Hotel or Vacation Rental?

This can be a tricky question, but hopefully we can help.

First and foremost, how much space do you need?  This will play into whether a hotel will work or whether a vacation rental would be a better fit.  To be honest, in most cases with kids, we’d probably recommend a rental.

Why go with a vacation rental?

Rentals are great for so many reasons, but here are a few:

Rooms with doors that close–let’s face it, if you’ve got a sleeping baby, or a child going to sleep before the parents, it’s pretty much critical.  It’s not always possible, and I can attest that when it’s not possible, and you end up in a hotel room with a baby crib right at your side, you may come up hours short on your sleep.  But when it is possible, even if it’s two bedrooms with doors that close, it can make a huge difference.

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credit cards

Risks of points and miles mentality

Generally, living the life of a points- or miles-earner is easy.  You apply for a card.  You meet the minimum spend requirements, and then you carry on your life as a consumer using a credit card for purchases wherever practical.

There are a few things that happen if you get into it very far, though, so you’d might as well be aware:

  1. You might justify a purchase based on how many miles you’re going to earn from it.  ALERT!  ALERT!  ALERT!  You’ll quickly eat up the money saved on free travel if you buy that 65-inch LED TV that you don’t really need if you’re doing so “because it will earn you enough points to get you halfway to Europe.”  Um…just put the cash towards four tickets to Europe.  Done. Read more
Credit Card Issuers

Earn trips with everyday spending

We’ve traveled three times as a family overseas, each time for free or a significantly lower price thanks to points and miles. Plus, I’ve helped much of my wife’s family do the same. We had a little extra motivation to help my them plan overseas travel for less, since her parents have been living in Portugal on a three-year assignment. Rather than Grandma and Grandpa miss out entirely on their growing grandchild brood for these three years, I jumped in with guidance on how to earn the free travel. And sure enough, three other families have either taken their Portugal trip on points/miles or will have done so by the fall.

How does one get started in this? It’s not too tricky–and I’ll try to keep it that way–but first and foremost Read more

Sintra Family Picture

Can we really afford a family trip to Europe?

Sometimes when we tell people about one of our family trips, like last Christmas’ trip to Portugal, we get funny looks.  The funny looks stem from a variety of sentiments.  Sometimes it’s the “Why would I want to take my children with me on a big trip?” response.  Sometimes it’s more along the lines of “Why go so far away?”  But often it’s as simple as “There is no way I could afford that.”

Just how much does a family trip to Europe cost? Read more