I enjoy traveling and for me figuring out our family’s travel is like figuring out a complex math problem, that I love to solve. I’m always trying to find the best flight at the perfect time for the cheapest cost. Fun fact about Scott, “I love saving money.” When I go to find tickets for anyone, the first place I go to is skiplagged.com. Skiplagged is a website that figured out how the major airlines priced their tickets and put it on their website so people can get find the cheapest tickets. United Airlines sued them behind this and lost, so they are proven to be legit. I check the site to see which airline has flights going where I am looking to go and all the time options. You can see entire flight schedules from airlines. Then I take my search to the individual website of the airline that has the top flights I am interested in. Considering the amount that we travel each yearq and the money we spend, I tend to stick to the major airlines Delta and American, or Southwest with short nearby travel because it’s good to take advantage of frequent flyer programs. When you fly and have status on an airline, they tend to treat you the better including free seat upgrades and other amenities that make flying so much better.
My other favorite travel resource is Tripadvisor.com for accommodations. I check the website for top hotels in the area we are traveling to, read through reviews and make decisions based on the tons of information they provide. I feel its a legit source for any traveler figuring out where they want to stay and give you rates that provide an opportunity for you to maximize your budget.
Now that you know where to look when it comes to booking travel either solo or for your family, let’s talk about what you should think about when you sit down to create your itinerary and purchase tickets and accommodations.
I am a geek when it comes to booking travel. I prefer to find direct flights at any time possible because when you travel a lot you don’t want to make stops. Direct flights are more expensive but if they fit into your budget it will be a better travel experience. If you want to fly cheaper, always connect to one of the major cities. Look for travel to or from major airline hubs, as they will give you countless flight options at the best rates. Let’s say we need to go from Phoenix to New York City, I will book us on American Airlines because I know that Phoenix is an American Airlines hub. If we are flying to a city that’s, not a hub for American Airlines I try to find out what airline uses it’s airport as a hub if any and always consider that airline first when looking to book.
When traveling with our entire family we build a lot of our bookings around the boys. I always consider their schedule and what the experience will be for them traveling when building our itineraries. For example, the boys wake up early around 7 am, they take a nap around 11 am, are back up at 1 pm and then are in bed for the night at 7 pm. We try to go as early as possible so we can get them on the road and not disrupt their sleep schedules. They are typically happiest in the morning when they’ve had 10 hours of sleep. Also, it’s always best to fly early in the morning because when you think about flying, it’s a system. Typically, each morning all the planes and airlines are starting on time. In the morning planes are waiting for travelers. Always try and fly in the morning because the later you fly in the day the more likely you are to experience delays.
Okay, we have talked about getting to the destination, now let’s talk about getting around while we are there. We usually do rental cars for most cities except New York. Both Shaun and I get car sick, so we like to be able to drive ourselves. The beauty of a lot of rental car agencies that they have plenty of car options, and other things we would need ready and availability like car seats. 90% of the time we are renting the car so we can control our time and access to everything we need for the family-like groceries, running errands, etc. If your traveling with infants and kids in NYC, they do have car services for kids, kid cars, with drivers that have kid seats in the car already so that people with kids can get around the city.
A fracAnd where should you stay? It depends on where we are traveling and who is with us. If the boys are traveling with us it’s 99% likely that we are staying at an Airbnb or other house rentals. The way we have raised our kids when its time for them to sleep, we put them to bed and leave the room. If we are in a hotel, we can’t walk away from where the boys are sleeping which will keep them up and distracted. With an Airbnb, we can have a room for the boys and a room for us. If we are in a hotel with the boys then we have to have adjoining rooms for this same reason. For example, we are going to Fort Collins for the fitness festival and there were no Airbnb’s available, so we called the hotel and ask them if they have adjoining rooms, giving the boys a room and us a room. When it’s just Shaun and me traveling, I always think about the experience we want to have. Look for hotels and accommodations that have amenities that may include the things you want to do or see in the destination you are traveling to. There are so many amazing options!
Specifically, when traveling during the holidays, try and leave before the rush. Thanksgiving is coming up, try and leave before the days of holiday. Traveling on off days is always cheaper and less stressful. Regular general travelers leave during the weekends on like a Friday and come back Monday or Sunday. The business travelers will travel on Monday and Friday. The off days are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. If you can travel on those days (and those days don’t happen to be a holiday) you will see a cheaper ticket and shorter lines at the airport. Sign up for TSA precheck or global entry to get through security faster, take out less stuff from your bag, and the ability to keep your shoes on.
And there you have it! My travel advice for getting to your destination while also staying within your budget. I hope you craft the perfect holiday travel itineraries that get you and your family to your favorite destinations safely and happily this holiday season. Post a comment below about your favorite tip, or send me an instastory on IG @Scottphotobombs.