Budget Travel for Family of 5

Feb 19th, 2009, 04:38 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 58
Budget Travel for Family of 5

My husband just called and said that I should think about booking a flight for our family of 5 to London, Amsterdam, Paris or Madrid (though Madrid would be more costly). We would need to book by tomorrow and travel by May. We could spend 11 - 15 nights. We love to travel and have seen most of the U.S. but we have never traveled out of the United States except for a trip I took to London as a young girl. Please Help. My husband said he thinks he would most like to see Spain or Italy so Madrid? He is a huge history buff so I was thinking castles in Scotland, British Museum - London? My 10 year old longs to visit Ireland (she's been saving money for her Ireland dream for over a year) - London and connecting flight? My 16 year old wishes to visit a friend who moved to Denmark - Amsterdam and we meet in Hamburg? My 6 year old is just walking around saying "Bonjour, Bonjour." There is no way I will be able to please everyone on this trip. I don't have time to research as I should before booking the tickets so my question is - where would you choose? Budget lodging will have to be a consideration and we would like to see as much as possible since we don't know when the opportunity will come again. We also tend to prefer not to follow the crowd so to just go to London or Paris and do the traditional touristy things would not be a good choice for us. Any ideas greatly appreciated. I hesitate to post this because it is so broad a question but at the same time I just can't wrap my mind around booking tickets to somewhere in Europe tomorrow. If I don't post - I might not carry through with booking anything so here goes...... A huge thank you in advance for any and all suggestions.
Cbbi is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 04:58 PM
Join Date: Nov 2005
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Wow, where to start?

OK, go somewhere where you can speak the language, might be easier for a first trip abroad.

I understand about not following the crowd - BUT, they go to those places for a reason - they are mostly spectacular - so try Big Ben, or the Eiffel Tower, but maybe early AM, or sometime when the crowds are less.

Don't try to do too much - it it's Tuesday we must be in Belgium. Far better to really get to know a few places than see so little in many that it's all a muddle. Also helps focus your research, since you don't have much time. Also, you aren't going tp please everyone, so don't try.

And, besides, they WILL have a ball.

Rent an apartment!! Way cheaper for a group (we are a family of 5 as well) since you can really control food costs. And sleep costs can be less than a hotel.

So, maybe a few days in London, then off somewhere. Since you don't like to do touristy things, one idea I have for our next trip is renting a barge, or a narrowboat, to explore the canals and rivers in England. This looks different, and really fun! Here's some info:


hope this helps!

Momliz is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 05:05 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
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How about going to London. You could rent an apartment for the the time. Everyone could plan a place to visit there. The 16 year old could see if their friend could meet in London ( cheap flights are possible intra Europe). London is great for a first trip overseas. You could fly to Dublin for a few days or start there and then come to London. The possiblities are endless but narrow it down and emerse your family in a place for 10 days and enjoy!! Have a great time whereever you decide.
gregeva1 is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 05:26 PM
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With 3 kids, 2 weeks and a tight budget I would pick 2 cities and rent an apartment in each for a week. It will give you a chance to really learn about at least one place as well as do acouple of day trips. And with kids an apartment saves a lot of money - not only having breakfast in but also having snacks (both of which can really blow a budget).

I would pick 2 major cities - they are the biggest hits for a reason - and do an open jaws ticket - into the fist city and out of the second - with either train or budget airline between the two.

As to which 2 cities - if you do May you will have good weather most anywhere. If you go much sooner I would stay fairly far south to have better weather.

Don't worry about not speaking any other language - you can go to any major city and function in English.

And, you first step is to go out now and get passports.
nytraveler is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 05:27 PM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 411
I am trying to put myself in your shoes. I would go for an open jaw flight at an attempt to give everyone a little satisfaction. I guess my first choice would be an appartment in London for 5 to 7 nights. I would then train or fly to Paris for 4 days and Amsterdam for 3. If you are needing a break from an urban environment, all three cities have plenty of day trip attractions just outside.

Madrid (and southern Spain) would be a follow-up trip for me.

Just my opinion.
poutine is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 05:38 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 58
Oh thank you so much. London does sound like the least stressful option on such short notice. You both have given me what I so dearly needed - focus.

MomLiz I totally agree with you about more time in fewer places and not just trying to race around to see as much as we can. I love the link to the canal travel site. We live among the bayous and swamps and feel most comfortable on a boat. I will certainly bookmark the site for future travels. It looks like a fun adventure.
Cbbi is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 06:08 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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London, of course, will be the most expensive. If you want budget then get out of the major big cities in northern Europe. Was Munich one of your options?
bobthenavigator is offline  
Feb 19th, 2009, 06:52 PM
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No to Munich - the choices are London, Amsterdam, Paris or Madrid. We could fly into Amsterdam and arrange travel to Munich I guess if it would mean a much bigger bang for our vacation dollar. And my husband has long wished to visit Prague which looks like it would be doable from Munich also.

I'm guessing London is like NYC - really pricey or not depending on the lodging/dining/tourism choices we make or is it a lot worse than NYC expense wise? Nevermind, I guess I can answer my own question when I think more about the value of the dollar these days.
Cbbi is offline  
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