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April 10, 2010

Guest Post: Traveling on a Budget Part 2

As you may have read already, we are getting ready to make a 3,670+ mile trip in a few weeks. Traveling long distances is not new to our family, as we have done this for a number of years now. Throughout our travels I've tried a number of different things to keep the cost down and everyone happy at the same time.

Keeping It All Organized
In Traveling on a Budget Part 1 I shared with you how I plan for food when traveling. Today I want to explain how I pack all the food I've planned for. Here's what I've discovered works best for my family.

Sort the Food
A few days before the trip I gather all the non-perishable food into a big pile. I then sort the food by the date it's scheduled to be used. I then make any last minute changes. For example, I will see that I have too many fruit snacks one day, so I take them and trade them with something from another day. When everything is final I write down any changes I have made on the planning sheet, so that I can make a final print later.

The Box System
Now with my piles of food sorted by the date it's going to be eaten, it's time to pack! I use boxes to keep the food organized. I pack all the non-perishable food items, except any drinks I'm going to keep cold, into a box. I then label the box with the date that I've planned to eat the food. I end up with a bunch of boxes that have dates on them. (See the picture above.)

Keep in mind when packing the boxes to pack those boxes you need right away in an easy place to get to. I keep a "snack box" up front near me. This is the box that everyone can eat out of for the day. Any leftovers will roll over to the next day. As I mentioned in Part 1, it is so important to have a good variety or everyone gets bored which can lead spending money. I am lucky to have a large minivan with lots of room. If you are limited on space I would try to purchase items before hand that can save you the most amount of money. If you know you're going to eat out a lot anyway, pack lots of snacks!

Don't Forget the Plan
Be sure to print and keep a copy of the plan in a place that is easily accessible. I make two copies and put one in my suitcase just in case the first one gets lost. Use the plan to stay on track, but it's okay to make adjustments as needed. One of the main reasons I write everything down is so that if I'm looking for something in particular I don't have to open every box to find it. I can look on my planning sheet and know exactly where the item is that I'm looking for.

In Traveling on a Budget Part 3 I will share thoughts and tips about how you can be frugal while on the road.

Natasha is the creater of Saving a Bundle. She began couponing out of curiosity in 2008. She soon saw how much she could save for her family of 5. Now she is eager to share her knowledge of couponing and frugality with others through her blog at Saving a Bundle.

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