This summer, we're going on our first big "sightseeing" trip as a family with the children. I think they are finally old enough to appreciate traveling, and not just "vacations" at a beach, or at Disney. We're spending two weeks hitting some Civil War battlefields (for my little historian, Alex), Shenandoah National Park, Williamsburg and its environs, and then finally, Washington D.C. We'll hit four states as well as D.C., so the boys are excited about having more places to check off.
My main concern is that we do move around a bit, hitting different sites every day, and that the gift shops are very tempting for little boys. Before we went to Disney World two years ago, I had the same concerns, having learned on our Disneyland trip that they wanted something in every gift shop, after every ride. And while I had no problem telling them no, I hated the tears and pouting, and sometimes fits they would throw. Solution: we let the boys earn "Disney Dollars" for reading during the summer. It worked great. They each had somewhere around fifty Disney Dollars to spend on the trip, and they would hand them in to us when they found something they wanted enough to spend. They also brought whatever money they had from allowances, but that wasn't much (pokemon cards are just sooo tempting!) We were pretty clear that this was all they would have to spend on souvenirs, and they listened to us.
After a lot of thought, I've come up with "DC Dollars." We're on an expedited earning curve here since our trip is only 3.5 weeks away, so in addition to math and reading time, I'll hand out DC Dollars for extra chores that aren't their usual requirements. They'll have their money to redeem for items, so hopefully they will use it sparingly, and not spend it all in one place. I'll even show the boys some of the items they can buy in gift shops at the Smithsonian or Mount Vernon online, ahead of time, so they can anticipate.
The internet wasn't very helpful with some ready made DC Dollars for me to snaffle like they were with Disney Dollars. So Carl created these instead for the boys:
The best part? I can tailor these dollars for other trips in the future, too.