Tag: Free travel

We love the FREE Walking Tours that are offered in Melbourne and Sydney. In the 3 hours that you tour those cities you come away with a rich understanding of it’s upbringings, secrets, history and interesting stories. If you think the wild west only takes place in America, you are sadly mistaken. You may want to read up on Ned Kelly (or watch the movie but be forewarned there is lots of wild west shooting).
Selfie sticks can be a lifesaver…. and sometimes they are just too much fun.


There is a very interesting story behind this pig and because of it people rub it in two prominent places for good luck. Marissa only would touch one spot, smart girl!


The Martin’s found their ‘Australian’ Place.


Debbie and Keaton were in search of ‘Bugs’ for dinner.  They are quite famous in Sydney and not at all what you think. We know what you are thinking because we thought the same thing. What kind of ‘Bug’ would they eat in Australia. We’ve been to countries where ‘bugs’ were definitely on the menu and you wanted nothing to do with them. We were glad to find out that ‘Bugs’ here in Australia mean small lobster type creatures which are very tasty. The ones in Sydney are called Moreton Bay Bugs. 
We ended our day enjoying the time with the missionaries, Summer and Cherry.


Marissa was so excited to watch, “Into the woods” at the 
Moonlight Cinema at the Royal Botanical Gardens, 
Melbourne. We soon realized our zeal to see an outdoor movie fizzled a little as we were ill prepared, arriving without enough blankets and no pillows to be comfortable. However, we still enjoyed the adventure of watching a movie under the stars… and big bats. It also helped that with our Telstra cell phone discount we only paid $11AUD instead of $20AUD.
Here is our colorful feathery friend who sat posed for us while we attended the, “I’m Free” Melbourne tour. The tour guides are fantastic as they navigated a huge crowed for almost 3 hours through the historic streets of Melbourne. They share the rich (and sometimes not so flattering) history of Melbourne.


“O Romeo, Romeo wherefore art thou Romeo?” 
Where is Juliet, we might ask?


Graffiti is both a huge problem and beautiful art in Melbourne. It is against the law to graffiti anywhere in Melbourne with the exception of a few areas where both business and the artists work together to preserve the beauty of street art. In some places it is typical tagging and is an eyesore, but as demonstrated here it can help create both a visual and cultural delight. 


We were off early the next morning to see what we could find at Wilsons Prom (which is FREE to enter) and after seeing many of these road signs, Dale was determined to find each one of these animals on our drive over. Finally I hear him say, “I think that must be a Koala” but he had to quickly slow down to see if he was right and guess what? He was!
 We had found our first little wild Koala which we sat and watched scamper up the tree and watch us like we were the strange ones.  He was absolutely adorable. And to see one in the wild is beyond breathtaking!
How shocking to find this written on the beach … they must have known we were coming.:)
 In Wilsons Prom we specifically went to Squeaky Beach to see what all the talk was about and if it is really truly named. Apparently the sand is made of rounded quartz and that is why it squeaks. It is also one of the softest feeling sands we have ever felt, digging your foot in felt like a foot massage with every step.

Marissa braving the extremely cold water… she would do anything for a beautiful beach… well almost!




The entire beach was so incredibly beautiful and with very few people, Marissa and I could have stayed all day but Dale was ready to go find more animals, and look what we found…










…..emu’s and kangaroos. This National Park has wild animals that live in their natural habitat although they may be tagged they are free to roam anywhere. We decided to go on the Prom Wildlife Walk and we ended up being the only other people there next to another family.
We had to walk a little ways back into the bush, at times we were surrounded by Kangaroos which seemed like wildlife heaven. To see them up close and personal with no gates or cages… a zoo will never seem the same!
Dale was also really ‘keen’ (I am getting my Australian accent on a bit) on seeing an Emu and then it appeared. This one has a beautiful blue neck and seems so graceful almost like he was posing just for us. And why wouldn’t he?
At Wilsons Prom you have many options for extended stays such as camping, cabins, cottages and the like. They have a little grocery store, eatery, showers, washing machines, etc… to help make your stay more comfortable.


This was our farewell.
P.S. This day of fun cost us nothing but a little gas and food. That is pretty good for exploring the outback!
We enjoyed a pretty uneventful flight from Melbourne to Brisbane which is always a good thing!
We decided to spend the day exploring Brisbane starting with a drive up the coast to check out the apartment we were going to rent on our return. Luckily the family we are renting from live next door to this condo on Brighton Beach so they invited us in for a drink and a visit. We have found Aussie’s to be very down to earth and fun to talk with….always an adventure wherever you travel here. We also know that Marissa will not be upset about ‘having’ to be across the street from the beach for our month stay here!
We decided to take the FREE water bus (of course) and because of a little rain we had the entire upper level to ourselves….. and the view.


We headed to the ‘South Bank’ to see what travel adventures we could find. As many of you know Michelle is in love with her garden, anything green and healthy… so now you will know why she acted like a kid at Disneyland when she found the Epicurious Garden. This is a garden planted for all visitors to see what can be planted here and for all to enjoy. ‘Epicurious’ refers to someone who is in constant pursuit of great food, drink and adventure. That seems to fit us very well… if you count Green Smoothies as our hard drinks!

Don’t let these cute little purple peppers fool you. Michelle thought they looked so fun she wanted to try one…. HOT! And her middle name is HOT…. she loves anything spicy or hot but this was beyond her limit. She begged for water from a local restaurant before they were even open. Yes, she lived but it was a close call!
Beyond the ‘Epicurious’ Garden was an incredible man-made beach area with waterways and pools for all ages.  A great inner city tropical area to bring your kids and make a day of it. Surrounding the beach are many restaurants and shops….anything your family would want for a day of fun. There are also bikes you can rent for a nominal fee (around $7) to see more as it stretches for miles.
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This beautiful walkway wound around much of the beach area. The flowers were incredible but the smell was even more intoxicating!

Dale has discovered how to make tropical bird sounds with just a piece of grass and LOVES to make the sounds when we are somewhere exotic where there just might be birds that sound that way.  Here he is showing a little boy how to make the sounds himself. Sharing his magic!

Brisbane at night really lights up especially their unique Brisbane letters artwork… the lights and colors are constantly changing every so many seconds. It is a bit mesmerizing to stand and watch.
On the way back to the hotel we debated on dinner… bugs or….. no bugs? Later we found out that is just the term they use for a certain sea creature. It was a relief to know it was not really a ‘bug’!
Travel Saving Tips:
1- Find out if there is FREE transportation where you are visiting.  
We found a Free water bus which came a little less often as the regular water bus but it worked just fine for us (they came about every 1/2 hr.).
2- We did not spend anything walking around the ‘South Bank’ area of Brisbane but we were happily entertained by all that we found. If we would have known we could have brought our swim suits to enjoy the beautiful waterways as we walked around. Even still rolling up your pants and taking off your shoes is a close second.
3- Keep your eye open for ‘Specials’ at restaurants (even on those bugs:).
We enjoyed the Free walking tour so much in Sydney and learned so much…. why not do the same in Melbourne?
Anyone up for some exercise?
Melbourne prides themselves in their Graffiti Artwork amongst
many of the alleyways through out the downtown area.  Some
are so intricate and detailed it 
seems a shame that they are not
perhaps in a gallery waiting to be
shared with the world.
More of downtown Melbourne’s artwork.
This is not only a trolley but a moving restaurant. No need for additional entertainment!
Who doesn’t like cute little penguins?  Apparently in the evening they come up on the rocks in the St. Kilda Marina where our friend, Andrew keeps his boat. Although we accompanied him there before lunch, we were hopeful that we would see something. No luck! Hopefully when we return to Melbourne. 
The wind in St. Kilda was so strong the birds in the video  where almost standing still in the air.  Entertaining….
How would you enjoy a little time in the hot tub about 15 -20 stories up …..hanging over the ledge?

We met a couple on the pier in Sydney that ended up at the same hotel in Melbourne with us, we enjoyed a great conversation that night on the pier so while Renee’s husband was working she joined us sightseeing for a few days.  She braved the wild wind of St. Kilda then enjoyed a beautiful walk through the Botanical Gardens with us to the quint Tea Garden Restaurant.

Our ‘Clean Up-Crew’ was a few local birds that must of been a bit hungry.  

Travel Saving Tips:
1- Find FREE or inexpensive tours where ever you are going by googling the area and ideas for your destination. The FREE tours that we found were incredible and of course, we left a tip.
2- Take the opportunity to find out places that are free to visit in the area such as museums, botanical gardens, etc… In Melbourne the Botanical Garden is free.
For most families, school is over and summer has begun. Memorial Day traditionally is the start of summer, unless you live in our neighborhood where you wake up to snow on the 30th. So where does this summer take you? Most importantly, are you using the tips and suggestion you have learned from “Have Kids – Will Travel”?
For our family this summer will be a busy one. In just a few weeks we will be flying off to Prague, then Vienna and finally Italy where we will visit Venice, Florence and the Amalfi Coast. We have spent a lot of time planning this trip, but this is key to providing the best trip at the lowest possible price. We have realized a few things this time around; With the exchange rate and fuel prices up, they effect nearly every aspect of a trip and if not planned well they can cut into the budget a bit more. These are the unexpected costs that you just have to put an educated guess to. In the end, I believe it will only change our final cost by a few hundreds dollars, but still a cost that is always in flux. 
We came across a new website where we got our flights from Prague to Milan. They even beat out our old favorites, Ryan Air and Easy Jet. www.edreams.net searches all of the discount airlines across Europe and came up with a $47 airfare on an airline where we didn’t have to worry as much about our checked bags, if we choose not to carry on. 
So far we have our airfare booked and paid for. All hotels, house rentals and rental cars paid for and so with that, we are just under $2000.00 (for 6 people)……. we are left with food and fun. My guess is that we will come in somewhere close to $3000.00 for all 6 of us. Because we are moving around so much on this trip we are paying for a few more nights of hotel than we normally would. We created hospitality exchanges where we could and used our Marriott points for many, but there are a few places we just needed a clean comfortable bed and had to pay for them. 
If you’re still in the planning process for this summer here are a few tips:
1) Based on the trends, travel is up. Start looking for airfare early. Use miles when and where you can, but begin the process as early as possible. With fuel prices high, demand high and inventory low the price can only go up.
2) check for airfare late at night. Around midnight seems to be best. Business travelers tend to book during the day and inventory is moving quickly. Late at night can save you hundreds of dollars on a flight. 
3) Clear your internet cookies. If you search but don’t book, the search engine will remember your search and they will only let you see higher fares if you search again. Go to your internet browser and clear your internet cookies. 
4) Look at nearby airports. An example of this was a flight from Salt Lake City to Dallas for $450.00 on Delta. The Delta flight from Boise was only $290.00 saving $150.00 per ticket. The return flight stopped in SLC where you could just walk off with your luggage and not complete the flight to Boise. You will need a cheap Southwest ticket from SLC to Boise one way for just under $50 to start off your trip but you still saved $100.00 per ticket. A family of 6 can save $600.00 and a larger family can save more. 
5) Look for home exchanges and hospitality exchanges and save thousands on your accommodations alone.
Have a wonderful summer holiday and please let us know what you did to save on your family vacation, email us at havekidswilltravel@sisna.com 
*Originally posted 6/19/2011
Can families really travel the world?
We hope as you read our blogs you will get a sense of how absolutely possible it is for families to travel the world. We have been traveling like this with our family for over 10 years now and the difference it has made in our children’s lives is incredible. Our favorite quote is from St. Augustine – “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” It truly is our goal to help families realize how affordable travel can be if you know the right travel secrets and are willing to invest a little bit of time. 


We would like to take you along, through this blog, on our next family vacation and explore Prague, Vienna, Milan and the Amalfi Coast of Italy. Right now we are in the middle of planning so check back for the changes we make as we book the trip of a lifetime for the cost of going camping (almost). 
Why Prague? How do we get there?


First of all, Dale is the reason we are going to Prague.  The kids and I have pretty much dictated our past vacations to destinations they wanted to go. Our oldest daughter has always been fascinated with France. So much so that her minor in college is French and we believe she has been there almost every summer since she was 13. 

Second, why not Prague? It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Untouched by the wars that ravished Europe and full of so much history, it would take years to take it all in. Unfortunately we have only a few days this time around. Our hope is that we get enough of a taste to lure us back many times as other countries have. 
*Originally posted 3/2011