Spring and summer are on the way and this is usually a time when families like to load up the car or board a plane to go on family vacations. Many families save their money for a long time to go on a nice vacation. Even when you budget wisely, you can often throw that budget out the window, when your kids start asking for souvenirs. If you have ever taken a family vacation, and you know how quickly a $25 shirt here and there can add up. There are many ways to allow your children to buy souvenirs on your vacation without spending a lot of money. Here are some creative tips for finding inexpensive souvenirs for kids.
Teach Them to Budget:
One of the easiest ways to allow your children to spend money on a trip without breaking the bank is to teach your child to budget their own money. As soon as you know that you’re going to take a family vacation, help your child make a bank out of a box with the lid or can. Have them label their new bank for vacation and have them start saving money right away. Remind them that even pennies can add up to big dollars when they save for a long time. About a week before your trip, take them to a coin machine and let them dump their change inside to see how much money they have earned. Remind your child that this money should last them for the entire trip. For older children, you may have to show them a calendar that counts how many days you will be away so they can figure out how many dollars they have to spend each day while they are gone. If they are spending their own money, they are more likely to spend wisely and buy things that they really want and not just things that they think they want.
Here is a fun idea of the works especially well if you are taking a long car trip. Before you leave on your trip, give each child a large clear plastic container with a tight fitting lid. Have each child write their name somewhere on the container with a permanent marker. Make sure that you take a permanent marker along with you. As you drive to your destination and make stops, allow your child to get out of the car and collect something small from each stop. For example, if you’re driving through a desert area, you can allow your child to take a handful of desert sand. If you make a stop at the beach, your child can add seashells or beach sand in the container. You can also collect thing like leaves that have fallen to the ground, branches, rocks and pinecones. Any item that will remind them of the places they have stopped will work. When you put in each item, use a permanent marker to write down the item and the location where it was found. When you get home, this will serve as a great souvenir for all the places that you visited them-and better, yet, it’s free.
Every parent knows about the pressed penny machines that are located in places like museums, theme parks and malls. Typically, these machines take one quarter and one penny and will give your child a pressed penny that is elongated and features an imprint of the location where it was bought. Sometimes these machines are minor annoyances, however, if you plan before you leave, these can actually make great travel souvenirs for your child. These inexpensive pressed pennies will show off all the places they have visited for only $.26. You can also find special pockets or carrying cases to display these items. Find these in stores that carry coin collection items. Supply your children with a roll quarters and a roll of pennies, and it will keep them busy or your entire trip.
Patches and Pins:
Other great and inexpensive travel souvenirs are patches and pans. You can find patches and pins at nearly every souvenir shop on your trip. Patches are a great way to show where you have been for only two or three dollars apiece. In addition, buttons and pins are other great souvenirs. Each usually costs between $1-$6, depending on where you go. In fact, theme parks like Disney World have created a whole trading pin craze and trading is a hot business in this theme park. When you consider that these pins only costs about six dollars apiece, your child can buy a lot of souvenirs for not a lot of money. When you get home with your patches and pins, a great way to display these items is on a banner. You can make a felt banner to hang on your child’s wall to display all the patches, pins and buttons they have bought. Simply take a large piece of felt in the color that they choose. Turn it up at the top about half an inch and sew a straight line to make a pocket. Then inserted dowel rod inside the pocket and tie a string on each in so it can hang on the wall. Then you can either iron on, or glue the patches in place.
What family vacation would be complete without purchasing at least a couple of postcards? Actually postcards are great souvenirs for your children. For about $.25 apiece, your child can purchase all postcards they want to take home. You can even make a special scrapbook when you get home filled with postcards that they have purchased. This will remind them of all the good times they had on their trip.
While you may not think too much about purchasing Christmas ornaments when you’re on a trip in June, Christmas ornaments are actually perfect souvenirs for your child. In addition, remember that you don’t have to purchase special Christmas ornaments to hang on your tree. You can use any item that will remind your child of the trip. For example, did your child find a special seashell at the beach? Or perhaps you took a trip to Legoland, and they got a souvenir LEGO. All of those things can be used on your Christmas tree. The other great thing about using souvenirs for Christmas ornaments is that they don’t set out in your house all year long. You hang them on the tree and then you store them away until next year. After a few years of traveling, your Christmas tree will remind you of all of the travels to you in your family have done together