Book Review – Educational Travel on a Shoestring

Educational Travel on a Shoestring: Frugal Family Fun and Learning Away from HomeEducational Travel on a Shoestring: Frugal Family Fun and Learning Away from Home by Judith Waite Allee and Melissa L. Morgan

Do you love to travel?  Do you love to travel with your children?  Do you want to love travelling with your children while providing an unforgettable educational experience?  If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you should read this book.

 I consider myself to be a decent traveler.  Since my family can be found in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area and my husband’s family is located in Medellin, Colombia, our family does quite a bit of regular travel.  We are generally taking some sort of trip every other month.  Most travel books don’t excite me because they consist of the following advice: pack plenty of ziploc bags, bring new toys in the car for your children. pack plenty of snacks, etc. 

This book is different.

The first few chapters deal with researching your destination and how to incorporate educational adventures while keeping the learning low cost.  Sounds like standard stuff that you have heard before, but there are several gems that I was not really aware of, for example:

The Encyclopedia of Associations (found at your library) – this book lists thousands of organizations across the US for any interest.  Do your children love puppets?  If you know about the Puppeteers of America, then you can find where all of the theaters, museums, and puppet centers are located.  
Encyclopedia of States (also at your library) – if you have narrowed down your destination to a particular state, then you can look in these books to see what the points of interest are as well as photos of parks and museums
The Lonely Planet newsletter – a very good travel site that also includes shoestring budget options.  The company also offers tours and although I don’t like going on tours, I do enjoy seeing what the itinerary includes
National Scenic Byways – find the prettiest roads in your state or in your destination state

There is a wonderful section on how to volunteer as a family when you are on vacation.  At times volunteer vacations can be much more affordable and they are almost always rewarding.  However, if you just want to perform a small act of kindness on your vacation (eg spreading wildflower seeds), then there is information included in this chapter for you.

The second half of this book does not offer the seasoned travel a whole lot, but if you are just starting out then there are tons of good tips on how to budget, keep expenses down, and keep your family’s sanity while on the road.  But really, the beauty of this book lies in its extensive resource list.

Lastly, I must warn you that there are Christian references sprinkled throughout, but there is enough good information to easily overlook that point if you tend to only buy secular resources.

Pros:  Lots of food for thought and information that I have not seen yet.  Huge resource list.
Cons:  A bit outdated since this was published in 2002.
Should I buy it: Yes, if you answered affirmatively to the first three questions.  Also, it looks like Christian Book Distributors (CBD) has the lowest price right now for a new book.

I was in no way compensated for this review.  I had to buy the book.

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