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Saving on Our Big Family Trip to the West Coast

THE HUSBAND and I are getting ready to take three small children on a 6 hour plane ride to Seattle, Washington.  Yep, a 6 hour flight. i am so excited- we are going to visit family we rarely get to see.

This picture is THE HUSBAND and I the last time we visited five years ago at the top of the Space Needle. We had one six month old at the time. My how things change in just five years! Now we will be that family that everyone watches board the plane and prays is not sitting anywhere close to them. :0)

I have spent a lot of time the last few weeks planning, making reservations,  and trying to get use ready for our early morning flight.

I thought that I would share a few of the ways we have tried to save money on our trip.

Flights- I used a Kayak.com to find the best deal.  I compared flights from Knoxville and Nashville (often flying from a larger city is cheaper) It turned out this time we could fly from Knoxville for the same price.

Baggage– Can not believe you have to pay $25 each way to check a bag! What happened to the good ole days?  We are attempting to pack in one large duffel bag. (I know, I know. Notice I said attempting. I will let you know how it tuns out) We will be able to do laundry anytime we need to so I tried to plan outfits for the boys that would mix and match. Their jackets are in the bottom of their backpacks.

Hotel- THE HUSBAND has a credit card he uses for his business. (I know Dave Ramsey would not approve but…) He had enough points saved that we are able to stay in a Embassy Suites Hotel  for the week for free.   A made to order breakfast is included in our stay so this will also help with food costs!

Car Rental-I was shocked at how much more expensive a mini van or large SUV was over a car, but I just didn’t think we could get a car seat and two booster seats in anything less. I started with deal sites but in the end found the best deal at Budget.com. They had a “pay for it now” price that was much less than I could find anywhere else.  We did not rent any car seats- they wanted $63 each for the week!  We decided to take one with us and borrow two from family friends once we arrive.

House Sitting– College Kids. We are letting some college students we trust stay for the week. They get free laundry and more space and we get someone to watch the house, gather the mail etc.

In Flight Entertainment-this has been a major area of concern for me. Each of the older two have backpacks to carry on. I have kept my eye out for clearance deals over the last few months for  coloring books, bendaroos, sticker books etc. I decided on Color Wonder books so the plane would not be covered in marker when we left. My plan is to let them pull out one new surprise every hour.

I’ll update to let you all know how it goes! If anyone has travel tips or saving tips feel free to share. I would love to hear your ideas.

 

 

Comments

  1. Renee Heimerman says:

    Simple card games are good for younger kids.  I loved getting things from Dollar Tree as treats.  Chewing gum if they are old enough for it, suckers if they aren’t, to help with the ears popping.  Enjoy your vacation!

  2. Renee Heimerman says:

    Simple card games are good for younger kids.  I loved getting things from Dollar Tree as treats.  Chewing gum if they are old enough for it, suckers if they aren’t, to help with the ears popping.  Enjoy your vacation!

  3. Renee Heimerman says:

    Simple card games are good for younger kids.  I loved getting things from Dollar Tree as treats.  Chewing gum if they are old enough for it, suckers if they aren’t, to help with the ears popping.  Enjoy your vacation!

  4. I made a ‘scavenger hunt’ for our last big family trip & it was a great success!  I just tried to think of things we might see along the way (cows, bridges, trucks, interstate signs, etc) & then  found images of them online that I copied & pasted into a word document.  You could easily make this applicable to an airport, etc. 

    Good luck with your trip & entertaining the boys!

  5. Liz Hamilton says:

    You can check carseats for free with most airlines fyi.  Movies on an ipod/iphone/ipad always work well for kid entertainment.  Be sure to pack snacks for everyone too because often times airlines will charge for that as well!

  6. Thanks Liz. We are checking one seat. We just had visions us of trying to get thru the airport with three kids, a stroller, 4 carry-ons, a car seat and two booster seats. Sort of stresses me out just thinking about it! We decided the two booster seats were the easiest things to leave and just borrow.

  7. Thanks Liz. We are checking one seat. We just had visions us of trying to get thru the airport with three kids, a stroller, 4 carry-ons, a car seat and two booster seats. Sort of stresses me out just thinking about it! We decided the two booster seats were the easiest things to leave and just borrow.

  8. Some airlines wave the baggage fee if you check in online and print your own boarding passes. Make sure your bag does not weigh over 50 lb or you will be charged for that. For security make sure that everyone wears shoes that are easy to get on and off. Also make sure all sippys are empty. Since its an early flight hopefully they will nap at least part of the flight. Movies and game devices are always great for planes! There are lots of free printable coloring sheets online… Letting kids choose some to color lets them have a say. Pack snacks that are “extra” special or favs! There are guys at the airport that will take your bags to check in and work for tips a $1 a bag is a good rule for tipping. A no back booster seat will fit in the carseat bag. I have 3 girls 3, 7, & 9. My hubby works for an airline so I’ve done these kind of trips a time or two to say the least! LOL! I hope some of this is helpful. Happy and safe travels!

  9. No back booster seat will fit in the carseat bag with the carseat. Just to clarify 🙂

  10. I hope you used ebates.com when shopping online for your flight and car rental!

  11. I hope you used ebates.com when shopping online for your flight and car rental!

  12. have fun!

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