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Travel Planning

Surveying Scotland: Preparing to travel with two children under four

As I mentioned in the introduction, a lot of decisions now revolve around my kids. I thought it might be useful for some young parents to see what other decisions the kids' affected. I've gotta say, preparing for travel with two children is pretty different than preparing for one. At least when they are this close in age (2.5 years). Here's how we tackled each problem presented (note: this is being written three days into our trip so there is still plenty of time for things to go south). I'd love to hear feedback from other parents about how you handle these things. And those of you who fall into this category: https://twitter.com/maulermark/status/750072860224294912 I have no good comeback. I went through most of this in the introduction, but one or [...]

Surveying Scotland: Introduction

Two kids creates more than twice the work. That holds true for regular life and travel. Nonetheless, we took it upon ourselves to travel to the United Kingdom to celebrate our son's first birthday. Just kidding, it's just when we were free. As always, we paid for the majority of our flight with points. We even booked our first transatlantic flights in coach for the first time in five years. Slumming it! Just kidding, I'm just practicing what I've been preaching in my family travel hacking guide. Read below for details of what we booked and the thought process behind it all. I wrote about booking our flights to the UK awhile back. Man, can't believe I booked this trip back in August 2015. Either way, Delta availability still remains [...]

Award Booking Tips overheard at FT4RL

So I made a rookie mistake presenting at FT4RL - too many slides! I had to rush through a few of my points on booking awards so I thought I'd share some of them here, along with a few other tips shared by the group. Nothing earth shattering here, but some good tips nonetheless. There is coach award space to Europe still available this summer I didn't do an exhaustive search, but as far as I could tell there is quite a bit of award space available to Europe this summer. I searched the three main legacy carriers for four people to/from various US cities to various European cities and there was quite a bit of coach availability. My main point here is this: if you want to travel to [...]

Daring to Disney: Things I wished I knew before I went to Disney

For someone who hadn't been to Disney in a long time, the trip seemed daunting. So much has changed since I was a kid and of course I wasn't planning the trips then. People fill literal books with all the things there are to know about Disney. Over the course of our week in Disney, I picked up some things that I thought might have been useful to know or better understand before I went. What better way to end this mega trip report than to share them? This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it's my list. I'd love to hear what others wished they had known before they went to Disney, so drop some tips in the comments if you have them! 1) If you're not using magic [...]

Daring to Disney: Tips for parents of toddlers and infants

When I started this series, I talked about how there is so much to absorb when going to Disney and that I was looking forward to figuring things out. As a parent of a toddler and an infant, over the course of the week we learned some things that I thought might be useful for parents of young children going to Disney. Hopefully you can learn something new like I did! Kids under 3 are free With the news of the ticket price increase on Sunday, here's your friendly reminder for what you should already know: kids under three don't pay anything to go into the parks. I'm not sure if this information is outdated, but if you're staying on site and your child is 2 at check in apparently [...]

Making sure the Hyatt Diamond deal doesn’t get the best of me

For about six hours, it was possible to match almost any hotel chain status to Hyatt Diamond. Ironically, the PR move was one of the many things that has ended up costing Hyatt some loyal customers (I first remember Dia writing she was done in December and Julian just wrote about it this week). I totally understand Diamond members who earned status via hard work being frustrated about that, but this post isn’t for you. This post is for all of us who glommed onto Hyatt Diamond the "easy way". I’ve been realizing that having Diamond status has been subtly and not so subtly affecting the way I plan my travel. That has got to stop, otherwise this win-win situation is going to turn into a win-lose situation, with me [...]

Should I bring my own car seat or rent it at my destination?

At this point we've traveled enough with our three year old (and even our seven month old son) to have a general idea of what to consider when making those all important trip planning decisions. So when Points for Later was curious as to whether to rent a car seat or bring his own, I thought I'd put down some thoughts as to what I generally consider when making the decision. Obviously, no two families are the same, but hopefully this post can give you a framework to start with. If your child is still an infant whose car seat doubles as his or her stroller seat (with a caddy), I generally recommend you bring your own and just gate check it. I think that's what is going to be [...]