For many families, traveling is not only a desire but a necessity for mental health. Getting away from the hustle and bustle to recharge and connect is so important. Traveling is one way to do that!
I was born into a large family, the youngest of five. I had the typical middle-class family vacation experiences. Travel to see family during the holidays, theme parks, a couple of boat trips…nothing super extravagant and I never knew the difference! I learned that it was a big effort to take a family out of town. The planning, saving, scheduling, packing, the actual trip, and then unpacking. My parents made a big effort to provide wonderful childhood memories for me and my siblings.
I traveled a lot in college. I was very privileged and had access to many amazing trips through school, work, and friends working on cruise ships. I even lived in Germany for a short time between undergrad and grad school. I had NO IDEA at the time how truly amazing that was. This was all because of my involvement in the performing arts. Some trips were extravagant, others were low-budget. I loved them all.
When I started dating my now husband, we traveled a bit but because of his business, we only could go maybe once a year for a week. He owned a retail music store so we were stuck there a lot! Then we had kids, four in four years to be exact. So there was absolutely no chance I was going to travel with the little ones in tow. If you do, YOU GO MAMA! I was on the struggle bus with PPA and sometimes couldn’t leave the house. Not to skip over that fact, but that’s for another time.
Skip ahead to now, I along with many other people am experiencing what I learned from Forbes to be “Revenge Travel“. Couple that with being diagnosed with cancer during the pandemic, and going through intense treatments and surgeries (I know, terrible timing) I now am chasing the quest for adventure and to experience life NOW!
The Challenges of Travel Today
However, life is still happening and I can’t just pick up and leave. I own a business, I have four young children (4,6,7,8), and my husband just started a new career. Cancer broke us financially, so we also don’t have a ton of extra money. What we DO have is my desire to learn and figure out how to make things happen (thank you 12 years of being an entrepreneur).
Another challenge is that we are a family of six and most vacations are budget friendly for five people and under. Sure, you can make a choice to scoot under the radar, but we wanted to make sure all six of us could enjoy any benefits hotels have (early admission, extended hours to theme parks, kid’s clubs at an all-inclusive, etc.).
Travel Hack: Credit Card Hacking
So, you may be wondering how I figured out how to travel with a large family. Credit card hacking. Yes, that’s it! Well, it’s not THAT simple, but it is super fun. I first found out about it on Instagram (thank you 11 pm scrolling). I was led to this website and then took a deep dive into the online community. TOP has a great “where to start” blog that is very helpful.
This upcoming year we have so many awesome trips planned. We are paying a fraction of the price for everything- cruises, theme parks, trips to visit family, some with flights, some driving. Some we are paying $0, others we are paying very little. For 100% of them, I am NOT paying retail price. After you open this door, it’s hard to close it.
There is a learning curve to this, it’s not the easiest thing, like learning the Opie Grocery app (so user-friendly). It’s more like figuring out how to order groceries from Harris Teeter after they changed their website and app, IYKYK.
You have to be able to:
- Pay off the CC balance each month so you’re not paying interest.
- Stay organized and keep track of spending- which card to use when, and when to open another account.
- Set aside time to keep learning more as things change.
We utilize our personal and business expenses to collect points, however, there are many people who do not use business cards and still book amazing vacations.
Imagine going to Disney World FOR FREE?! It’s possible!
I recently started an online group where I only share information, no sales, just info. Join us!
Other websites I follow and love:
Do you have any travel hacks we should know about? Let us know in the comments!