Most people would love to fit more travel into their lives. But it’s not always that simple, especially when you have school-age children (or in our case, married to a teacher). Traveling around the school schedule is not always the most convenient. You’re usually dealing with higher costs and crowd levels. But throughout the years, we have found ways to make travel a regular part of our lives, even when limited to a school calendar. In fact, one year, we were able to travel somewhere every month! Below, we share 10 tips on how you can travel more around a school schedule.
Meet the Bloggers - Family Boarding Pass
We are David and Karen, a family that loves to travel and showing others that it is possible to make travel a priority, even with full-time jobs. We recently welcomed a baby boy into our lives and can't wait to take him on a lifetime of adventures. With one of us being a teacher, we are already used to traveling around a school schedule. But that doesn't mean we can't travel during the school year. It just means we have to get creative and be flexible.
10 Tips on Traveling Around a School Schedule
LONG WEEKEND TIPS
- Maximize long weekends.
Don’t limit yourselves to traveling only during major breaks. Not only is it more expensive to travel during the summer or around holidays, but you’ll likely run into massive crowds as well. Instead, be strategic with long weekends, especially if your school schedule includes a day off that isn’t commonly offered. We have fit a variety of destinations into a weekend, including Austin, Boston, Clearwater Beach, Nashville and New York City. You may be surprised at what you can fit into a few days!
- Get a head start on your weekend getaway.
If your long weekend is Friday through Monday, get a head start by leaving after work and/or school on Friday evening. This will help you get the most out of your time at your final destination. If you are driving and can’t go the entire distance that first night, it’s still worth it to knock off a few hours. You’ll be glad you did when you wake up the next morning and don’t have the full distance to drive. When we’re flying, we prefer to take a late flight instead of an early morning flight the next day. For us, it’s more restful to have a long night and then wake up already at our destination. And speaking of flying…
- Airport hotels are your friend.
We recommend staying at a hotel near the airport on the first night for several reasons. First, airport hotels typically have affordable rates and can provide a convenient and budget-friendly stay. Since you’re likely getting in late on your long weekend getaway, why pay more the first night for a fancier or more expensive hotel when all you will be doing is sleeping? Airport hotels also usually provide free shuttle service from the airport, saving you the cost of an Uber/Lyft or an extra day of renting a car.
- Just bring carry-ons.
Since the name of the game is maximizing time on long weekend trips, be sure to fly with only carry-on luggage. You’ll save time by not waiting at the baggage claim and can get going as soon as you hop off the plane. Also, you shouldn’t need to pack too much for a long weekend, so it should be fairly easy to pack light. Remember: a backpack that fits under the seat can count as your personal item, which can increase your carry-on capacity. Just be sure to pack according to TSA regulations!
- Realize you won’t be able to see everything.
Set reasonable expectations and understand that you likely won’t be able to see and do everything that a destination offers on a long weekend getaway. When we plan short trips, we list out the top attractions and restaurants that we want to experience. From there, we begin to plan out an itinerary, realizing not everything may fit. Prioritize what is most important and appealing to you! If you are in a city with a world-famous art museum but you have no interest in art, you shouldn’t feel obligated to go just because it’s the popular choice. That’s the best part about travel: it can and should be tailored to your interests!
- Pick attractions that are close together.
It also helps to pick attractions that are in the same relative area for a long weekend getaway. Since time is of the essence, you don’t want to spend a bunch of time traveling in between places (unless that’s the goal of your road trip!) What we find helpful, especially when visiting a large city, is to create a map using Google Maps and drop pins at all the places we’re looking to visit. Then we plan out our itinerary by grouping together attractions that are near each other.
OTHER TIPS TO TRAVEL AROUND THE SCHOOL SCHEDULE
- Travel early or late in the summer.
When we travel in the summer, we aim for early summer right after school ends or late summer before school goes back in session. You can usually avoid peak summer pricing for both hotels and flights at these times. Crowd levels are also not as high as you may experience in late June or the month of July. And who doesn’t like avoiding big crowds and high prices?
- Book hotels early with flexible rates.
While it may seem like you get the cheapest deals by booking non-refundable hotel rates, this isn’t always the case. What we recommend is to buy flexible rates with free cancellation. That way, if the rates drop, you can cancel and rebook at the lower price. We’ve used this strategy to save up to hundreds of dollars on a single stay! Just be sure to double check the cancellation policy, as some rates only let you cancel up to a few days before your stay.
- Pick unique destinations during peak travel periods.
Popular destinations will always be packed, especially during peak travel times. In other words, don’t go to Disney World at Christmastime if you want to avoid other tourists.If you are only able to travel during the holidays or mid-summer, opt for a unique destination off the beaten path. There is no shortage of beautiful landscapes and interesting attractions in lesser known areas. It’s a fun way to reawaken your sense of adventure and discover some hidden gems while avoiding crowds.
- Pick destinations based on flight deals.
Another way to pick a destination is through flight deals. If you are comfortable being a more spontaneous traveler, this is an exciting way to go somewhere unexpected while saving some money! You might think that flight deals only are available during the school year when not as many people are traveling. But that’s not the case. Deals and mistake fares can pop up at any time. So be sure to subscribe for flight alerts and be open to new possibilities!
LET’S GO TRAVEL!
So there you have it. You don’t have to let a school calendar limit your travel. There are more possibilities and flexibility than you may think. Traveling is a wonderful and fun way to learn more about the world around us. It’s also our preferred way to get a mental refresh and de-stress, so we love to help others make travel a regular part of their lives!
Follow our adventures on Instagram at @familyboardingpass and check out our blog at FamilyBoardingPass.com for more travel tips, itineraries and guides. Some other posts you may find helpful include:
- 3 Easy Ways to Prioritize Travel in Your Life
- 5 Easy Ways to Save Money for Travel
- 5 Tips and Ideas for Planning a Long Weekend Trip
Thanks for reading and happy travels!
David and Karen
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