Tag: Vienna


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
We began the day at the Spanish Riding School watching the most magnificent horses perform. The Lipizzaner horses are among the most beautiful in the world and when Marissa  found out we were going to be in Vienna and could watch them, she had to go. The show was magnificent. Dale grew up training horses and couldn’t believe the discipline and training that has gone into this Lipizzaner performance. There are several ticket choices from the very expensive, for the upfront and personal view, to standing tickets for 26 Euro, which is what they got. Also there were only three who went, Marissa, Tim and Dale. They would also recommend purchasing them no later than the day before and preferably online well before the show. There are only limited shows and they sell out quick. 

After the show they met up with the rest of our crew and went to the Shonbrunn Palace, which was only a few blocks from our hotel. This was the summer home to the Imperial family who ruled Europe. As mentioned in our last blog Prague had a very old Europe, medieval feel while Vienna had an imperial high class feel to it. The Imperial family built palaces throughout the region of grand elegance and this palace was no exception. It had a similar feel to the Versailles with grand rooms and incredible grounds that now houses a zoo. There is a cost to get in the

The girls at the Shonbrunn Palace

Palace but it includes an audio tour, which is amazing. The fee also includes the maze and entrance to the top of the building on the hill behind the palace. 



After the Visit to the Palace we took the metro beck into town where we had the most incredible Apple Strudel at the Café Sperl a very old authentic café. We made it just in time for the last four pieces and devoured them before the waitress could bring us our water. They didn’t serve dinner there so after our desert we slipped into a wonderful noodle café and had Thai noodles and Pa-Thai and everyone was full and very happy. 
As mentioned before, everywhere you go someone is trying to sell you a performance. Keep in mind you are in the land of Mozart and Strauss and it would almost be a crime not to see a performance while here. We negotiated what we thought was a good price for both a Mozart and Strauss concert. It was to take place in the concert hall that is part of the Hofburg Palace in the place where Mozart had his first performance with his father and sister.  The concert was very nice, but it was over sold by the salesman who was telling us about the number of people in the orchestra etc. For the price, is was a great night of culture, in the city of culture. 
Tomorrow we leave Vienna and travel back to Prague with a few stops along the way to see more of the Czech countryside. 




 *Originally posted 6/2011




Day+5When planning this trip we hadn’t planned on coming to Vienna but we were told by many that it deserved a visit, that it was their favorite city and was even more beautiful than Prague. After seeing pictures of Prague we couldn’t believe that could be possible so we had to see for ourselves.  Now having seen both, we can see why people love it so. The architecture and feel is much different however from Prague. Prague has an older more rustic kingdom type feel to it, where Vienna has a more majestic monarch or imperial feel. Instead of castles, you have palaces and Vienna also has a more metropolitan feel to it. Both are incredible and both should be on your list to visit. 
Over the years we have had about 14 or so exchange students. Our second one was Milena from Germany. We have kept in contact with them all over the years and found out that she had moved to Vienna to go to school. We had the privilege today in reuniting with her and spending the afternoon catching up on her life and having her be our tour guide for this beautiful city. It was interesting to note that she was Marissa’s age when she first came to visit our family 10 years ago. Her family was the first hospitality exchange we experienced in Europe.
IMG_3909Vienna has an incredible metro transportation system and we recommend getting the 24-hour pass, which cost 5 Euro and allows you full access. It is very clean and very easy to use. You pop up out of any station and your mouth drops at yet another Palace or Opera house or the magnificent Cathedral or church. One thing we found was that around every corner was someone to sell you tickets to a performance. Negotiation is the key here and walk away if you feel they are working the deal too hard. They will tell you that they only have a few seats left and if you wait you won’t get any by each other. We waited, got a better deal and tomorrow we will find out what kind of deal we really got. We ended up with tickets to ‘The Best of Mozart and Strauss’ in the Hofburg Palace for 20 Euro each. Marissa, Tim and Dale are also going to see the ‘Lipizzaner Stallion’ performance in the morning. Marissa loves horses and is so excited to see these magnificent horses in action. 
Most of the day was spent exploring, and just taking in the city. We are so glad we added it to our itinerary, it was well worth the small side trip. The FREE hotel at the Marriott was not a bad price either!:) 



*Originally posted 6/2011


We were so sad to say goodbye to Prague. What a beautiful city!


We rented a car and drove to Vienna today. (A three-hour drive) In years past we have always used maps to provide us with our driving instructions but this time we downloaded the Europe maps to our GPS. There is something to be said about using old-fashioned maps, but the GPS is incredible when you need to get to your hotel in the city. It also doesn’t take naps, which seems to be very important for the navigator who should be directing you from the passenger seat but really wants to close her/his eyes and catch up on a little sleep. The other nice thing about the GPS is that it provides you with attractions and historical places along your route and also gives you their distance off the main road. Although stumbling onto a treasured small village while on your way to another place is always a treat. 

We stopped off at a few different places along our route and still made it to Vienna in time for a nice Austrian dinner near the hotel. The next three nights we are staying at the Courtyard by Marriott for FREE using the tips found in our book, ‘Have Kids – Will Travel’. From here we will explore Wien (Vienna) with its Opera houses and Lipizzan horses. Remember this was the home to both Strauss and Mozart so we hope to catch some incredible music during the music festival, which is on Sunday. 


For now it is time to say our first “Gute Nacht” from Austria. 

*Originally posted 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
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