Family of Four Taking Flight to Financial Independence

FI With Kids: How Do You Afford Field Trips And Adventures?

In one of my recent posts I answered the question ... so you Moved Abroad: But What About School?  Be sure to read my latest post here.  I dove into many aspects of learning including how our family has embraced Field Trips and Adventures (and other non-traditional learning opportunities).

How do we make those work in our budget?  We often hear ...even in FI (financial independence) or FIRE (financial independence retire early) groups that kids are so expensive.  We would like to mostly disagree.  Yes, we added two more members to our family, but we can definitely make it work (and have fun Field Trips and adventures too).

Let’s look more closely at the numbers.  What is the financial impact for Field Trips and adventures?  How much do they cost?  Don’t they add up?

The good news is there are many free or low cost Field Trips and adventures (for adults or families!).  And of course there are some that cost money (and sometimes quite a bit money), but the cost can be worth it depending on the experience.

Entrance to the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.

Three key strategies for us ... 1) Keep any Field Trips and adventures within our extra spending budget each month (and plan this out as much as possible), and 2) vary the activities each week / month with a mix of mostly free or low cost and some experiences that cost more (if needed).  3) Take advantage of cost savings such as through Memberships or Free / Reduced Rate days and times.

Now I will go through all the experiences I listed on my previous post: Moved Abroad: What About School?  Let’s see how much they really cost.

We were told photos are not allowed in the Alhambra Museum, but this was taken in the building that holds the small museum (Palace of Charles V).

-Alhambra Museum: This is a free museum located on the 1st floor of the Palace of Charles V.  We visited a separate day from our main and first visit to the Alhambra.  This is a fantastic small museum and definitely worth a visit!

We were able to walk to the museum from our home in the Albaicin so transportation was also free.

-Cost: $0

The Alhambra in Granada, Spain.

-Alhambra: Not including our visit to the Alhambra Museum (see above), we’ve been to the Alhambra once so far.  We will definitely be back multiple times since we live in Granada.  Unfortunately as far as we are aware, there are not options for Membership otherwise we would definitely get a Membership.

There are many different options and price points to visit the Alhambra.  For our first visit we chose the General Ticket option which included Alcazaba, Palacios (Palace) Nazaries, Palacio Generalife and Gardens, and Palacio de Carlos V.  Not only was the cost worth it, but I think it was priced more than reasonably for what you were able to see!

Transportation again for us was free since we walked from our neighborhood (Albaicin).

-Cost: 14.85 euros per Adult and Kids Free (For the tickets we chose).  Total Cost was 29.70 euros ($36.24).

Children’s Museum Houston Outdoor Space 

-Children’s Museum Houston: We’ve mentioned before the huge benefit of Family Memberships / Memberships to Museums and other cultural institutions in your area.  Often times the Membership is paid for in just a few visits.  And Memberships and other experiences make great gifts!  With that said, we did have a Membership to the Children’s Museum.

Once we moved into Houston for our unexpected City Schooling time, the Children’s Museum Houston was right next door.  Our transportation was our feet so ... free!

-Family Membership Cost: $135 for a Family of Four (Note, there are different Membership levels).

Market in Plaza Larga

-Farmer’s Market in Granada, Spain: Daily life can definitely be seen as an adventure especially when you move to a new area and maybe even more so when you are in a new country.  Some of those every day experiences are the best experiences.  We’ve definitely seen different fruits and veggies that we’ve never seen before here in Spain.  But even back home in the US, sometimes those every day experiences were a fun adventure...especially for kids.  You can read more about our grocery cost in the link below.

This is less than a 10 minute walk for us so no transportation cost.

-Cost: See more information on one month of groceries in Granada, Spain.

Houston Arboretum 

-Houston Arboretum: When we lived in Houston, we frequently visited the Houston Aboretum for our nature studies or just to visit!  Visiting nature is great for kids (and adults), and it is often free or low cost.  It was mostly free for us to visit the Houston Aboretum and Nature Center with the exception of parking on most days (like many large cities and some parks, there is paid parking to help support the park or city).  Note, the Houston Aboretum (like other parks and nature centers) does have a Membership option that offers perks, and of course you can help support a great institution that way.  If we would have stayed in Houston, I would have considered a Membership.

Incorporating nature into your Field Trips or adventures is a great way to lower costs for activities (plus everyone benefits from being in nature).

Transportation for us required a car so not technically free, but once we moved to Houston only about a 15 to 20 min drive depending on traffic.

-Cost: Less than $5 for Parking (Approximately)

Lab at The Health Museum.  This was not the Cow Eye Lab mentioned below (Houston).

-The Health Museum: We decided to get a Membership at this Museum since we were literally next door to it in Houston for approximately 9 months.  Plus it doesn’t hurt to support your local museums and cultural institutions (and they definitely have needed more support during COVID-19).  They started up Homeschool Labs shortly before we moved to Spain.  You did not need to be Members to participate in the labs.  We were able to participate in one lab before we moved: Cow Eye Dissection.  

I felt like the experience of the lab was worth the cost, and I was right (this time at least!).  There was a 1: 4 teacher to student ratio, and two of the students were our kids.  There is no way they would have had this type of opportunity in a public school at their age (at least not in TX).

Transportation was free since we lived next door in Houston’s Museum District (yes, we were strategic about this move and location).  We were temporarily renting a place during COVID-19 and City Schooling.

-Cost (Cow Eye Dissection Lab): $18.00 per child / $32.40 Total (Slight Membership Discount ...Note, different Membership levels may have different perks and discounts).

Note, our Family Membership was $85.00 total (there are different Membership Levels).

The kids are working in their journals at a cafe in the Holocaust Museum Houston.

-Holocaust Museum Houston: In our previous post, we mentioned seeing a Nelson Mandela exhibition at a local museum in Houston.  The exhibition was at the Holocaust Museum.  For this museum I did not get a Membership.  If we would have been in Houston longer term, I would have considered it.

Transportation was free since we lived nearby in Houston’s Museum District.

-Cost: $19 for Adults (Children are free)

George Floyd Mural in Houston, TX

-George Floyd Mural: As I mentioned in a previous post, when we studied Nelson Mandela we also revisited current events such as the killing of George Floyd (a fellow Houstonian).  I think art (and books!) can be a great way for children (and adults for that matter) to learn about current events and history.

Public art is some of my favorite types of art because it is accessible to all.  Unfortunately there should be no mural of him at all because he should be alive today so I am not trying to make light of that by talking about cost.  But most public art is no charge.

Transportation wasn’t technically free since we did drive to see the murals.

Incorporating public art into your Field Trips / adventures can not only be a great way to lower your cost on activities, but it can also be a different way to learn about history or current events (and more).

-Public Art Cost: No charge.

We loved visiting the McGovern Centennial Gardens rain or shine (Houston).

-McGovern Centennial Gardens: Beautiful city gardens are often (but not always) free or low cost.  The McGovern Gardens are free including parking.  And in my opinion this is one of the best places to visit in Houston.  I may be slightly biased since we lived next door for 8 months or so ...but even before that I really enjoyed visiting the gardens.  Look for some gardens near you as a low cost or free Field Trip!

Again, transportation was free since this was across the street from us in Hermann Park / Houston’s Museum District.  Another tip to save on a Field Trip / adventure cost is to look local!  Do more things local with a mix of possibly further away (since further away usually comes with some type of transportation cost).  Plus it is always nice to get involved in your own neighborhood or community.

-Cost: Free

Community Service in Hermann Park’s Japanese Garden (Houston)

-Community Service in Hermann Park: Community service is a great way to have a free Field Trip experience or adventure while also giving back to your community.  Depending on the age of your children or depending on your community this can be more challenging to find ...but one idea is to try a local park / park system.  I was honestly a little surprised by how much my kids enjoyed it too.

Transportation was free since we lived next to Hermann Park.

-Cost: Free

Archaeological Museum of Granada

-Archaeological Museum of Granada: As you can probably tell I am a big fan of museums and cultural institutions so for the most part I think the fees are worth it (and if you are local the Memberships may be worth it too).  I’ve noticed museum fees in Spain so far seem to be much more reasonable than the US, but I guess that makes sense due to the overall lower cost of living.

Transportation was free since we walked from our neighborhood (Albaicin).

-Cost: $1.50 euros for each Adult / Kids were free.  3 euros total ($3.66).

I always love joining our son at Golf (Timbercreek in Friendswood, TX).

-Golf: In my previous post, I did mention golf.  But I wouldn’t really consider this one for our family as a Field Trip or adventure since our son is an active golfer.  This would be considered more as an on-going sport / passion.  It is difficult to put the cost on this one since back home my Dad would usually pay for a round (9 holes) of golf.  If I just did a bucket of balls for the kids to hit this would typically be less than $10.  I’ll have to revisit this once he receives his clubs and starts playing in Granada (Granada Club de Golf).

-Cost: Unknown at this point, but a bucket of balls is typically less than $10 each.

EcoSchoolers class at Armand Bayou (Houston)

-Armand Bayou: The kids did participate in the Outdoor EcoSchoolers class a few times at Armand Bayou during City Schooling / COVID-19.  These classes were fantastic and obviously a safer option during COVID-19.  I definitely felt they were worth the cost.  They would have been even more affordable if we were members.  This was a little further from us so I didn’t consider a Membership (and plus we had plans to move out of the Houston area).

-Cost: $17 per child / per class so $34 for one class (for both kids).

Albaicin neighborhood of Granada, Spain.

-Moving Abroad to Spain: I would have to sum up the adventure of moving abroad to being priceless (and more complicated than a short paragraph), but you can read more about how we did it here and here.

Also stay tuned.  Erik will recap our May monthly expenses soon.

-Cost: Priceless.

There you have it.  That should cover the Field Trips and adventures I mentioned in my previous post.  It shows a nice variety of the types of Field Trips / adventures we go on.  And as you can see many are free, low cost, or reasonable for what you receive.  Comment below if I missed anything.  What do you think?  How do you fit Field Trips and adventures into your life and budget?  Do you have any tricks or tips?

You can read our last Non-Lucrative Visa post here, and you can read Erik’s previous post here.  And you can even join us on your own FI adventure!


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