That’s the best title I could come up with, LOL. Hope you are doing great? I am ending the year with the last post I promised to share. I have been traveling Internationally with my kids since my daughter was 4 months old and my son was 2 (chuck that to being newbie parents) going on over 7 years so I have a bit of experience here. This post isn’t just for parents traveling with their little ones, I will be sharing how I save on my European trips, how you can save and mistakes to avoid.
One of my best memories as a child was traveling out of Nigeria to London for holidays. Travel is truly the one thing that you can give that leaves a lasting impression. It’s one of the reasons why as a couple me and my spouse give this priority over gifts for our kids. Now to the tips, you came here for!
Planning is everything
Traveling to Europe (specifically London and Paris) is not the cheapest places if you don’t plan ahead. So start planning now! I am already planning our family trips for next year. Just like with everything, it helps cos lets face it life happens. I just came back from a 6-day family vacation to Bermuda (which was so fun and relaxing, I’ll have the recap up for my January travel post) and I had most of the trip planned by September. We scored super reasonable tickets then under $400. Give yourself a few months and the earlier you begin planning the better! Start a travel fund today and start doing your research now not a few months before.
Tip: Put your miles and credit card rewards to good use. We book free trips from miles we saved up using our Amex Delta card.
Time of the year is important
We chose June to travel because it is one of the cheapest months to travel to London and Paris that also has fantastic weather. I knew this because I did my research. Our goal was to travel to these places and be back within that month. School is out for us in May, so it worked out. Aside from June being one of the cheapest, it is also not a high month for tourists in these countries unlike say July/August when these cities are packed with tourists. September is another good month to travel especially towards the end of the month.
Ticket price tip: I use Google Flights to monitor flight prices and play around with dates. I booked our flight directly from the airline over the phone(Virgin Atlantic) it ended up being cheaper than buying my ticket online. We also flew out of NYC cheaper than flying out of Atlanta.
London is a good place to fly into
If you plan to travel to Paris or say any other European country, I highly recommend flying into London because flying or taking the train to other countries from London is super affordable. Flights to Paris for under $150 kinda affordable. Train rides for $75 or less to Paris. Do you get the drill? The earlier you book these trips matters too.
Tip: Fly into Heathrow or Gatwick and book early don’t be like me. I booked our flight to Paris late and it cost more than it should have.
Don’t wait to the last minute to book your accommodation
If you plan to stay in these cities for a long time or even a short stay, I highly recommend booking an apartment hotel or Airbnb. I chose an apartment hotel over Airbnb because I wanted the best of both worlds, someone to do the daily cleaning up but I wanted the space of an apartment (we were in London for almost 2 weeks) While staying further away from London might be cheaper, you will spend less on transportation and have a lot around you if you stay in the city. We stayed in South Kensington. Walking distance to a lot of the Museums. Same goes for Paris.
Tip: Hotels.com is a good place to search for apartment hotels but also compare prices before you book. The hotels themselves sometimes have better deals.
Familiarize yourself with Public Transport
You will not only save a lot of money when you use public transportation but you will also save time(forget traffic) I especially love the tube system in London. It is easy to navigate and they have excellent helpers at each train station. I have mixed feelings about the Paris train system, I skipped it all together on our last trip. I wished I didn’t after I saw our Uber fare from the trip. Even if you don’t speak French you can navigate the train system, the maps are super helpful and on a previous trip to Paris, I used it easily.
Plan your itinerary for your entire time
While you can’t do this for every single day, it is super helpful so you can plan for sightseeing and downtime. Decide where you want to go and plan days and see the best time of the day to visit. You don’t want to spend all day in line trying to see the Lourve or get on the London Eye. Also planning your itinerary helps with budgeting (knowing the costs to these places) There are a lot of things to do for free too such as seeing the Eiffel tower at nite (it’s a gorgeous display of lights) a lot of the museums are free in London.
Tip: The earlier the better, plan to hit these locations super early right before they open so you will be first in line. The crowd comes later in the day. We took our Eiffel tower shot early in the morning.
Prepare for the weather
London weather is unpredictable (rain, cold, sunny weather everything happens days apart, lol) so pack your trench, umbrellas, light jackets and bring a mix of clothes. Not winter stuff though. Paris was a bit chilly on a day when we were there so same thing.
You can try to see it all or do it all if you have the resources, we just picked a few places to see that were on the top of our list. We plan to visit again. It is also exhausting not having time to just chill and do nothing. I am more than happy to help if you have any questions, leave a comment or send me an e-mail. I hope the tips are helpful for you on our next trip! Stay tuned for my Bermuda recap in January! If you have never flown out of the country with your kids THIS POST would be very helpful.