Busting Horrible Travel Advice

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.

Yup, that is the Acropolis from the balcony of our apartment in the heart of Athens within walking distance of countless treasures of the ancient world.

Assumptions

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.

Costs

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)

car-rental-estimate
Yikes, not cheap!

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.

Public Transport

Tube StationThe 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.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. This is excellent advice and makes a lot of sense! I have also started our blog to hopefully provide “truly useful” and honest advice about family travel. (just getting started) of course each family is different and each situation is different, but I’m often surprised at some of the recommendations that i see from family travel publications… and think “wow that wouldn’t work for us!” So good on you for posting about this, i’ll be reading your posts (when time) from now on… because i love a bit of honesty!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for the great feedback. I really appreciate anyone who takes the time to not only read this blog but engage as well!

    Like

  3. I totally agree! We’ve stayed in the heart of both London and Rome, simply because of a fear in driving in either city. 😉 But in all seriousness, it was great staying right where all the sights were and not having to spend time driving and trying to find parking in a foreign country. Plus we enjoy walking (and our girls nap well in the stroller) so it’s been a great option for our family as well. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback! We love to walk around as well so it works well. Our usual goal is to set a budget for a place then just start working out along the metro lines until we find something we like that is in budget. I will take a few minutes on the tube over in the car anytime!

      Liked by 1 person

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