Tag: Inexpensive vacations

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


320.5We always dreamed of traversing the waterways of Venice on a Gondola with a real Italian who slowly navigated our way, serenading us as we sit back into each others arms, taking in the beauty of the architecture, sites and sounds of Italy. A few years back we fulfilled this dream. Sitting for a brief moment in time, with the breathless reality that we were free from the cares of the world until the silence was broken from directly behind us… 

“Are we there yet?”  Yes, our third son was getting a bit impatient with the lack of speed our wonderful ride was providing. The other four children seemed to be somewhat content with the pace, but we have one son, as I’m sure every family does, who’s tempo is a bit more of a speedboat. So much for that moment of ‘romance’.


Yes, we took our four children plus one extra on our perfect romantic vacation to Italy, and it wasn’t the first time nor would it be the last. See, my husband and I have a passion for travel and though a second honeymoon would be nice, the most important thing we can do for our children is to share our passion for exploration with our children. 


Italy+067Our family began traveling overseas when our youngest daughter was three. Actually she had her fourth birthday on that trip. You might well wonder how much of a trip like this would sink in or if she would even understand much of what we were trying to do. Our hope however, was that in some small way she would begin to see her world as something just a bit bigger than the sandbox she typically enjoyed during the summer months. Our other children were nine, eleven and thirteen respectively. 


Traveling with children isn’t always easy, but if done with a purpose it is extremely rewarding. Our little four year old exceeded our wildest dreams and even at fourteen she still remembers vividly her first trip to France and England. Just ask her about her birthday cake at the hotel in the shadow of the chateau where Leonardo Di Vinci lived and is now buried or when we finally got to England and she could finally, somewhat, understand everyone. There is so much she can still recall and so many incredible memories made, that we hope will last a lifetime.
Why then travel with your children? You may have a different answer than we do. For some it might be to just get away to just say, “been there, done that”. To others it might be for the adventure itself or to explore new cultures and ideas. To us, it has been a vital part of our children’s education. Now, after ten years, it has become a way of life, but most importantly it has been an education. The Greek, “exegesis” means to “draw out of”. When we travel, especially with our children we try to use this principle as our main purpose to our adventure. Often our trips have taken a year to plan and prepare for. They first start off by studying the area, the cultures both past and present. Understanding some of the language and the historical notes that have made a difference in how we do things today. Seeing what interests each child and when you find it, start digging deeper and then, together study it out. This is when the fun begins and the trip is set.


On one of our trips was, as mentioned above, Italy.  Others have included France, Germany, Switzerland, Honduras, Belize, China and Mexico, all multiple times, England, Canada, Spain, the Caribbean and nearly every state in the US. We have done all this with our children in tow and with the express purpose to educate and immerse them into the world around them. Our trip to Italy was probably by far our personal favorite because it was then that we really started to discover how best to travel with purpose and direction. Now before we go on, we want those who are thinking, “Well that’s nice but an average family could never afford to do vacations like this”, to get those notions out of their heads. We once thought this too until we discovered reality is what you make it. Most of these trips to Europe were with seven of us and were for a duration of three weeks and cost less than $3000.00, for everyone and everything including air. Most of our trips in the US were kept around $200.00 per person total including places like Hawaii. No, we didn’t sleep in the parks or even hostels. In fact we have slept in Marriott’s, Castles and in Italy we made a 600-year-old restored farmhouse, just outside of Florence in the Tuscan hills our base camp. The best part is that any family, any size on any income can travel the world this way, you just have to know the secrets and take the time and effort to plan… with your family! 
The benefits however are worth any cost, the fact that we have been able to do this at minimal expense is just icing on the cake. As our children have grown they have developed a greater understanding of the world, the problems facing their generation and have been able to, for the most part they kept “unplugged” from the distractions facing most kids their age. Travel brings a greater sense of self with a better understanding and compassion for others less fortunate. It provides a greater gratitude for even the small things they have and opens their world to opportunities and erases perceived barriers others wish to portray. 
We believe it is a direct correlation to the travels they have experienced that has been responsible for their being accepted at the ages of 15 and 16 to their University studies with full academic scholarships, for their love of the arts and their acceptance of cultures and differences in others. For these reasons and a host of others, travel in our opinion is essential in these difficult times for this next generation. 
So the next time you think about a wonderful getaway as a couple with children turn that thought into traveling with your children and immerse your family into this incredible, wonderful world. 
*Originally posted 5/2011
We specialize in family travel, but sometimes mom and dad need a vacation and our motto changes to ‘No Kids – Will Travel’! For valentines Dale decided to take his wonderful wife (wink, wink:) to New York City for an extended weekend. Even with great airfare of $269.40 RT from SLC to JFK, a five day, four night stay in NYC would cost just under $2000.00. ($538.80-air, $179/night x 4 nights -$800.00 with taxes, $300.00 Broadway tickets and about $250.00 for food). 


Following the techniques in the book, Have Kids – Will Travel, (www.havekids-willtravel.com) we will do this trip for just under $600.00. or about the cost of airfare alone. Tonight we are headed to dinner and then a Jazz club, then tomorrow a day in the city and a night at the Theatre. We will keep you informed as to how well we keep to this budget and all the fun we have in New York for Valentines day. 

*Originally posted 3/2011