Tag: Prague


The Perfect Family Vacation
As many of you know, our family just competed our summer vacation using most of the ideas and techniques we talk about. We really want you to know we live what we talk about so that you can be assured it is possible. 
 Our trip took us first to Prague for four days/three nights. We stayed in a wonderful apartment, which fit all six of us perfectly and had a kitchen that we used to cut down on the food cost. ($89.00/night) Keep in mind the hostel down the street was $18/night which is fine if you are traveling by yourself but as you can see the apartment was much less for six of us. Keep this in mind when you are looking at Bed & Breakfasts, Hostels and other accommodations, what is the charge per person. 
We then rented a car and drove to Vienna, Austria to stay again for three nights. We found a new place for car rentals in Europe that had incredible prices – $120 for the rental and we spent nearly that for gas (a little over $8/gal), $105.  The company we went through was Argus Car Rentals and the price included the insurance which is important. We stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott, which was just a block away from the Shonbrunn Palace and the best part, it was FREE. We used our Marriott reward points as we talk about in chapter three of our book. 
From Vienna we drove back to Prague and stayed again for FREE at the Courtyard by Marriott at the Prague airport then a next day flight to Milan Italy. We thought about driving from Vienna down through Italy but the drop off fee for the car was over $1000 and our flights to Italy were only $34. We also rented a car in Italy from Argus for $407 for the two weeks. 
We stayed two nights in Venice, $90/night at the Hotel Piave. This was a quad room in Mestre just outside of Venice. We then stayed at our favorite place in Italy, Capezzana, at the farm house for three nights at $53 /night finally 2 nights in Florence at an apartment $55/night. 
We then stayed the remainder of our time in Sorrento along the Amalfi Coast at no cost with some amazing friends. Our last night was also FREE at the Marriott in Milan before we flew home. 
So, a breakdown of the cost. We spent more than the last time we were here mainly because of the exchange rate and gas prices. We also stayed in more “pay” places because we moved around so much.
Breakdown for 6 people

Item                                  Our cost                                  Regular price
Airfare (all flights)                   $656                                        $10,600
Accommodation                     $716                                        $2,040
Rental Car & Gas                   $1,032                                     $2,360
Food                                     $1,260                                     $2,340
Misc/Souvenirs                      $865                                        $865
Total                                     $4,529                                     $18,205   

We saved $13,676 on this trip using the ideas in ‘Have Kids – Will Travel’.
*Originally posted 7/2011




As with all of our destinations we were quite sad to leave Vienna, mainly because there was so much more to see. This however only gives us more reason to return. We drove back to Prague stopping at the Bone Church in Kutna Hora and the Karlstejn Castle. The bone church was very interesting. It is decorated with the bones of the people who died during the Plague. There are tens of thousands of bones creating chandeliers, wall creations and more. Probably the best part was meeting a young couple that has spent 10 months traveling through Asia and Europe and just talking about travel.


Note to self… The Karlstejn Castle is closed on Mondays. This castle is just 15 minutes from the Prague airport by car. The castle is magnificently set on a hill overlooking the very small town of Karlstejn. Because the castle was closed most everything else was too, so we walked around and took beautiful pictures. The drive there and back was also beautiful as we drove through the countryside and small villages into the mountains. 




We then returned to the Marriott Courtyard where we had two free rooms waiting for us. Prague airport is very interesting. It isn’t a big airport but had great facilities and even a grocery store, which we used to buy items for breakfast. We then relaxed for the evening and got ready for our flight out the next day to Milan, Italy. 




We really have jumped around more on this trip than we usually do, trying new things as far as accommodations and such. Probably the best tip we could give you for both Czech and Austria is to get a place where you can fix your own meals. Restaurants weren’t too bad, but with six people it still adds up. Groceries were very reasonable and in the Czech, we believe they were even less than in the US. 


See you in Italy!
*Originally posted 6/2011
Legend has it that a man was traveling through this region by horseback and came to the Vitava river. He needed to get to the other side of the river, keep in mind this is a huge river, and he jumped his horse across the river and in honor of his victory over the river he had a cathedral built at that spot. This is where Prague began and this is also where we walked to at the end of our day three, boy we wish we had a horse. We didn’t realize how long of a walk it was. But it was beautiful and the view of the city was incredible. We were also able to see an incredible fireworks show with the Prague Castle as the backdrop. 



Today we went to Prague Castle. A quick note and reminder, if you have children over 16 and they are students, have them bring their student ID’s. Most places will provide a 50% discount for students. We walked all over the castle side of the city and then climbed a mountain to get an incredible view of the city and the bridges crossing the river. 
IMG_3452Dale discovered that an iPod is an invaluable tool for travelers. The best app he found is called Text Free with Voice. It works similar to Magic Jack but is free. They assign you a free US telephone number and you can buy 100 minutes for $1.99 and when you are connected to a wifi you can use it like a phone and call your friends and family back home cheap! The other app we recommend is a good currency converter.  This really helps keep the budget in check when you can tell how much something really cost in our money. The other app we have used is our walking tours app we talked about in our last blog. Of course facebook and other apps that help you stay connected are quick and easy. 
Tomorrow we leave this beautiful city and drive to Vienna. We will stop along the way and see the beautiful country of Czech Republic. It is so sad to say goodbye to a city like Prague when there is so much more to see. It will just mean we will need to come back again and again!
*Originally posted 6/2011
Prague Castle from the Charles Bridge
We arose early only to fall back to sleep which was much needed. First on the agenda was Prague City Old Town. We arrived just as the astronomical clock was about to strike. To our surprise there were live trumpeters on the very top of the tower who also announced the time. We met a friend of one of our neighbors back in Utah who lives in Prague and he took us on a tour of the city. We were also lucky to find out he is an architect and was able to explain the different buildings and when they were built. 
Old town


In addition to Old Town we did a tour of the Jewish quarter. This was incredible especially the Jewish cemetery. They were only given a small piece of land and many were buried on top of each other or standing up to conserve space. We used a great app on the iPod, which we found very useful. There is a lite version and a full version, which cost a few dollars but is worth it. It gives you walking tours and the Jewish Heritage was one. It provides you with a map and information about each site you visit. We have also down loaded one for Vienna. There are 15 different self-guided walking tours for Prague and each one looks incredible. 




IMG_3443We also went to the grocery store and bought enough food to last us the rest of our time here and the drive to Vienna. The total cost of that was not much more than our lunch this afternoon for all six of us at a restaurant. As we about in our book, this is one of the best ways to cut down on the cost of food while traveling. Cook and eat like a local. It is so fun trying to figure out what different things are called and to pick up a few local foods and try them out. We picked up a very interesting fruit tonight. The verdict is still out on how well it was enjoyed, but it was different and it was something we have never tasted before. 


Tonight we were welcomed back on St Charles Bridge with a beautiful sunset. Took some incredible pictures, walked across to the other side and visited some shops. I think we wore everyone out, we haven’t heard any complaints on going to bed. 

Tomorrow is Prague Castle and exploring the other side of the river. What an incredible day! 

*Originally posted 6/2011
After what seemed like eternity, we arrived last night in Prague. We continued to have our challenges as all of our luggage arrived except for one. However, Air France had already sent word to the Prague airport that they would be sending it o the next flight and we should have it by morning. 


Right before our flight from Salt Lake we were notified by the people renting us the apartment, that the Mozart apartment we booked had water issues and they would need to move us to a different apartment down the street. Although this new apartment didn’t have the reputation of having Mozart staying there, it is a beautiful apartment and is much closer to Old Town Prague than the Mozart. The building was built in the 15th Century and has room for seven. The kids all slept in the main room where they combined beds to make a giant bed, while Dale and I had the bedroom. It has a full bath and a large kitchen, which will come in handy and will save us on our food budget. If you are planning to stay in Prague we highly recommend www.pragueresidences.com. As we walked to the bridge last night we stopped at a Hostel just to compare prices. The cheapest, dorm style rooms with no privacy  $17/night/person compared to our $20/night/person/apartment.
Jet lagging sleep time. They pulled all the beds together into one ginormous bed!
Our cute apartment from the outside
A few blocks to the left is St. Charles Bridge where you can get the most incredible view of the Prague Castle. A few blocks to the right is Old Town Square where we will begin our exploration of the city tomorrow.  Tonight we took a short walk to the bridge and to get acquainted with the streets around the apartment. Prague is lively, streets full of people, small shops tucked away in every corner. We can’t wait to discover some hidden treasures. 
*Originally posted 6/2011
When you travel, especially during the peak travel season you should always expect hiccups, changes, delays and even frustrations. We arrived at the airport two hours before our flight, which for us is incredible. You can imagine that with four kids we typically arrive at the last minute, running through the security and sitting down just as they closed the doors.  So this time we were pretty proud of ourselves. That is until we handed our passports and itinerary to the ticketing agent and he gave me that look. Dale has flown enough to know that look, either something was wrong or we were in for an adventure. Actually, no matter what the best thing to do is remain calm and just let them explore the options, which is just what we did. 


IMG_3429We soon found that our flight to Atlanta was delayed by over two hours. This definitely put a kink into our one-hour layover in Atlanta connection to Prague. While Curt, our agent was trying to figure out a better solution, Delta emailed Dale twice and called him three times letting him know something we were now well aware of. They had automatically re-routed us from Salt Lake to Los Angeles to Amsterdam to Paris and finally to Prague. Not the best solution in our minds. So we waited while Curt typed away like a teenager texting after drinking three cans of Cola and he came up with a much better solution, a non-stop flight to Paris and then a short flight to Prague. However, because this flight was so full, he couldn’t provide us with seat assignments. Hummmmmmm, new problem, new adventure. In addition, the new flight wasn’t until later in the afternoon, but to our surprise Curt provided us with $60 in food vouchers, which took care of our lunch and was a wonderful surprise. 




We finally got to our gate only to find out that coach was totally full. The only seats were the new Economy Comfort seats Delta sells for an additional $60.00 each, but they do have more legroom and recline twice as far as typical coach seating. To our delight, and because those were the only seats available we were all upgraded at no charge. 




In the end, the lesson learned was; Relax, count on a few delays. Also remember that the frustrations often turn out to be blessings. First, we were wondering what to do about lunch as there was no meal service on our original flight from Salt Lake to Atlanta and we had such a short layover. In this case we had a complementary lunch on Delta. Second, we were upgraded to better seating and a much more palatable itinerary. Yes we have had to spend a few unexpected hours in the airport but we received over $400 in compensation and had fun playing card games with the kids. 




Keep this in mind the next time you run into either a hiccup, change or delay on a future flight. Your outcome will largely be dictated by how you react to the adventure ahead of you. Tomorrow we will be in one of the most beautiful cities in the world and our adventure will not begin, it will just continue.
*Originally posted on 6/2011
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
As our children get older it becomes more and more difficult to schedule these family trips. One of our sons will have to miss this adventure. He will be beginning his MBA at the University. So our oldest, married daughter quickly let us know that her and her husband would gladly fill in for him. So there will be Six of us traveling. Since there are no gas stations or roads for that matter from the U.S. to Prague, we opted for the quicker more conformist mode of transportation, the airplane. After a few hours with the airline figuring which route would be the best we booked our flight in to Prague and out of Milan Italy for only $98 round trip for each of us. Ok….. wait you are saying…. Did they just make a huge typo? Let us spell it out so there is no confusion… ninety-eight dollars and zero cents. Total. Air, taxes, fees. 
Fireworks over Prague


Now up to this point you were probably thinking this was going to be a cute family blog on how some rich family flew to some exotic European vacation and how jealous you would be as you lived vicariously through their words. We bet we have your attention!


 We don’t travel like a normal family and the thing is, anyone can travel this way too, if you know the secrets. These aren’t some weird ‘join a time-share or travel club that you will never use’ type of secrets. They are time tested, every day, any trip kind of secrets you can use too. Now the point of this blog isn’t to go through all the nuts and bolts of how we do this, because that would be way too boring and not everyone is going to do it the same way each time. 


There are many different ways to get airfare like we mentioned and one might work better for you than for someone else. So the best place to read on how to accomplish this can be found on our website, http://www.havekids-willtravel.com, where you will be able to order a copy of our book ‘Have Kids-Will Travel and read how you too can travel like a King for the price of Disneyland or less. 


Currently this is where we sit with our trip… Airfare, done. Michelle found out that Vienna is only 3 hours from Prague and has always wanted to go, so we will spend 4 days in Prague and 3 days in Vienna (what a wonderful husband she has:). We are looking for the best and least expensive mode of transportation now along with accommodations. In our next blog we will fill you in on how those are coming along. We hope this finds you wanting to know more!

 – May all your travels be Free – 

*Originally posted 3/11
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