We all wish that travel could be more affordable! Even more so, when you are travelling with your family. Money spent on flights, accommodation, food and not even to mention entertainment can add up very quickly! We want to show you that affordable family travel is achievable, and we have enlisted the help of other family travel bloggers to share their proven tips and tricks on how you can enjoy your next family holiday at a more affordable rate. For our fifth family interview, we welcome Hridya from Coins N Maps, who, together with her husband and daughter, is currently living in Malaysia. They love to travel both domestically as well as internationally and try to build at least one trip home to India into their travel plans per year! She shares her secrets as to how they afford to live a travel lifestyle.
To read our past Affordable family Travel interviews, click here!
1. Can you briefly introduce yourself, your family and your blog?
I am Hridya, an Indian living in Malaysia; thanks to my husband’s job. About a year ago, we visited Cambodia and the country together with the Angkor Wat ruins were so beautiful, that it had to be written about. Those pictures we took were screaming at me to be put on a pedestal. Thus, my blog was born – after a couple of failed attempts, I started off the blog as a kind of diary to keep my family and friends updated about our trips. Our blog is called Coins N Maps.
You might wonder why we chose this name – well, at the end of our international trips, I would longingly look at those remnants i.e, coins/currency and maps and relive the wonderful memories of our holiday.
My family consists of my husband, my daughter (who is 5 yrs. old now) and myself. Living in Malaysia means having access to wonderful travel spots and as we step into our 8th year in this country, we wish to explore further and cover the whole of south-east Asia soon.
2. Why is family travel important to you?
We started a travel tradition kinda as a mandatory thing post wedding. When our little one was born in 2011, we found that she loved the outdoors. So, we continued our travel tradition every year with our little one in tow. As a family, we learn to do a lot of things together, like map reading, deciding on places to visit, learning new stuff, sharing information etc.
3. How many times per year does your family get to go on a holiday? Are these domestic holidays or international?
We try to do at least one or two local/domestic holidays and one international trip every year. Apart from this, we visit India once or twice a year as part of our annual vacation.
4. How does your family afford to travel?
We try to budget our travel by setting aside a specific amount from the salary every month. We do not splurge much, but we do try to get good deals that will give us some freedom to treat ourselves to that something special whilst away.
5. Which destinations or countries have you found to be most affordable?
Malaysia is a very affordable country for people who wish to travel. The country has a good currency rate, great amenities and affordable attractions. Sri Lanka and India are almost on the same plane. Overall, south east Asia is quite affordable for family travel. If you land the good deals, somehow everything just falls into place!
6. Do you have any tips in regards to saving money in the planning stage of the holiday?
We subscribe to a few newsletters from the airlines we fly with. Budget airlines do play a major role in most of our vacations. We tend to plan and book early, which helps a lot. If the flight charges are pretty under budget, it gives you a lot of freedom with handling the rest of the budget.
7. How do you prepare your child for a new country?
Our little girl has started understanding a few things about travel and that the place we are going to visit might not necessarily be the same as Malaysia or India. So, before heading off, we try to describe to here what we would be doing on the holiday; what she can get to see in the country; what the food might be like; and what language they speak there etc.
8. What is the one item your kids need to travel with?
Her own backpack! She likes stuffing it with all sorts of things – from her toys, to books, to notepad, pens and of course tidbits to munch on during the flight!
9. Do you have any tips in regards to saving money whilst on the holiday?
- In regards to activities, it would be good to do some research on what you will be doing, and where you will be going. Once you have that sorted, if, for example, it is a theme park you are visiting, you can hunt for discount coupons online. Or check with the hotel staff if there is any possibility of a discount they can offer.
- In regards to food, we choose to stay in hotels that include breakfast. Don’t mistake me but we eat till we are full for breakfast, and head out to explore the city/country. Then we kind of skip lunch, managing to get through the day with fruits or drinks and have an early sumptuous dinner. So, there is some flexibility with respect to that one meal.
- You could also try to get discount coupons for meals, you never know. All you need to do is a Google search.
- Or, if you are not so fussy, you can try the local food markets which usually is much cheaper and tastier than fine-dining restaurants.
10. Many people are bit sceptical of travelling with children. What is your best advice to make a family holiday a success?
- Sometimes it is difficult to travel with kids, especially if you have a lot of walking to do and if the child has no intention of sitting still in the stroller. I have gone through an experience like that and ended up having to carry my baby all around Penang on foot!
- Keep medications with you as a part of the travel kit, very essential.
- Reward the child if you think he or she has done something he would never do on a regular day (to your surprise) – like walking the entire trip without muttering a word or complaining.
- Take things that your kid likes doing with you, say a notepad and pencil/colours to let them draw and colour during a flight. Or your child’s favourite book that he or she likes to read. Basically , some activity that your child loves doing. This really helps us!
- I tailor my itinerary to suit my child’s routine, sometimes we may have to miss something but at the end of the day we still get to explore and travel and it keeps everyone happy!
But, we believe that all parents must travel with children. We are giving them an opportunity to see and learn things we didn’t do when we were kids. It is a great way to give them that general knowledge. Hence, I highly recommend travelling as a family!
More about Hridya
Hridya is a stay-at-home mum to a 5 year old daughter, who gives awesome company to her parents on their expeditions in South-East Asia. Hridya lives with her family in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia thanks to her husband's job and their location gives them ample opportunities for travel and loads of vacationing, both domestic and international. Apart from maintaining her blog, she also works as a freelance content writer for a few websites in the region.
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