Although, the three of us have visited several states together, such as Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Florida, I thought it would be pretty cool to take this year to tour the 50 states. Okay, well maybe not tour, but definitely visit each of the 50 states.
After giving the plan tons of thought, I discussed it with the boys to see if they would be interested. My oldest said it was “impossible” because we have to go to school and work. But, you see, I don’t believe in “impossible”.
Audrey Hepburn said it just right when she said,
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible!”
So, here we are, starting with a fresh slate. Crazy, huh?
Nahh, not really.
After so many roads trips and travel with and without the boys, I’ve learned a thing or two about traveling and budgeting. So, I will continue to implement affordable tips and tricks that will allow us to continue to travel affordably.
Aside from always planning ahead…
We very rarely make purchases in the gift shops with the exception of a postcard or souvenir coin. I mean really; we came for the experience, right? A postcard or coin and photo will serve as the perfect keepsake.
I would much rather rather spend $30 on an activity or admission somewhere than to spend $10 each on random souvenirs that will be lost a week after returning home.
Let me ask you a question.
Would you rather buy (2) hats and a coffee mug for $30 OR would you rather purchase discounted tickets on Groupon for $30 to spend a day at Legoland? – Ummm, we chose Legoland.
Are the boys always happy about not getting souvenirs? No.
But, here is an affordable way to maneuver around costly souvenirs.
In September 2016, we went to Dinosaur World in Cave City, Kentucky as a part of our Fall vacation.
Prior to leaving for vacation, I stopped by Dollar Tree (I’m cheap, but savvy) and purchased (2) Dinosaur Activity Books and a pack of dinosaurs. I kept them in the trunk and they had no knowledge of them.
About 30 miles prior to pulling up to Dinosaur World, I pulled over and gave them the books. I told them to work on the pages and learn some of the dinosaur names so that they could relate to the attraction. Believe it or not, this kept them busy and not screaming, “Are we there yet?”
Once we arrived, I gave them each a dinosaur. I told them that if they could find their dinosaur AND let me take a picture of them with their dinosaur, I WOULD give them $5 to spend however.
Doing this kept them engaged and on the hunt at Dinosaur World and it gave me a way to cap their emotional begging.
But anyway, here’s what happened.
Eventually, my youngest son lost his dinosaur. But, I wasn’t mad. It was a 50 cents dinosaur. No biggie! But, I WOULD have been mad if I bought a $14.95 dinosaur from the gift shop and he lost it.
You see what I mean? This is exactly why we very rarely make souvenir or gift shop purchases.
Once we were done at the park, we exited through the Gift Shop and the boys were able to spend what they had earned ($5 0r $6). My youngest chose not to spend his money and my oldest purchased something for a few dollars and saved the rest of his money for later.
In addition to keeping the expenses down with not purchasing souvenirs, we pack our food and bring a cooler.
Finally, I believe in AAA and their Roadside Assistance Program.
I have been a member of AAA since I started driving at the age of 16. With AAA, we receive so many discounts! From free coffee at Burger King and discounted admission tickets all the way to discounted Amtrak tickets. I love the discounts and it helps keep the costs down.
So there you have it! A few of my budgeting travel tricks that will help us visit each of the 50 states affordably throughout 2017.
We will actually make it to all 50 states? Who knows, but it’s definitely worth a try.
But, before we begin posting our new adventures, go ahead, and check out a few pics below of some of our previous adventures.