Traveling to a new city every year is our family goal. Other people invest on big houses, luxury cars and jewelry. But for us, we try to invest on making memories and going on adventures. We try to teach our kids also to go out of their comfort zones and experience the world. The experience, the friends we make and sights we see are wealth which cannot be stolen from us.
Some people give up their dream to travel when they have kids especially little ones because they think it is difficult and expensive. It IS more difficult and more expensive than traveling alone or with a partner but I am giving a few tips at the end of each of this 3 part London blog on how we travel with our little ones.
August in London is hot but not as hot in Dubai. 26 degrees during the day and 14 degrees at night (average temperature while we’re there). We checked in at Dolphin House because we got a good deal from Booking.com and we read they had great reviews from Tripadvisor. The staff were really friendly and accommodating. They gave us a cot and a high chair for Kurt. They also had courtyard garden at the back which is a treat. It is 5 mins walk from Pimlico Station and 10 mins walk from Victoria Station. We booked a studio and it was spacious. It had a kitchenette with kettle, fridge and a microwave but my mistake was I didn’t double check if they had a stove. Don’t ask me but Arish is very picky in food and would always look for freshly cooked rice. It is an Asian thing.
Here are a few photos of the hotel
First thing we looked for was the nearest grocery store. There was a Sainsbury 10 mins walk away from the hotel. There was actually a small grocer in the hotel compound but it didn’t have baby food for Kurt.
We took a hop on hop off bus tour from Golden Tours. They had a lot of buses and gave me a discount since we bought Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio tour and Stonehenge tour with them as well. Though when we took the orange route, they didn’t have a lot of buses going that route so we had to wait 30 mins for the next bus. It is a good way to see all the landmarks in one go.
Here are my 15 tips if you are planning to travel as a family and you don’t want to bust your kid’s educational fund nor your retirement savings:
1. Save an amount monthly for travel. This can be a fixed amount or if you have extras, set this aside for travel.
2. Plan a year ahead on how much you will be spending on your travel. Check visa, airline and hotel prices. DOn’t forget to use incognito windows when doing this as airline and hotel websites have tendencies to increase prices when you check back again. Based on your budget, choose the city you want to visit without spending beyond your budget.
3. When planning your daily expenses for that trip, double it. You will never know when you will need to get that taxi ride or if you want to buy that souvenir that you like.
4. Since we have little kids, eating in restaurants was not a daily plan. Number one, because they will rarely sit still and tantrums might erupt anytime. So choose a hotel where there will be a kitchen or kitchenette so you will have an option of home cooked meals. Also check if there will be a nearby grocery. This will save you money and your kids will have some more time to relax.
5. Hop on hop offs can save you money and energy when you have little kids. Underground was the cheapest and fastest way to go around London but with a buggy/stroller and kids in tow, up and down staircases will be tedious. Besides, they get to go on the buses for free…(well not when they are older).
Five more tips on my next post. And more photos!