Remember those affordable travel days when you were in college? Everyone piled in a car, chipped in for a tank of gas and you drove to a town where someone had a friend who would let you flop on the floor or the couch.
Turns out you don't have to give up that glamorous form of travel now that you have kids. It's definitely a cheaper way to travel. And it might be a better way to travel with kids.
A growing number of websites such as Tripping.com, BeWelcome.org, Servas.org and, yes, even Couchsurfing.org, are attracting families who want to stay in the home of another family, are willing to host traveling families or simply want to set up playdates so their kids can meet kids from other cities, states or countries.
When Jen O'Neal founded Tripping.com, she expected to attract the usual college students and young adults looking for an affordable travel adventure. She got plenty of those, but she also got families and seniors who were interested in the cultural experience of meeting locals as much or more than they wanted to save money on a hotel room.
For example, there is the Persian family who signed up to host other Persians visiting America.
"She was born here, but her parents were from Iran. Hosting Persian families allowed her to introduce her kids to their heritage and culture," without the expense of an international plane ticket, O'Neal said.
Cindy Richards is the mom of two who gets her muse from traveling the world, usually with kids in tow. She also writes for TravelingMom.com, where she also serves as editor.
See more of Cindy's stories here.