This Mom Has the Best Tips for Traveling With Your Family

Monet Hambrick didn't let becoming a parent stop her from traveling the world. Instead, she turned her love of travel into a successful business. Here's her advice for other parents.

From a young age, Monet Hambrick was a traveler. A first generation American of Jamaican-born parents, she was frequently going back and forth to the Caribbean island with her family. Back home, the New York state-based family would also take road trips up and down the east coast. "We would go to Boston," she recalls. "We would go to Philly. We would go to Myrtle Beach."

But what really solified Hambrick's love for travel was a trip she took in high school to Botswana. The then teen got a scholarship through a program called Experiments in International Living. "I lived with a host family, and that was just an amazing, unique experience," says Hambrick.

Later, she met her now husband while studying at the University of Florida, and the couple studied abroad together in Beijing. After graduating, Hambrick worked in human resources as a recruiter working across various sectors. Initially, she recruited interior designers and architects in New York, and later, she moved to Florida and recruited entertainment staff for cruise ships.

All the while—even when she was expecting her first child—she continued to pursue her passion for travel. "When I was pregnant, everybody was like, 'Oh, you know, you're not gonna be able to travel anymore,' and I [said], 'You guys don't know me. Having a child is not gonna stop me from traveling.' And it didn't." Even before her daughter's second birthday, she had already been to Jamaica, Italy, Greece, and on a cruise.

And in 2016, when Hambrick was on maternity leave after the birth of her second daughter, she went to Colombia with a friend who suggested she document her trips on Instagram. "I was like, 'That's stupid. Why would anybody be interested in that? They're just gonna think we're trying to show off. Oh, look at my family here. Look where we are.' And she was like, 'No. Like think about all the times people told you you wouldn't be able to travel with your kids, and you're doing it. And there's so many other parents or people that want to be parents in the future that think this life is not possible.'"

Hambrick ended up taking her friend's advice, starting an Instagram account called The Traveling Child, and later a website where she would blog and share money-saving tips, destination notes, and lots of travel advice for adventurous families.

Now, the successful digital creator has 244K followers on Instagram and is the author of the children's book series The Traveling Child Goes To… On her website, Hambrick shares, "My motto is, 'If kids live there, kids can visit,' and you'll often find our family exploring destinations most don't consider 'kid-friendly.'"

Here, a few of her best tips for traveling and saving cash while jet-setting.

Choose Destinations That Feel Comfortable and Familiar

For people who don't have a lot of experience traveling or are not as comfortable with it, Hambrick recommends finding a destination that's "not going to be necessarily as different from home to get your feet wet."

That might be somewhere close to home or if you're going international, find a spot where people speak fluent English even if it's not their native language, like England, Denmark, or a country in the Caribbean.

You may also want to pick a place where you can rent a car and put your child in a car seat efficiently or, if you're comfortable with public transportation, going to a place where you can jump on the subway or a bus, shares Hambrick.

Chase the Deal, Not the Destination

"If you have a specific destination in mind and specific dates, it's going to be very hard to find a deal because the price is going to be what it is," says Hambrick.

Instead, she recommends looking for deals and choosing your destination based on the best pricing. Hambrick uses an app called Skyscanner. "You're able to enter your home airport, and then, you could put everywhere as the destination, and select the dates," she explains. "For instance, for those who have kids in school and you're looking for a spring break trip, you can put your home airport, everywhere as a destination, put the spring break dates, and it will show you the cheapest places to travel during those dates."

If your dates are flexible and you have a place you are fired up to visit, enter your home airport as the destination, select the option that searches for the most affordable time to travel, and it will tell you the most cost-effective dates to book your trip.

"Last year, we actually went to Guatemala for Thanksgiving," notes Hambrick. "We got those fights for $150 round trip, which is an amazing deal."

She also swears by using travel credit cards for monthly essentials, like the kids' clothing and gas. The mom of two says racking up points this way is "essential to being able to fly and get hotels for cheaper costs."

Do Your Research

A pro tip that Hambrick says is critical: Read reviews. "For instance, when we're booking vacation rentals, if they do not have reviews, I am not booking it," says the mom of two. "I do not wanna be the guinea pig. I will allow somebody else to be that. I make sure that they have like at least 10 reviews—and the majority of them need to be recent. Like if their last review was over a year ago, sorry, probably not some place I want to stay."

That's key, because when you're booking accommodations for your family and you get there and they're not what you expected, it can really impact the trip.

Similarly, she advises confirming all your reservations. For example, when it comes to car rentals, make sure that you're going to be given the vehicle—and the car seat—you need, so that you and your family can have an experience that's as seamless as can be.

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