Ever dream of extending your family trips to explore more together? We know what you’re thinking: with kids, even short getaways can be ridiculously expensive. And we need so many supplies just to go the park, being away for much longer could be crazy! But did you know the longer a trip lasts, the lower the per-day cost and the less you really need?

Don’t believe it? Read on…  

Create a home base

Kids crave consistency. Give them a place to enjoy breakfast each day by trading houses with friends or finding a spot to rent. With sites like HomeExchange and Airbnb, it’s easier and more affordable than ever to find a home away from home. From there, you'll be able to stick with your usual routine, have the day-to-day supplies you need, and take mini trips to really experience the place.

Save up

When you live in your vacation location like you would at home, your typical expenses should be about the same. Budget for transportation and accommodations, plus emergencies and special splurges. You might start by forgoing family birthday presents and parties and instead, put the money towards your longer trip. You can also try these other trip-saving tips.

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Aim low

If your dreamy destination is within driving distance, take your own car to spend less than you would on a rental with car seats. If you’ll go farther afield, buy flights at the right time and go where the cost of living is lower like a big-city equivalent. For instance, if you've always wanted to live in Barcelona, try Girona with the same magical, Catalan culture sans crowds and high prices.

Work remote

With so much to see and so few vaca days, arrange to work remotely, if possible. It’s best to craft a business case and request a trial period far in advance to prove how much more productive you can be. Then ease into working from home a day or two each week. When you convince the boss it's a brilliant idea, you'll stay engaged without using vacation days.

Enlist help

If you work outside the home and need childcare help, see if a favorite family member or nanny can come with you or do a little research to see what you can line up. Chances are, your kids can attend the same kind of daycares, programs or camps they would at home. If you trade houses with friends, tap into their local network and offer them yours.

Pack less

A few weeks before you leave, journey map your typical day by keeping track of what you do and what you really need. Plan to layer and do laundry so you can pack less and buy essentials, like diapers, upon arrival. Empower kids over two to carry clothes in a packing cube with a backpack of favorites. Remember what to leave behind too!

Live like locals

Instead of action-packed tours, rental cars and high-priced attractions from typical trips, you’ll have the time and flexibility to find all that’s free. From open museum days and outdoor concerts to libraries, parks and farmers markets, you’ll be able to explore a whole new world without spending much. All you'll need is your phone and your family.

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