Traveling in itself can prove to be quite expensive if the necessary precautions aren’t made. For one, a budget should always be planned and implemented as expenses can proliferate rapidly resulting in you looking t your bank statement thinking ” what just happened?” With that being said traveling with kids ups the stakes and makes it that more challenging. ” I’m Hungry!” , “I’m thirsty!”, “Can we do this activity today?” the list goes on. Needless to say, kids are expensive. But that doesn’t have to deter your from showing them the world and broadening their perspective on life.
I plan to share, in detail, how my fiance and I took our 5 nieces and nephews on a beautiful 4 day trip to the Smokey mountain without exceeding our $1,500.00 budget.
Food- Before the trip we went to Costco and stocked up on juices, fruits, healthy snacks, cereal , milk and whatever else we thought the kids would need and enjoy. We spent $241.43 and we didn’t even eat everything we purchased so next time we will be spending much less.
For the drive to and from North Carolina and whenever else we were in the van we had coolers packed with juices, snacks, lunch meat & cheese, and tuna salad for sandwiches. Being prepared everywhere we went eradicated the need for us to have to purchase food on the road.
Rental Car: $313.77
Lodging- I figured since we were traveling with kids renting a house would be in our benefit as it would be cheaper than a hotel and we could cook dinner, breakfast and pre-pack their lunches. We found a lovely place on airbnb.com near the Nantahala forest in Franklin, NC for $460.00 for 3 days.
Gas – Gas was surprisingly not as expensive as I thought it would be. Driving to and From North Carolina and driving all through North Carolina and returning the car on full as we received it only cost us (6 x 34.00) $204.00.
Activities- Being surrounded by nature made keeping the kids happy, engaged, and entertained effortless.
Day 1: On our first day we stayed at the house and explored the forest surrounding us. They were happy to show us an abandoned tree house they found, see animals in their habitat , run through the fall leaves and start a campfire once the sun had set.
Day 2: We spent the morning apple picking and wagon riding at Sky top Orchard. From there, we drove 35 minutes to Pisgah gem mine and boy oh boy was it worth the drive! The kids had an amazing time digging in their buckets and learning about the variety of gems they found and the customer service there was exceptional.
From there we found a cool lake on our way home and stopped so the kids could get out and run around, climb and explore!
Day 3: We drove 1 hour North and headed to Asheville to hop on the Blue Ridge Parkway after exploring the Blue ridge parkway and stopping at the various overlooks we went on a search for waterfalls. We visited Cullasaja Falls, Soco Falls, Bust Your Butt Falls. We then stopped at the store and purchased a few items to make smores which rounded out to approximately $20.00. Once we got home we started our campfire and spent the evening enjoying our smores and star gazing.
And the grand total isssssss…. $1239.20 for a 4 day road trip with 5 kids and 2 adults!