Monthly Archives: May 2016

How I Cut the Cost of My Family Travel in Half

How I Save Big Money on Plane Tickets for the Family

Tho cost of flights for a family can be extremely expensive. I have found some great ways to save a lot of money when booking plane tickets. I start my research early for flight prices. I play around with the dates in the online booking tools to try to see how low the flight prices can go. I sign up for the airline’s email distribution list so that I know when the airlines are having a seat sale.

I look at the total price of the flights including tax when comparing costs. Most airlines offer a 25% discount off the base ticket price for children. Due to the fact that the taxes and surcharges may vary depending on the airline and flight path, I might get a better deal on a higher priced ticket that has lower taxes when I factor in the child discount.

Travelzoo is an excellent source for finding the best travel deals. Every week they email me a list of discounted flights, hotels and tours. I have gotten excellent information on cheap flights from Travelzoo such as tickets from Toronto to Lima, Peru for less than $400 including taxes. Travelzoo has different versions depending on where you reside.

I check out the cost of flying out of nearby cities. I live in Ottawa but its a four hour drive to Toronto. The cost of flying out of Toronto can be significantly less than flying out of Ottawa. I can save hundreds of dollars even when I factor in the cost of gas, parking and an overnight hotel.

Plane Ticket Savings

Regular price of ticket Toronto to Lima $896.00 including tax. My price was $396.00 taxes in for each person.

How I Save BIG Money on Accommodations

The cost of accommodations can be quite pricey for a family if you are looking at staying in a typical hotel room. I look for hostels to save money when I travel with my kids. A lot of hostels offer family rooms with ensuite bathrooms at prices significantly less than a hotel. Another option is a serviced apartment where you have access to a kitchen to cook in and lots of space to spread out in. This is usually much cheaper than paying for 2 hotel rooms. I also look for cheap accommodations that are centrally located so that I also save on local transportation.

Accommodation Savings

Cost of the Beijing Swissotel for a family of 4 was $220.00 per night. Cost of the hostel I stayed in was $37.00 for a family room!

How I Save on Local Transportation

When traveling with my kids the cost of local transportation can really add up. I take public transportation whenever possible. If there is a subway at my destination then I use this to move around. My kids also have fun trying to navigate the subway. I try to always book a centrally located hotel close to public transport and close to markets, stores and restaurants.

Local Transportation Savings

The cost of a taxi from my Shanghai hotel to the Science and Technology Museum was $12.00 each way. Cost of the subway for my family of four was $2 each way.

How I Save Loads of Money on Tours and Attractions

I always look for free or low cost attractions for my kids and I to enjoy. We always head to a local park for a few hours. The kids have fun exploring the different playgrounds and usually end up making some new friends too. I always search for free activities, museums or festivals. Organized local tours can also drive up the cost of your family trip. On a recent family vacation to Negril Jamaica I wanted to visit YS Falls for the day. I managed to save quite a bit by hiring a driver for the day and paying our own entrance fee. It was also great to have the flexibility of having a driver as I was able to leave when the kids were tired and we were able to stop for a delicious jerk chicken meal along the way.

Savings on Tours

The cost of an organized tour for a family of 4: $270.00

The price of a taxi driver and entrance for 2 adults, 2 children $145.00

How I Save Money on Dining

The cost of eating on your vacation can take a big bite out of the family travel budget. There are lots of ways to save money on dining on your trips. For breakfast I head to a local grocery store and stock up on fruits, baked goods and cereal (I pack a couple dollar store bowls and spoons). I try to book hotel rooms with a mini fridge and stock up on drinks and snacks as well. I also try to eat where the locals eat. The food is usually cheaper and much tastier than at the inflated tourist restaurants.

Savings on Dining

Cost of the breakfast buffet at my hotel in Paris was $60.00. The cost of some fruit and pastries was $18.00 for the whole family.

Now with all the money I have saved I can go on another family trip!


International Air Travel Tips

Flying around the world might be easy and hassle-free if you remember some of the international tips for air travel. Early arriving and ensuring about the correct documents is necessary. Additional tips for making the trip smoother comprise receiving wanted seat assignments, converting some dollars to the local currency prior departing, and gaining benefits of the facilities accessible to the business class plus the first-class passenger, if possible.


Correct documentation is necessary for any of the international trip. You are just not permitted to enter the airplane lacking it. Almost each and every international destination at present requires carrying of legal passport. Additionally, several countries necessitate having visa – authorization to go in the country, which is embossed directly in the passport. Few countries too need a fitness document that shows your recent inoculations.

Ensure allowing sufficient time for new passport processing if needed. The standard rotate time via mail takes four to six weeks. Take more time if you require visa for the trip since you should have passport initially in order that visa can be stamped in the passport.

Plan Early when Possible

The greatest seat with the greatest airfares nearly always goes to the people making their reservations in advance. In peak travel time, like summer of Europe, vacation travel, and particular events, like Paris Air Show or Paris Fashion Week, it is not possible to travel if not planned in advance.

The exemption in this regulation is end minute discounted fares that various airlines, like United, American, or Continental place on the websites. Only few selected city pairs get offered every week, if there.

Air Travel Restrictions

The 11September, 2001 events have initiated enlarged America’s airport security, particularly for overseas travelers. For a stress-free security check, ensure arriving as a minimum of two hours before the international flight. You must check the recent restricted items list on Transportation Security Administration website.


8 Ideas for Smooth Family Travel

As a busy parent, you deserve some rest and relaxation. Here are 8 tips to help you derive the most enjoyment from your next family vacation.

Start planning now – the earlier the better.When you research your destination in advance, you’ll spend less money, and you’ll probably have a more relaxing time, too. Spend time as a family researching your destination using print travel magazines as well as online sources and guidebooks.

  1. Let your kids in on it.Ask each of your children to choose a few things to see or do on this vacation, as well. When kids are invested in planning the trip, they take more responsibility and, ultimately, derive more enjoyment from the trip.
  2. Take your time. Try hard not to cram too many activities in any single day, especially if you have young kids. Children need downtime, especially when they are away from their normal routine, so schedule time for resting between events. Plan to return to the hotel for a brief nap or quiet time before going to dinner, for example.
  3. Don’t over-pack.Everyone will enjoy the trip more if you travel light. As long as you’re not embarking on a super long trip, kids who are grade-school age and over can probably be responsible for carrying their own suitcases or duffels. And, if they are seasoned travelers, you may be able to trust them to pack it, as well. We hand our children each a checklist and away they go. We check to make sure they have everything they need, but it’s nice for them to make their own choices and be included in the process of preparing to leave on the family trip.
  4. Bring things to do during downtime.You might reserve a special bag of goodies and activities that you bring out only when the kids find themselves bored and restless, perhaps when they are waiting for a connecting flight or for the multitude of other delays that can occur on a vacation. Here’s what’s in our “emergency bag”: a deck of playing cards, a few dice, a book of mazes, a small set of colored pencils and a book of intricate designs to color, that even my older children are captivated by. You’ll also want such a bag of “emergency snacks,” which includes nuts and other forms of lean protein.
  5. Try to stick to your routine as much as possible.Don’t stray too wildly from the kids’ ordinary bedtimes, for example. And eat at normal times. Kids are so much more even-tempered when their sleep patterns and blood sugar levels stay on an even keel.
  6. Consider the help of modern technology.While you’ll probably want to put limits on these types of entertainment sources when you’re paying an arm and a leg to see new parts of the country and the world, a well-timed (albeit brief) dose of portable DVD player, iPod, or Game Boy can help weary traveling parents in untold ways.
  7. Stay open-minded.You want to have a fairly set itinerary, and you want to keep your routines fairly predictable, but the ultimate goal is to have a refreshing, rejuvenating vacation where everyone is able to lighten up, be flexible, and have fun. Start each day by reminding yourself of this simple truth, and have a great trip!