When I started this blog it was because I was having a hard time finding quality advice for taking my infant twins and 7 year old travelling with us. I wanted to talk about our real world experiences of travelling with our kids so that others could learn from our mistakes and make the most of their travel time and money.
I have also written that another part of what drives me to continue to create content for this blog is that after being asked to write some European travel advice for expat families in the UK and told it would be published, it was not. (If you are interested in that story, click here.) I received the same publication today, and it contained an article about family travel with the following advice.
“The Price for rental homes is considerably cheaper outside Europe’s larger cities, so we often choose cheaper accommodations and rent a car with child seats and GPS. In addition, public transportation can be overwhelming and difficult with kids.”
I would like to take the time to demonstrate why this is not true and will not save you money; rather it will cost you more and take up much of your valuable time.
The writer was travelling with their partner and four kids somewhere for a week. As an example I choose London, England. London can be brutally expensive, but my guess is that similar results would be obtained elsewhere. The two properties I compare both also had a pull-out sofa and were of comparable size with comparable amenities.
Two Bedroom Rental found on AirBnB in Westminster for 7 nights = £1778 including fees.
Two bedroom Rental found on AirBnB in Rickmansworth, 23 miles NW of London, for 7 nights = £860 including fees.
Difference = £918
Rental Car from Europecar with car seats, GPS, and insurance = £1306!
Total of the apartment outside the city + car =£2106 (£328 more than the townhouse in Westminster)
In fact, to balance the cost of the car rental, one would need to find accommodations for £67/night for 6 people. Good luck.
I have not even calculated gas, tolls, parking, congestion charges, time, or frustration. So I ask you, how would any of that be easier or cheaper than staying close public transportation and being able to walk around in a city where you are not wasting your valuable travel time in a car? In this case it would take an hour to drive to see Big Ben and an hour home. There are also many big cities I simply don’t have the courage to drive in… looking at you Rome and Naples.
The other part of the statement to which I take great offense is the difficulty of using public transportation with kids. In most places it is free for kids and easy to use. Admittedly, I have had to ask at the cashier for assistance before, but have always received the information I needed even if the attendant spoke no English. I have also yet to encounter a ticket machine in Europe that did not offer English as an option so there is no language barrier. If it is the routing, Google Maps can give you easy to follow instructions no matter the city. (Maybe they should read my tips for kids on public transit.)
Perhaps part of this is me being petty, but when I see advice this bad, I need to call it out so that hopefully people don’t make that mistake as well.
Or perhaps I am the one who is wrong…convince me in the comments below!
Happy and safe travels.