199/night ($796+, incld. daily resort fees, surcharges, and taxes)
  • Roundtrip flight from Midway International Airport (Chicago, IL) to Cyril E. King Airport (British Virgin Islands) – $345/flight ($690)
  • Airport transportation (to resort) – $50/way ($100)
  • Not included in resort’s all-inclusive food & shopping – $225
  • Cab fare for island traveling (3 round trips) – $150

For one person, traveling alone, this vacation is already upwards of $1,961. While you may not get discounted flights or save anymore on your souvenir shopping, the resort stay, airport transportation, and cab fare can be split.

So let’s add one other person to this trip. And a $1 cab surcharge for an additional person in the cab ($6; $1 per trip). Now the trip is down to around, $1,441 per person.

Lastly, let’s think BIG. Using this example, let’s use 8 travelers in a group. We’ll change the resort stay to a villa rental ($1241/night). Since this group won’t be lodging at an all-inclusive resort, we’ll add $100 to the original $75 food budget and upgrade from cabs to car rental for $237 (with a driver included). Let’s create an activity budget as well ($75). Now this trip costs: $631.25 per person.

Plus, for things like tours, museum trips,  and zoo visits group discounts are available.

Too beautiful (and expensive) to go at alone, eh?

Trip planning assistance. Unless you’re the group’s leader, planning the details of, say, the trip example above will not be your responsibility. You’ll need to go through the travel group’s membership process, either go through the group leader or trip travel agent to book your spot on the trip then make sure you make your trip deposit and subsequent payments. Depending on what group you’re in, you may have activity input. If that is the case in the group you join and you just want to go with the flow that’s been picked out, that option stands, too.

Make new friends.  By joining  a travel club and going on group trips, you’re able to meet and spend time with new people. Whether you’re the introverted or extroverted type, this can be fun. Ideally, your travel club is composed of like-minded/similar life-styled people so you’d be traveling and making friends with people you would under other circumstances, too.

Another thing is security. Would you feel safer traveling abroad alone or with a group? Think about it.

The obvious cons are: when traveling with more than just yourself, you have to coordinate activities with the wants of everyone. Hopefully they’re all activities that you enjoy. The other thing is having to move around on other people’s time. Let’s say you get dressed fast and early for breakfast. Then you have to wait on the other members of your group to finish getting ready. Remember, though, you don’t have to spend all your vacation time with your group. You can branch out and do some sightseeing or side activity alone or with another group member or two.

Now, you just need to put together a group for a vacation or join mineClick here for more information on The Mobile Mamas Crew and our 2014 Moms Only Caribbean Cruise.

Too Broke To Travel? – Food!

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.

Save on food while vacationing

Save on food while vacationing

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

Let’s start with food in the airport going to your vacation.

When I go into one of those airport versions of a convenience store to buy a few snacks for a plane trip, I balk. $5.00 for a quarter-full bag of Welch’s fruit snacks? Are you kidding me?!

The economic thing to do is go to your local grocery store where the prices are reasonable. I mean, c’mon.

I did get my kid breakfast at McDonald’s our last trip. I did not feel an ounce of bad as she rarely eats fast food, our flight was too early to make her breakfast at home before we left, and it was cheap. McDonald’s oatmeal and milk isn’t going to kill my toddler.

Before embarking on a road trip, a local grocery store run is, again, economical. Getting snacks from every rest stop on your way isn’t.

In fact, before embarking by train, plane, or automobile, hit up your grocery store – use those coupons or savings cards – for snacks for your trip to your destination.

When you get there…

I recommend eating locally when you get to your destination. Eating at a place nearby reduces travel costs whether it be cab fare or gas in your car/rental. As an aside bonus, if you’re interested in the culture of your surroundings, you’ll be eating like the locals . If you’re interested and extroverted, you can mingle with the locals and get some information about how they live and what there is to do at this place you’ve traveled too.

Eat at a chain, if you can. Our last trip, we dined at a Chili’s one night. The wonder of chain eateries is the familiarity of the menu no matter where you go and the price range which, in general, is the same no matter where you go. If you’re eating on a budget, it’s helpful to know you can get a burger from a place you have at home for a similar price as you would pay at home.

And if you’ve taken my advice and rented a vacation home versus booking a hotel room, you probably have access to a kitchen. *Cue in the heavenly music and lights* You can get groceries from a local grocery store, stock that fridge for breakfasts and dinners for during your stay, and cook sometimes. Save money.

While you’re at that grocery store, pick up more snacks for while you’re away from your accommodations and don’t want to buy the expensive eats at the venue you’re exploring.

Don’t forget: make ‘food’ a column on your trip budget. All of this will be for nothing if you didn’t have restrictions on how much you were supposed to spend on food from jump.

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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 food. Don’t you like the sound of that? Everything you need to know is here.