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Top 10 budget travel tips for your road trip

Planning a road trip can be an exciting adventure, but it can also get expensive if you’re not careful. Here are ten budget-friendly tips to help you make the most of your journey without breaking the bank. We have undertaken many road trips over the years so sharing our own tried and tested tips here.

1. Plan Your Route and Budget

Before hitting the road, map out your route and create a budget. This will help you estimate costs for fuel, accommodation, food, and activities. We do try to stick as close to it as we can, appreciate this really isn’t always possible but its a good guide to aim for.

2. Pack Your Own Snacks and Meals

Eating out can quickly add up. Pack a cooler with snacks, sandwiches, and drinks to save money on food. We have become total pros at this. While we do of course enjoy treats on the road. We find that by bringing what the kids like for snacks, not only does it save money but it saves time searching for a place that they all like and want to eat in

3. Choose Affordable Accommodation

Look for budget-friendly accommodation options such as hostels, motels, or camping sites. This can be one of your biggest expenses and can really eat up your budget. We do a lot of research in this area before we leave and use all the various booking engines to compare prices.

4. Travel During Off-Peak Times

Traveling during off-peak seasons can save you money on accommodation and activities. Appreciate this isn’t always possible with kids in school and hobbies etc

5. Use Apps to Find Deals

There are many apps available that can help you find deals on accommodation, fuel, and activities.  Nowadays there really is an app for everything, even the like of Uber eats, or Free now for transport can have discounts for new customers in new countries, or even the likes of Groupon or Living Social.

6. Take Advantage of Free Activities

Research free activities and attractions along your route.  We have become pros at this and you really don’t have to spend a fortune to have fun.

7. Share Costs with Friends

Traveling with friends or family can help you split costs for fuel, accommodation, and food. We often do this and travel as a multigenerational holiday. My parents love spending time with their grandkids and we all share the costs, a win win situation.

8. Maintain Your Vehicle

Ensure your vehicle is in good condition before you start your trip. I cannot stress this enough, emergency repairs and call outs can be really expensive. And yes I am talking from experience unfortunately.  Our approach to this aside from regular maintenance is to keep a relatively new car which we do utilising a finance provider like Vizion Finance. This helps spread the cost and make it a lot more affordable.

9. Avoid Tourist Traps

Tourist areas often have higher prices for food and activities.  To be totally honest most of our favourite adventures have been those off the beaten track or those lesser known attraction in popular tourist areas.

10. Be Flexible

Flexibility can help you take advantage of last-minute deals and changes in plans. We are probably at the extreme end of this in that we wouldn’t hesitate to get up and go with minutes notice!!

By following these tips, you can enjoy a memorable road trip without overspending. Tell me in the comments below if you have trips planned or if there are any tips that I have missed

Happy travels!

Note: This is a collaborative post 

Fairy Travels

Top 10 Attractions in UAE to Visit with Friends

Explore the UAE’s top attractions ideal for unforgettable adventures with friends. Begin at the iconic Burj Khalifa in Dubai, offering panoramic city views. Immerse yourself in the culture at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, known for its architectural splendour. Discover biodiversity at Dubai’s Green Planet and indulge in childhood nostalgia at Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi. Dubai Marina dazzles with waterfront dining and sunset cruises, while the Louvre Abu Dhabi enriches with global art treasures. Palm Jumeirah invites relaxation with luxury resorts and thrilling waterparks like Atlantis, and The Palm. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi thrills with high-speed rides, and the Al Fahidi Historic District offers a glimpse into Dubai’s heritage. Escape to Jebel Hafeet for mountain views and natural hot springs, completing a diverse journey through the UAE’s cultural, recreational, and scenic marvels.

  1. Burj Khalifa, Dubai:

Standing tall at 828 meters, the Burj Khalifa is not just a skyscraper; it’s an architectural marvel that dominates Dubai’s skyline. Begin your visit by taking the high-speed elevator to the observation deck on the 124th floor, where panoramic views of the city unfold before you. From the glittering waters of the Persian Gulf to the sprawling urban landscape bordered by the Arabian Desert, the vistas are simply breathtaking, especially at sunset or during the mesmerizing Dubai Fountain show at its base.

  1. Green Planet, Dubai:

Escape the hustle and bustle of urban life by stepping into the lush oasis of Green Planet, an indoor rainforest housed in a bio-dome at City Walk, Dubai. Green Planet Dubai tickets grant you access to this educational attraction that not only showcases exotic flora and fauna but also highlights the importance of biodiversity conservation. Walk among free-roaming birds, butterflies, and sloths, and learn about the delicate balance of ecosystems through interactive exhibits and guided tours. It’s a perfect blend of education and entertainment, offering a unique glimpse into the wonders of nature without leaving the city.

  1. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi:

Prepare to be awestruck by the sheer grandeur and serenity of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, a testament to Islamic architecture and cultural heritage. This majestic mosque can accommodate over 40,000 worshippers and features intricate marble work, intricate floral designs, and the largest hand-knotted carpet in the world. It’s a photographer’s paradise, offering striking contrasts of light and shadow, especially during the golden hour. Remember to respect the dress code and enjoy the peaceful ambience as you explore its tranquil courtyards and reflective pools.

  1. Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi:

Experience the magic firsthand with Warner Bros. Abu Dhabi tickets and step into a world where childhood dreams come to life. This indoor theme park is a tribute to beloved characters and stories, featuring everything from Batman’s Gotham City to the playful antics of Looney Tunes. Enjoy immersive rides like the Riddler Revolution roller coaster or explore Cartoon Junction’s themed eateries and interactive attractions. Whether you’re a pop culture enthusiast or seeking thrilling adventures, Warner Bros. World Abu Dhabi promises an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

  1. Dubai Marina:

Dubai Marina epitomizes modern luxury with its stunning waterfront promenade, skyscrapers, and vibrant nightlife. Take a leisurely walk along the Marina Walk, lined with trendy cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops offering everything from local delicacies to international cuisines. For a different perspective, embark on a sunset cruise aboard a traditional dhow or a modern yacht, soaking in panoramic views of the Marina’s skyline as it lights up after dark. Whether you’re dining alfresco or simply people-watching, Dubai Marina offers an unforgettable experience day or night.

  1. Louvre Abu Dhabi:

Explore the intersection of art, culture, and history at the Louvre Abu Dhabi, a masterpiece of contemporary architecture nestled on Saadiyat Island. Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, the museum’s unique dome structure creates a “rain of light” effect, illuminating its vast collection of artworks spanning millennia and civilizations. Wander through galleries showcasing ancient artefacts, Renaissance masterpieces, and contemporary installations, all carefully curated to foster cross-cultural dialogue and appreciation. It’s a cultural journey unlike any other, inviting visitors to ponder the universal themes that connect humanity through art.

  1. Palm Jumeirah, Dubai:

Indulge in luxury and leisure at Palm Jumeirah, an iconic man-made island shaped like a palm tree and home to some of Dubai’s most exclusive resorts and residences. Begin your day at Atlantis, The Palm, where thrill-seekers can enjoy Aquaventure Waterpark’s adrenaline-pumping slides and encounters with marine life at The Lost Chambers Aquarium. Alternatively, unwind on private beaches or indulge in world-class dining at beachfront restaurants offering panoramic views of the Arabian Gulf. Palm Jumeirah is a playground for relaxation and recreation, perfect for a day of sun-soaked fun with friends.

  1. Ferrari World Abu Dhabi:

Experience the thrill of speed and luxury at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, the world’s first Ferrari-branded theme park located on Yas Island. This indoor amusement park boasts the world’s fastest roller coaster, Formula Rossa, which accelerates to 240 km/h in just 4.9 seconds. Beyond adrenaline-pumping rides, visitors can explore interactive exhibits showcasing Ferrari’s rich history, craftsmanship, and engineering prowess. Whether you’re a car enthusiast or simply seeking heart-pounding excitement, Ferrari World offers an unforgettable blend of entertainment and Italian flair in the heart of the UAE.

  1. Al Fahidi Historic District, Dubai:

Step back in time and wander through the charming alleyways of the Al Fahidi Historic District, Dubai’s oldest neighbourhood. Discover well-preserved traditional Emirati homes with wind towers, now transformed into museums, art galleries, and cultural centers. Explore the Dubai Museum housed in the Al Fahidi Fort, which offers insights into the city’s transformation from a fishing village to a global metropolis. Don’t miss the chance to browse through local handicrafts at the bustling souks or sip traditional Arabic coffee at a quaint courtyard cafe. It’s a nostalgic journey through Dubai’s rich heritage and vibrant culture.

  1. Jebel Hafeet, Al Ain:

Escape the city and embark on a scenic road trip to Jebel Hafeet, the UAE’s second-highest peak located in Al Ain. Enjoy a leisurely drive along winding mountain roads that offer panoramic views of the vast desert landscape and fertile oasis below. Once at the summit, marvel at the breathtaking vistas stretching across the border into Oman. Explore hot springs and archaeological sites nestled at the foothills, or simply relax and soak in the tranquillity of this natural wonder. Jebel Hafeet is a perfect retreat for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike, offering a serene escape from the urban hustle.

Conclusion:

Each of these attractions in the UAE offers a unique blend of culture, adventure, and relaxation, making them perfect for unforgettable experiences with friends. Whether you’re exploring the heights of the Burj Khalifa, diving into the world of Warner Bros. characters, or discovering the cultural treasures of Abu Dhabi, the UAE promises memories that will last a lifetime. Embrace the diversity and vibrancy of this dynamic nation as you embark on your own journey of discovery with friends.

Note: This is a collaborative post

Fairy Travels

7 Best Family-Friendly Attractions in Singapore

Singapore offers an array of family-friendly attractions, each promising an unforgettable experience. Universal Studios Singapore dazzles with themed zones like Hollywood and Madagascar, boasting thrilling rides and character meet-ups. Gardens by the Bay captivates with its Supertree Grove and biodomes showcasing diverse plant species. The Singapore Zoo impresses with its open habitats and interactive animal shows, while nearby, the Night Safari offers nocturnal wildlife encounters. Sentosa Island beckons with attractions like Adventure Cove Waterpark and the S.E.A. Aquarium, ideal for aquatic adventures. The Museum of Ice Cream Singapore delights with colourful exhibits and sweet treats, perfect for all ages. Wings of Time enchants with its multimedia night show at Siloso Beach, while the Science Centre Singapore ignites curiosity with interactive exhibits and educational programs.

Universal Studios Singapore:

Universal Studios Singapore is a theme park like no other, nestled within Resorts World Sentosa. Spanning 49 acres, it immerses visitors in the magic of movies and television with seven themed zones. Thrill-seekers can challenge the duelling roller coasters of Battlestar Galactica, while younger children can enjoy gentler rides and meet their favourite characters from Shrek, Madagascar, and more. Don’t miss out on the spectacular shows and parades that bring blockbuster films to life. With dining options ranging from casual eateries to themed restaurants, Universal Studios Singapore offers a full day of entertainment for the whole family.

Museum of Ice Cream Singapore:

If you’re looking to experience the sweet delights of the Museum of Ice Cream Singapore, securing your tickets in advance is highly recommended. This whimsical museum is a colourful paradise dedicated to all things ice cream, featuring interactive installations, vibrant hues, and even a pool of sprinkles to dive into. From swinging on a giant ice cream sandwich to sampling unique flavours inspired by local and international tastes, every corner promises a delightful adventure. Make sure to book your Museum of Ice Cream Singapore tickets early to guarantee your spot in this popular attraction, ensuring you don’t miss out on the fun!

Gardens by the Bay:

Gardens by the Bay is a futuristic botanical garden that has become an iconic symbol of Singapore. Spanning 250 acres, it features the towering Supertree Grove, where visitors can stroll along the OCBC Skyway for panoramic views of the gardens and Marina Bay skyline. The Flower Dome and Cloud Forest conservatories house a diverse collection of plants from around the world, showcasing Mediterranean and tropical highland flora respectively. Educational programs and guided tours cater to all ages, making Gardens by the Bay both an enjoyable and enriching experience for families.

Wings of Time:

Experience the enchantment of Wings of Time, a mesmerizing outdoor night show held at Siloso Beach, Sentosa Island. Combining state-of-the-art laser lights, water fountains, and pyrotechnics set to an original musical score, Wings of Time tells the tale of a mystical bird and its friends on a journey through time. The 20-minute show captivates audiences with its stunning visual effects and engaging storyline, making it a must-see attraction for families visiting Sentosa. Arrive early to secure a good viewing spot, and consider combining the show with dinner at one of Sentosa’s many waterfront restaurants for a complete evening of entertainment. Don’t forget to grab your Wings of Time ticket to ensure you don’t miss out on this unforgettable experience!

Singapore Zoo:

Renowned for its open concept and lush landscapes, the Singapore Zoo offers a close-up encounter with over 2,800 animals from 300 species. Divided into zones like the Fragile Forest and Great Rift Valley of Ethiopia, each habitat is designed to mimic the animals’ natural environments. Daily shows and feeding sessions provide opportunities to learn about wildlife conservation and behaviour. For a unique experience, consider the Rainforest Kidzworld, where children can interact with farm animals and cool off in the wet play area. The Night Safari adjacent to the zoo offers nocturnal animal encounters and a tram ride through different geographical regions, perfect for an evening adventure.

Sentosa Island:

Sentosa Island is Singapore’s premier island resort getaway, accessible via cable car, ferry, or boardwalk from the mainland. It offers a plethora of attractions catering to all interests. Families can start their day with a photo op at the iconic Merlion statue before heading to Adventure Cove Waterpark for thrilling water slides and encounters with marine life. The Skyline Luge and Mega Adventure Park provide adrenaline-pumping activities such as ziplining and an aerial obstacle course. For relaxation, Siloso Beach offers sunbathing and beach volleyball, while Resorts World Sentosa houses the S.E.A. Aquarium, one of the world’s largest aquariums, showcasing over 100,000 marine animals.

Science Centre Singapore:

The Science Centre Singapore is a dynamic educational institution that aims to promote interest in science and technology among visitors of all ages. With over 1,000 interactive exhibits spread across 20 galleries, the center covers topics ranging from physics and biology to astronomy and robotics. Highlights include the Omni-Theatre, Singapore’s only dome-shaped IMAX theatre, and the Butterflies Up-Close exhibit, where visitors can observe butterflies in their natural habitat. The KidsSTOP section offers younger children hands-on activities and workshops to stimulate their curiosity and creativity. The Science Centre Singapore is not just a museum but a playground for learning and discovery, making it an ideal destination for families seeking both fun and education.

Note: This is a collaboration post 

Fairy Travels

8 Best Things to Do on Your Next Adventure in Vietnam

Vietnam

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Vietnam, a country rich in history, culture, and natural beauty, offers a myriad of experiences for travelers. From the bustling streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, where ancient pagodas stand alongside modern skyscrapers, to the serene landscapes of Ha Long Bay with its emerald waters and limestone islands, Vietnam promises an unforgettable journey. The ancient town of Hoi An enchants with its lantern-lit streets and historic charm, while the Cu Chi Tunnels provide a poignant glimpse into the nation’s wartime past. For those seeking relaxation, the beaches of Nha Trang beckon with their golden sands and clear waters, and the lush, verdant Mekong Delta offers a tranquil escape into the heart of rural Vietnam. Adventurers can trek through the terraced rice fields and ethnic villages of Sapa, experiencing the vibrant cultures and traditions of local tribes. Each of these destinations contributes to a rich tapestry of experiences, making Vietnam a must-visit destination that captivates and inspires travelers from around the world. Whether you’re exploring ancient temples, indulging in the local cuisine, or simply soaking in the breathtaking landscapes, Vietnam ensures a travel experience that is as diverse as it is enriching.

1. Cruise Ha Long Bay

Ha Long Bay, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is a must-visit destination. Known for its emerald waters and thousands of towering limestone islands topped with rainforests, the bay is best explored by boat. Opt for an overnight cruise to fully appreciate the bay’s beauty, including activities like kayaking, cave exploring, and swimming. Many Vietnam packages include a Ha Long Bay cruise, providing a comprehensive experience.

2. Explore Hanoi’s Old Quarter

Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a blend of old-world charm and modern dynamism. The Old Quarter, with its narrow streets, bustling markets, and colonial architecture, is a delightful maze for explorers. Don’t miss the chance to visit Hoan Kiem Lake, the Temple of Literature, and the historic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. Street food is a highlight here, with dishes like pho, banh mi, and bun cha offering authentic Vietnamese flavors.

3. Wander the Ancient Town of Hoi An

Hoi An, a well-preserved ancient town, is famous for its lantern-lit streets, traditional wooden houses, and historic merchant shops. The town’s unique charm is best experienced by strolling through its quaint alleys, visiting the Japanese Covered Bridge, and enjoying the vibrant night market. Hoi An is also known for its tailor shops, where you can get custom-made clothing. Including Hoi An in your Vietnam tour packages from Kolkata ensures a taste of Vietnam’s cultural heritage.

4. Discover the Cu Chi Tunnels

Vietnam

Pic Credit: Pixabay

The Cu Chi Tunnels near Ho Chi Minh City offer a glimpse into Vietnam’s wartime history. This vast network of underground tunnels was used by the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War. Visitors can explore the tunnels, learn about the harsh conditions faced by soldiers, and even crawl through some sections to experience the life of a guerrilla fighter. It’s a poignant and educational experience that highlights the resilience and ingenuity of the Vietnamese people.

5. Relax on the Beaches of Nha Trang

Nha Trang is Vietnam’s premier beach destination, known for its long stretch of sandy coastline, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant nightlife. Water sports enthusiasts can enjoy activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, and jet-skiing. The Vinpearl Land amusement park, situated on an island accessible by cable car, offers fun for families. A stop in Nha Trang can be the perfect relaxing break in a busy Vietnam tour package.

6. Visit the Mekong Delta

The Mekong Delta, often referred to as the “Rice Bowl of Vietnam,” is a region of immense agricultural importance. A visit to the delta offers a unique insight into rural Vietnamese life. Boat trips along the canals, visits to floating markets, and tours of local farms and villages are popular activities. The delta’s lush landscapes and rich biodiversity make it a must-visit destination.

7. Trek in Sapa

Sapa, located in the northern part of Vietnam, is renowned for its terraced rice fields, lush valleys, and ethnic minority villages. Trekking in Sapa offers breathtaking views and a chance to experience the traditional lifestyles of the Hmong, Dao, and other local tribes. The cooler climate and stunning scenery provide a refreshing contrast to Vietnam’s more tropical regions. Many Vietnam packages for 7 days include a Sapa trek, ensuring a well-rounded adventure.

8. Experience the Vibrancy of Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, is Vietnam’s largest city and its economic hub. The city is a whirlwind of activity, with motorbikes zipping through the streets, bustling markets, and a mix of modern skyscrapers and historic buildings. Key attractions include the War Remnants Museum, Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon, and Ben Thanh Market. The city’s nightlife is vibrant, with rooftop bars, nightclubs, and a thriving street food scene. Vietnam tour packages from Kolkata often start or end here, providing a dynamic bookend to your journey.

Conclusion

Vietnam is a destination that offers something for every traveler. Whether you’re drawn to its rich history, stunning landscapes, vibrant cities, or delicious cuisine, you’re sure to find experiences that will leave a lasting impression. By considering Vietnam packages for 7 days and Vietnam tour packages from Kolkata, you can embark on a well-planned adventure that showcases the best of what this incredible country has to offer. So pack your bags and get ready to explore Vietnam’s enchanting beauty and vibrant culture.

Note: This is a collaborative post 

Fairy Travels

Discover Baku: Your Ultimate October Getaway

Discover Baku: Your Ultimate October Getaway

Baku street scene

Pic Credit: Pixabay

When I tell people we have booked to go to Baku in October, they look at me so curiously! Some couldn’t locate it on a map and others  are so curious why Baku and why  October.  I thought in the lead up to our trip id share some learnings and some tips and advice from my research.  October is the perfect time to visit Baku, the vibrant capital of Azerbaijan. With its mix of ancient history and modern marvels, Baku offers a unique and unforgettable travel experience.  Over the next while we will hear more about Baku as Baku is gearing up for the prestigious COP29 conference, set to take place this November. As a key international event addressing climate change, COP29 will bring together world leaders, experts, and activists to discuss and implement critical environmental policies.  Events like this of such importance will really shine a light on Baku and all it has to offer.

Perfect Weather

October in Baku is a delight for visitors. The summer heat has mellowed, and the winter chill is still far away. Expect mild temperatures averaging between 15°C to 20°C (59°F to 68°F), making it ideal for exploring the city’s outdoor attractions.

Rich History and Culture

Baku is a city where the past and present coexist harmoniously. The UNESCO-listed Old City (Icherisheher) is a maze of narrow alleys, historic buildings, and ancient landmarks. Don’t miss the Maiden Tower and the Palace of the Shirvanshahs, which offer a glimpse into Baku’s rich history.

Architectural Marvels

Baku street scene

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Baku’s skyline is a testament to its rapid modernization. The Flame Towers, a trio of skyscrapers designed to resemble flames, light up the night sky and offer a striking contrast to the historical sites. The Heydar Aliyev Center, designed by the renowned architect Zaha Hadid, is another must-see. Its flowing, futuristic design is a masterpiece of modern architecture.

Culinary Delights

Azerbaijani cuisine is a delightful fusion of flavours influenced by its position at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. October is harvest season, so you’ll find fresh, local produce in abundance. Don’t miss the chance to try plov (a traditional rice dish), kebabs, and fresh pomegranate juice. Baku’s bustling markets and cosy restaurants offer a feast for your senses.

Stunning Nature

Just a short drive from the city, you’ll find Gobustan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its ancient rock carvings and mud volcanoes. The park offers a fascinating glimpse into prehistoric life and stunning natural landscapes. October’s pleasant weather makes it the perfect time for a day trip.

 

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Fairy Travels

48 Hours in Zurich: A Family-Friendly Adventure

48 Hours in Zurich: A Family-Friendly Adventure

Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, offers a perfect blend of culture, history, and family-friendly activities. Staying at the Novotel Zurich City West, you’re ideally positioned to explore the city’s diverse attractions. Enhance your experience with the Zurich Card, which provides numerous benefits such as free public transport, discounts on admissions, and more. Here’s a detailed guide to making the most of your 48 hours in Zurich with your family.

Getting there

We flew direct with Swiss Air from Dublin to Zurich. It was our first time flying Swiss Air and we were all seriously impressed, on time, spotless plane, great legroom and the complimentary bottled water and Swiss Chocolate were a lovely touch. The airport is located very close to the city so we used our Zurich Card to avail of the train to our hotel which took 9 minutes and a further 10 minutes walk. The transport system is very easy to navigate and the free transport included with the Zurich Card is a huge bonus. We have used them in many cities and its not often transport from the airport is included.

Where we stayed 

Outside view of Novotel Zurich City West

Pic Credit: The Mamma Fairy Blog

The Novotel Zurich City West is a modern, family-friendly hotel located in the trendy Zurich-West district, an area known for its vibrant culture and dynamic business environment. Conveniently situated near public transportation, the hotel provides easy access to the city centre and major attractions such as the Bahnhofstrasse shopping street, Lake Zurich, and the FIFA World Football Museum. The hotel boasts a range of facilities designed for both comfort and convenience, including spacious rooms equipped with modern amenities, an on-site restaurant serving international cuisine, a fitness centre, an indoor pool, and dedicated play areas for children. With its blend of comfort, excellent service, and strategic location, Novotel Zurich City West is an ideal choice for both business travellers and families. We had a family room with a sofa bed and a double which was perfect for our needs.

Breakfast was included each day and really was a great selection. The staff at this hotel are really a huge asset to the hotel, from the moment we checked in we felt special and well looked after. A shout out to our lovely host at breakfast, I wish I got his name but you were so kind to us. Also the young waiter who served us each evening and for “Burger Thursday” thank you for your kindness, the kids are still talking about how well you looked after them.

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Fairy Travels

Is There Such A Thing As Affordable Family Travel?

family on a beach

Pic Credit: Unsplash

Experts state that just one week away for a family of four can cost almost $8,000 if you don’t watch your spending. And, as anyone who’s used to traveling with kids will tell you, it’s surprisingly easy to reach those staggering heights. From flights to hotels, and additional spending for meals out and excursions, taking your kids anywhere can cost a good few months of your earnings.

For this reason, many parents either don’t take their children abroad, or don’t do so anywhere near as much as they would like. Unfortunately, with kids standing to gain so much from regular travel, including confidence and diversity, you won’t want to skip these experiences altogether. 

Luckily, there are ways to knock as much as a few grand off your overall vacation bill, even if there are four or more of you traveling. This should be enough to make vacations justifiable again, or even to afford you all another trip later in the year. 

Keep on reading to find out how to make family travel affordable at last. 

# 1 – Research transport options

When you’re heading abroad, a plane will typically feel like the most obvious transportation option. It’s certainly the most convenient, fast choice. Unfortunately, flights are also expensive, especially if you need to add things like car seats to your travel costs. Pile on extras like luggage, and flight expenses could quickly outstrip what you intended to spend on your trip overall.

You can overcome this by taking time to research your transport options in full. For instance, options like overnight trains, while expensive upfront, can save the need for things like additional luggage payments, and even hotel stays during any stopovers. Equally, if there’s a boat available for a trip closer to home, you could cut costs in half. Even with flights, researching choices like late night flights or last-minute deals, could save you significant amounts of money.

# 2 – Choose cheap destinations

Some countries are inherently more expensive for travel than others. By choosing cheaper options, you can save money on not just travel and accommodation costs themselves, but also food, drink, and general expenses throughout your trip. That’s sure to add up and can make a family vacation a far more viable choice. Top affordable destinations to consider include – 

  • Mexico
  • Brazil
  • Sri Lanka
  • Egypt
  • Malaysia
  • Etc.
child on a train

Pic Credit: Pexels

When trying to get a feel for whether or not a location is affordable, make sure you look at costs on the whole. It would be a false economy to find a cheap hotel in a location with food and excursion costs that are through the roof. To make this a truly affordable option, seek somewhere that can keep costs down across the spending board.

# 3 – Earn as you travel

The idea of earning as you travel might not be the most appealing thing when you’re trying to have fun with your family. However, some great on-the-go earning opportunities could pay for your entire trip without requiring much legwork. Travel blogging is an obvious choice right now, and there’s a huge market for family-based travel blogs that consider things like ‘to-do’ lists in certain destinations, or even the affordability of any given location. Equally, by taking a computer along with you on your trip, you could manage to sell stuff you’ve got lying around the house or even sell worksheets or crafts that could fund you as you go. Just make sure you check out local postage or have someone back home who can send off anything you sell while you’re away. 

Other earning opportunities might include fun work days on things like local farms, which could become free excursions in themselves. Equally, taking a night or two out of family activities to earn with a little bar or restaurant work could pay for at least a few nights of your hotel stay. 

# 4 – Go off-peak

If your kids are in school, you’re unfortunately tied to travel during peak periods, which is sure to be more expensive. But, if your children aren’t of school age yet, you could save yourself a fortune by simply traveling off-peak. Broadly, this means avoiding travel during the school break, though official off-peak periods, when travel is cheapest, vary depending on your destination as follows – 

  • Southeast Asia – June to October
  • India & Sri Lanka – May to August/September
  • Mexico – May to mid-December
  • Europe – November to March

In some instances, such as when traveling to areas like Mexico and India, you may even be able to secure off-peak travel during the summer break with school kids. The main thing to remember when traveling like this is that you may not be blessed with great weather for your trip. However, if you’re interested in under-cover excursions, or are willing to take the risk, then the possible savings may be more than worthwhile. 

# 5 – Choose all-inclusive

breakfast with fresh fruits

Pic Credit: Unsplash

Choosing all-inclusive travel is one of the best things you can do to keep vacation costs down, especially if you’re traveling as a family of four. This option does have the downside of looking more expensive on paper, but the inclusion of food and drink in accommodation costs can quickly pay off during your stay. In fact, with vacation food costing an average of $58 per person per day in even an affordable location, you stand to save a few thousand during a four-person week away.

To make all-inclusive travel even more affordable, consider a package deal that also includes your flights and travel to and from the airport. Again, this is going to look more expensive on paper, but once you break down the costs of what you’re getting compared with how much you’d pay for everything individually, you should see that this is a great affordable alternative for even large families. 

Traveling with your family is a goal worth saving for. Make sure you’re able to bring that savings pot up to standard by seeking affordable family travel in these ways. 

Note: This is a collaborative post

Fairy Travels

Exploring Ibiza Beyond the Party Scene: Why It’s Perfect for Family Vacations

When I tell most people we are heading to Ibiza, the first question is “with kids?” I suspect when a lot of people hear “Ibiza,” images of pulsating nightlife, beach parties, and electronic music festivals often come to mind. However, there’s more to this picturesque Balearic Island than its reputation as a party hotspot. Ibiza offers a diverse range of experiences that cater to families seeking unforgettable breaks especially being a little over 2 hours from Dublin with frequent Ryanair flights. I have done a lot of research on this wonderful island and here are compelling reasons why I think Ibiza is an excellent destination for a family getaway:

    • Ibiza view from the sky Pic Credit: Pixabay

    Breathtaking Beaches: Ibiza boasts some of the most stunning beaches in the Mediterranean. From tranquil coves with crystal-clear waters to long stretches of golden sand, there’s a beach for every family’s preference. Parents can relax under the sun while kids build sandcastles or splash in the gentle waves.

  • Rich Cultural Heritage: Beyond its beachfronts, Ibiza is steeped in history and culture. Families can explore UNESCO-listed Dalt Vila, the island’s historic old town, where ancient fortifications overlook panoramic views of the sea. Wander through cobblestone streets lined with charming boutiques and cafés, offering a glimpse into Ibiza’s rich heritage.
  • Family-Friendly Activities: Ibiza offers a plethora of activities suitable for all ages. Families can embark on boat trips to neighbouring islands, where kids can snorkel in pristine waters teeming with marine life. Adventure parks and water sports centres provide thrilling experiences, from zip-lining through lush forests to paddle boarding along the coast.

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Fairy Travels

Navigating New York City with New York CityPASS

Navigating New York City with New York CityPASS

New York City, also affectionately known as “the city the never sleeps“, “the Big Applethe concrete jungle where dreams are made of“, whichever name you use,  once you set foot in this memorising city you will be captivated, it offers a plethora of iconic attractions that beckon travellers from around the globe. However, exploring the Big Apple’s wonders can quickly turn into a costly affair, especially for families looking to experience the best the city has to offer. Fear not, for there exists a savvy solution to maximize savings while indulging in unforgettable adventures: the New York CityPASS.

So what is New York CityPASS

The New York CityPass, is a digital pass that can save you up to 40% on 5 of New York’s top attractions. Included in the pass is both of:

  1. Empire State Building Observatory; and
  2. American Museum of Natural History

Plus get admission to 3 more attractions of your choice. No need to choose upon purchase you can decide closer to your trip or even while there depending on availability.

  1. Top of the Rock Observation Deck
  2. Ferry Access to Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
  3. 9/11 Memorial & Museum
  4. Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises
  5. Intrepid Museum
  6. Guggenheim Museum

Once you purchase your New York CityPASS, you simply download the app and from there your tickets are all stored and you can make the reservations.  We were there in the end of January which is off season so nowhere was particularly busy however we did reserve our slots in advance just to be safe. For context it wasn’t our first visit but it was the kids first trip so lots of the New Yorks icons were on the bucket list to visit.

Cost of New York CityPASS

An adult ticket costs €134.47 and a child (aged 6-17) ticket costs €114.98. Couple of things to note:

  • tickets are valid for a year from the date of purchase
  • tickets can be use for 9 consecutive days including the fist and last day
  • You can only visit each attraction once except for Empire State Building where you can visit again at night if your first visit was during the day and only same day.
  • Note that cost increases apply from 29 February 2024 where the cost of an adult ticket will increase to €146 and a child’s ticket €124

What did we think of New York CityPass

The important part! So what did we think, how did we find using New York CityPASS, did we save money and would we recommend!! I do have full blog posts in progress on our itinerary however below, I will run through how we used our New York CityPASS and what we really thought. I will be comparing the cost like for like so booking the same time as we did with the pass and showing the cost.

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Fairy Travels

A Rocking Dining Experience at Hard Rock Cafe Times Square

A Rocking Dining Experience at Hard Rock Cafe Times Square

Inside Hard Rock Cafe Times Square

Pic Credit: The Mamma Fairy Blog

Nestled amidst the bustling streets of Times Square, Hard Rock Cafe stands as an iconic haven for music enthusiasts and food aficionados alike. During our recent visit to the Big Apple, my family and I decided to embark on a culinary adventure at this legendary establishment, eager to indulge in its renowned fare. The kids were super excited to visit  and from the moment we stepped foot into Hard Rock Cafe Times Square, we were greeted by an electrifying ambiance that pulsated with the rhythm of rock ‘n’ roll. The walls adorned with memorabilia from music legends past and present set the stage for an electrifying experience.  If a quiet no noise, chilled experience is your thing this isn’t really for you however if a bustling energetic memorable experience is in your plan do read on to see how we got on!

If you have seen any videos or pictures of Times Square you will see the bright lights of the Hard Rock Cafe Times Square in the background.  Upon entering Hard Rock Cafe New York, our kids’ eyes widened with wonder as they took in the eclectic decor and vibrant atmosphere. From the moment we stepped through the doors adorned with classic rock memorabilia, it was evident that this was no ordinary dining experience—it was a journey through music history. In the words of my youngest “i feel like a celebrity

What we went for at the Hard Rock Cafe Times Square 

The menu really is vast, I really don’t think anybody would not find something on the menu that they would like, from burgers to fish, to wings to nachos, sharing plates, starters, mains, deserts. Something for every palate and dietary requirement, I did see a dedicated gluten free menu too. There is also a kids menu with the usual reliable kids choices included the new Messi inspired range.

Opting for a classic choice, we all ordered various iterations of the cafe’s signature burgers. From the Legendary Burger to the Hickory-Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich. My football fanatics were mega enthusiastic to see the the Messi burgers on the kids menu and unaspiringly both went for a Messi Burger.  The blurb notes that the burgers are inspired by Messi’s own favourites so this was a mega draw for my football fanatics. For desert we both went for cheesecake and the kids went for ice cream selection. In reality we probably could have shared a cheese cake the portions are huge but this New York as we were all in!!

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