100_4381My husband had a conference to attend in Memphis last week, so the entire family tagged along.

We usually take vacations this way to save money.  My husband’s employer was already paying mileage for him to drive there as well as hotel, so all we had to pay for was sight seeing, souvenirs, and food.

Here are the three strategies we used to optimize our savings:

1.  We brought all of our food with us.  Remember my freezer cooking session I had a few weeks ago?  We brought all the meals we would need to feed me and the kids.  We never ate out once when we were on the trip, so we didn’t spend any more on food than we do when we are at home.

Our hotel room only had a mini fridge, so we kept our cooler filled with ice and left the food there where it stayed cold and fresh the entire 3 days we were there.

2.  We bought cheap souvenirs.  Since they were little, my husband and I have bought the kids little souvenirs whenever we go on a trip for a conference, with or without kids.  The trick is to buy low cost souvenirs like magnets or post cards.  On this trip, we bought each of the kids a coloring book from the National Civil Rights Museum as well as a postcard from Graceland.

Our children also brought their own money for souvenirs.  The girls bought sticker books at the Fire Museum, and my son bought a toy fire truck at the museum and a key chain at Graceland.

3.  We only splurged on one big sightseeing trip.  Our big splurge this trip was to Graceland.  We also went to several other places, which I’ll share later in the week.  All told, for me and the kids to sight see as well as my husband to join us at Graceland, we paid $170.

Because the mileage reimbursement is now so high, we anticipate getting reimbursed for a little more than we paid for gas and the hotel.  That difference can be used to pay for our sight seeing.

Do you tag along for conference trips?  Where was your favorite trip?

I shared this post at Raising Arrows.

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