From the Desk of Clearissa Coward’s Command Center/Divinely Organized
How to Enjoy Beach Travel with Grandchildren on a Budget
Have you done it yet? Have I done what Clearissa? I hear you, I’ll get on with it. 🙂 I am going to write this article from the perspective of a grandparent because that’s what I am, a very proud grandma. My Love bugs call me MiMi…do you love it? I do! 🙂 However, if you’re a mother or father with little ones, this is good advice for you as well and the tips can be adapted for older children as well. All you have to do is change the items on your shopping list.
If you follow my blog, you must know by now, that my daughter, of whom I am most proud, is a single parent and a middle school teacher (engaged and wedding planned for June 2018). She’s a wonderful mother; however, she is one person and there are times, no matter how much she loves her children…she needs a break. And besides, I love the time with my heartbeats. We are a small family, I am an only child and my daughter is an only child and until 3 years ago, my now 15– 17-year-old granddaughter was an only child. Well until along came our new joy. The first boy and a new baby into our small clan. Needless to say, he wears us out and brings lots of fun times.
My granddaughter is a wonderful big sister and she helps her mother like crazy, but everyone needs a break on occasion…right? Well, hubs and I decided to give them a summer present and we took the little joy/terror to the beach with us for a week. Oh happy day, both mom and big sis did a happy dance as we were leaving the driveway. But as always I anticipate my daughter and granddaughter doing their signature happy dance when we leave for the beach in August. Although, this year, they will join us for a couple of days at the beach as well. But they will also have some girl time and get to miss the little one. And although I wish my granddaughter was going for a bit longer, (I think she is outgrowing me *sniff, sniff*) I totally understood that because she is such a help to her mother, she too, needs some time.
Hubs and I both thoroughly enjoy him, but he does change our time management and activity list for the week. Because my granddaughter is 17 I had totally forgotten what it’s like to take little ones on a prolonged vacation. So I decided to bring you along for the ride and hopefully help you plan a little better if/when you do the same. Let’s get this party started.
The Steps I Take
We are partial to Myrtle Beach. We love the Calabash style seafood there and we also love the relaxed atmosphere. For hubs and me, it’s just perfect. Normally, we are not looking for a party, just some relaxation, quiet time together and ocean-overload. But remember we were taking a 5-year-old with us. Not a calm little 5-year-old little girl but a 5-year-old rambunctious little boy. Usually, his mom and big sis are with us and we all 4 chip in on keeping him entertained, but not this time. Who on earth came up with this idea?
I usually begin preparation two weeks in advance. We know we can not just grab a quick biscuit or piece of fruit for breakfast when the little one is with us. Nope, I have to make sure a happy and healthy tummy is part of the plan. So to prepare, I do this:
Shop for mostly breakfast, lunch and snack items, such as
- Almond milk (purchased upon arrival at the beach)
- Eggs (purchased upon arrival at the beach)
- Bread for toast & sandwiches
- Fresh strawberries (purchased upon arrival at the beach)
- Fresh grapes (purchased upon arrival at the beach)
- Fresh watermelon (purchased upon arrival at the beach)
- Peanut butter & jelly
- Sliced deli turkey (purchased upon arrival at the beach)
- Sliced cheese (purchased upon arrival at the beach)
- Lettuce (purchased upon arrival at the beach)
- Tomatoes (purchased upon arrival at the beach)
- Cucumbers (purchased upon arrival at the beach)
- Popsicles (you know the ones in the bag that you freeze. Cheap and kids love them. Easy Travel)
- Travel sized condiments
- Canola oil
- Lots of juice (3 large jugs) (purchased upon arrival at the beach)
- Because we beach a lot, some travel staples remain on hand (salt, pepper, etc.)
- Total – $63.00
I realize this sounds like a long list, but being the bargain diva that I am, I try coupons. New to couponing? Me to. For some newbie tips, read here. And although this is an updated article, I am still not as good at couponing as I want to be. We all have to learn by doing and I’m still doing and learning. I struggle with coupons because of the time it takes, but I am budget conscious and I am not giving up.
Not only do I try to use coupons, but I also look for buy one get one free sales. That means one item for the beach and the other for my pantry. Two birds…also, condiments are purchased in travel size and will be used throughout the summer for family picnics, and other trips for the family. No waste there. Shopping done…check!! How am I doing so far?
Note: In case you are wondering what we do for dinner, I have you covered. We always prepare for a couple of pizza nights – easy breezy, of course, a couple nights of Calabash seafood buffet, and my family loves breakfast so, in a pinch, I can always pull together a quick breakfast meal as dinner if necessary. But for hubs and me, it’s all about the Calabash seafood at Myrtle.
We have learned that eating out one meal a day instead of all three is cost-effective and although we do not usually require such a variety when it’s just the two of us, we do normally make sure there are snacks, breakfast foods, sandwich ingredients and drinks available. This is an adjustment but well worth it to spend time with that sweet boy :).
I realized we would not be at the pool or beach or playground or shopping or sightseeing 24/7 so where hubs and I would usually be relaxing on the balcony having some quiet time with a cool drink and a book, we have to entertain a 5-year-old. Next step is a dollar store for some reinforcements. I have a basket of toys here at the house (like all grandparents), but some are expensive and others are favorites and I do not want to take a chance of losing or leaving them at the beach.
I found some real bargains:
You can stock up for less than $10.00. Score!! He is always thoroughly entertained and for little money. Place those new toys into Ziplock bags and another item checked off the list.The first year I forgot to pick up a ball, but my daughter saved the day when we picked him up and she provided the beach ball – by the way, we never used that beach ball. He simply had no interest. There is such a thing as overkill. Be careful and don’t waste money.
- Swim vest for little one ($30.00)
- Flip flops for the little one ($2.00)
- Total: $32.00 (very good investment)
That’s all it takes to satisfy a little boy. Of course, there were other incidentals, but hey…it is a vacation, right? But the trip is much less stressful and fun because of preparation and bargain shopping.
The time spent will, of course, be priceless, and I am always thinking of where to take him next. I have my eye on Great Wolf Lodge…anyone been? If so, how was it?
I realize every family dynamic is different. But I believe a little time spent in preparation goes a long way in planning and executing a good vacation. Especially with children.
My advice, plan, plan, can’t go wrong.
Remember to think organization and budget always.
Don’t forget to check out my eBook; Organize Your Life in 21 Days is available for download and has a variety of small projects to help you take on and complete projects you may not have thought of. Get your copy today.
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Until next time…I remain in my element
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Thank You For Stopping By!