We had a lovely trip to Singapore and Thailand at the end of August. I'll post some photos and notes in the next few days. But I have to write a bit about my experience reading blogs about travel and traveling with kids.
I read a lot of posts about "saving" money while traveilng. Mostly about transportation cost, using miles, hotels, etc. Of course there are a bunch of bloggers writing about traveling with kids first class because of miles and getting free airline hotel comps or cruise comps. They aren't exactly average joes looking for a deal. Their job is blogging and ads and evaluating where they are going. So it's not really easy to discern how expensive traveling with kids is or how easy or hard it really. And of course there are a ton of bloggers who are single or couples doing it super cheap not constrained by school schedules and use to paying for a family of four.
So I just wanted to put it out there reality wise for all those blogs I read about food, transportation, etc.
1. When you travel as a family of 4 or 5, sometimes it's cheaper to use a cab. No public transit is not cheaper. I can prove it with my uber rides versus paying $2 a person for a one way subway and having to walk. We did use the subway/bus/walk because of the experience and fun. But the truth is that with 4 people it's often more economical to use a grab. I made a conscious decision not to buy a $5 transit pass card because I suspected that using ubers would be more efficient and I was right.
Also after a long day it's often times easier to go straight back and not waste an extra 30-60 minutes navigating a subway/walking/waiting with kids and maximize rest times.
2. Hotels often in Europe and Asia are built for 2. It's way more expensive and harder to find rooms accomodating families. You can easily get 2 rooms but then you are sharing with one adult one kid. The rooms are smaller and meant for couples.
3. Food stalls are awesome as a single or couple. It's somewhat painful to go eat at food courts with a family where you have to get your kids food, navigate a seat, get your food, and navigate trying to accomodate everything.
4. Kids need down time. Even older kids aren't as resilient as adults. A lot of flexibility and change need to happen.
5. Carrying around a lot more and spending more. I already had a backpack on the entire time filled with sunscreen, 1 water bottle, napkins, tissues, hand sanitizer. And I still spent more than those couples/singles with their one bottle. I bought from vending machines and 7-11 drinks because it's awful to carry around 4 drinks. I learned that years ago. 1 bottle of water to refill in case of emergency and you buy everything else you need along the way. Water/drinks are cheap compared to the effort of carrying it.
6. Food - i missed the michelin star food hawker stalls in singapore because trying to find it and wait in line impossible. I had fantastic food and we had a fabulous time, but as a family? You have to let go and go with the flow rather than making perfection happen.
7. Sometimes you just do the experience in front of you instead of what you planned. There were all these itineraries of "travel" warriors for seeing everything. Couldn't be done with my two kids ages 11 and 13. They just couldn't hack those days. Our itinerary was jammed packed for a family, but it still didn't come close to what bloggers write.
8. I paid extra to sit up front in economy going and we lucked out to have no one sitting next to DH and DK1 grabbed and empty row. Coming back I forked over $450 per person for economy plus on our mileage tickets and it was worth every penny.
9. Find a hotel with an amazing pool. We had three crazy pools and it was incredible. We needed downtime to just relax.
10. When you land you pay a premium to eat either in the hotel as a family or nearby but often you are too exhausted to care where or what you eat. Our most expensive meals were when we couldn't move.
I just had to post a few thoughts on traveling with kids. I guess I found myself a bit cynical after reading a lot of blogs about itineraries and ideas. But none really hit on traveling with kids.
FWIW, it's awesome and fun to travel with our kids. We always have a blast and our experiences if you've read my blog the photos have been good. But for anyone who thinks it's what other bloggers write? Or try to experience or do it on the cheap?
It's not. Even reading about people going to disney? There are way to do it cheaper but cheap? Or to do it the way some single or couples do it? with a family? Impossible. So cut yourself a break and enjoy the ride.