How to Start Traveling with Kids


The question that we are asked the most is, how do we afford the travel? The answer is simple we plan and budget.

Traveling is not as expensive as many people believe. We took a 10-day vacation to Bangkok, Phuket, and Tokyo for less than $2,200 including flight, accommodation, and activities.

The key to traveling on a budget with kids is having a plan and maximizing your resources. Here is how we afford to travel as a family.

Affordable Flights

Flights are one of the largest expenditures when traveling. The best way to save money on flights is to be flexible. The more flexible you are the more money you can save when looking for flights. This doesn't only mean with dates, but also airports.

We currently live in San Diego, but it is oftentimes a lot cheaper to fly from Los Angeles. We have flown from Los Angeles to Ohio for $250 roundtrip (that is in total for 2 adults and a lap infant). We paid $80 to park our car and that was still over $300 cheaper than flying from San Diego.

Google Flights

We go to Google for everything and flights are no exception. If you are searching for a flight do not take the prices at face value. When you search in Google flights the dates are populated and pull the price, but you can find cheaper prices by simply using the calendar. Open the calendar and look for the prices in green, that usually means that a specific date offers the lowest price.


A lot of budget or travel hack bloggers praise Momondo as being one of the best tools for finding cheap flights. I must admit I do not use this tool as often as I should because sometimes, I get too lazy to continue looking for cheaper prices.

If I find a reasonable price using one of the other tools, I do not bother continuing to look with Momondo. One of the best features if you can set your budget and it will find destinations that fit. 


We use Skyscanner because it allows you to make broad searches. We look for the cheapest destinations at the cheapest times of the year. This is great for scoping out deals and looking for the best places to go at the best time. Sometimes you can find flights directly with the airlines and other times they will be through a third-party.

We do not recommend booking with a third-party because you will not be able to communicate directly with the airline you will have to work with that third-party. If you do not see the cheapest price from the carrier it may help to look directly on their website and search with flexible dates. We have found a lot of success with this method.

Our latest success was a one-way flight to Shanghai from Seattle for $274. I found the deal on Skyscanner then booked looked on Delta and found a cheaper price with a different departure date. I booked the flight through Chase Travel Portal using Ultimate Rewards and got 2 one-way tickets and an infant lap seat to Shanghai in Comfort+ for 53,728 points. The economy class tickets were even cheaper at 25,000 points per ticket. 


Southwest is one of the few airlines that does not get included in search engines when looking for flights. You will have to search for them separately, but there is a low far calendar that can be used. We started our family gap year with a flight to Denver from San Diego for $42 per person and only paid $98 in total.

Southwest is one of our favorite airlines because it is one of the few airlines that do not charge for bags. They also have an open seating policy that makes it easy for us to sit together with early boarding. If you are a family and travel with kids under 6 we recommend Southwest Airlines.

Scott's Cheap Flights

If you have not heard of Scott's Cheap Flights, you are missing out on savings. I receive 10 - 20 deals a week to amazing places all over the world for unbelievable prices. There is a free trial available for you to test out the service but trust me it is definitely worth the price.  I honestly think he not charging enough for the great deals we have been able to get. This service pays for itself 10x over with the amount of money that you save. 

We got tickets to Bangkok by way of Tokyo on ANA airlines for less than $400 per person from LAX. ANA is a 5-star airline and the food is good for airplane meals, I moved the shrimp tempura and noodles.  We even added 3 days in Tokyo at no additional cost to go to DisneySea.

We also ended up in Beijing thanks to Scott's for $369 per person and talked our way into ungraded seats with additional legroom on AirCanada. All these deals and for only $40 a year, do not think twice, get the premium subscription, and take off.

Affordable Family Accommodation


We have stayed in Airbnbs around the world and have had mostly positive experiences. The only bad experience we had with Airbnb was with a host that canceled our stay 6 days before we left for Oahu. We did get it resolved in time with customer service and was able to get a new place for the same price with Airbnb covering the difference.

A lot of people feel weird staying in a personal residence, but I think it is great. Not only do you save money on the additional fees that hotels charge you get a larger space. I get annoyed at paying the additional resort fees for items that I do not use except for WiFi.

The cost of parking oftentimes results in paying an additional $200 just to stay at the hotel. In some areas, you can rent a two-bedroom condo for less than the cost of a hotel room for the same time. We love having a kitchen to save money on eating out while traveling.

Use this link to save up to $55 on your first stay with Airbnb


WorkAway is a great platform to travel without spending a lot of money. If you want to interact with locals and truly become immersed in the culture this is perfect for you. The concept is LIKE an exchange program where you volunteer to help the host in exchange for free accommodation. A lot of the hosts are looking for help running small businesses, learning English, or house maintenance.

The concept is really cool. You "work" less than 25 hours per week and the rest of the time you have to yourself to explore. It's a valuable lesson to teach kids about helping others and embracing differences. Wouldn't the world be a better place if we could all just get along?

If you must stay at a hotel, I have found that offers the most flexible and best price. Even better, they will price match if you find a cheaper price somewhere else. How great is that? I used them when we went to Beijing and LOVED our hotel. I must admit I booked and canceled 3 hotels before making my final decision.

My favorite feature on their site is the proximity to major attractions and how far the hotel is from the airport. This makes it easier to plan your itinerary when you know how far the tourist attractions are from your hotel.

Affordable Family Activities

One of the best things about vacation is the excursions. The cost to go to theme parks, tours, and activities. I believe experiences surpass material gifts and have more value. The time we spent as a family going to The Great Wall of China was one of the best memories we have as a family. How many people can say they walked on The Great Wall? Our little one can well not walk but he was there, and we did the walking for him. 


We always search Groupon for deals when we pick a place to travel. You will be surprised what you can find on Groupon and how much you can save. It is more than just activities I have used Groupon for food, tours, and vacation packages. If you can think of it, I am sure you can probably find it on Groupon. The best part is there are always discount codes available for you to save more money. I put my money where my mouth is, I used Groupon to skydive for my 30th birthday and it was amazing. Who does like saving money?

Tip: If you are interested in a vacation package and are traveling with a child under 2, contact the travel vendor directly for the child's price. Their price is often only 10% of the adult price. 


We used Viator for our tour of The Great Wall of China, a speedboat tour of Phi Phi Island from Phuket, and Trickeye Museum tickets. The prices were very reasonable, and we enjoyed our adventures. I was wary of the vendors that did not have reviews and took a chance, and everything worked out great. If there are review be sure to be objective, you can't make everyone happy. 


Klook is the best place for tickets to theme parks or activities. You can find great deals on tours, attractions, food, and even SIM cards.

What is stopping you from traveling with your family?

There may be a lot of reasons to put off traveling. We have heard a lot of different reasons why people think traveling with kids is too much of a hassle. For us, the best part about traveling is spending uninterrupted time together as a family.


There are a lot of excuses for why people do not travel with kids. The most common reason being financial because of the misconception that traveling is too expensive. I must admit I was part of the masses that believe traveling is a privilege of the wealthy or well-off, but I am happy to say I was wrong. When I finally starting looking at the cost of traveling on a budget I was amazed at how much we were able to do within our budget.

“They won’t remember”

This is the most common statement that we hear when we tell people we like to travel with our son. Just because he does not remember does not mean it didn't happen. I marched in the Macy's Day Thanksgiving Parade when I was 15 and barely remember at 30. That doesn't mean that I did not do it and did not have the experience and enjoy it. For some reason, I only remember bits and pieces, but I do remember I had A LOT of fun.

“It’s too dangerous”

Let's be honest, life is unpredictable anything can happen. The world is a lot safer than most people think. Also, violent crimes rarely occur in tourist areas. The most reported crime by tourists is theft, so taking normal precautions is advised, but safety, for the most part, is not a large concern. Of course, you have to exercise judgment. I wouldn't recommend going to a war-torn country for a vacation, but it's your choice.

“Kids need stability, traveling will hurt them”

We believe the most important thing for kids is to be with the people who love them. Our son is a lot happier when the three of us are together. Imagine all the things they will learn about exploring different countries, languages, cultures, and religions. We like to think of the world as a huge classroom.

“I don’t know the language, we will get lost”

I can rest assured you will get lost, it is inevitable. Life is unpredictable cell phones die, you make the wrong turn, you miss a stop, or have no sense of direction (like my wife). Everything will work out fine and you will get back on track. We got lost in Oahu and stumbled on a historical site with ancient ruins. We also wandered around Tokyo and stumbled on temples and were able to watch a traditional Japanese wedding.

“Traveling with kids is too hard”

I have to be honest traveling with kids especially a baby is no easy task. It requires planning, patience, sacrifice, and coffee. Along with the sacrifices the rewards are invaluable. The memories you share will mean everything to you. I often catch myself looking at pictures and my wife and I reminisce about the fun and frustrating times. Remember, it may be a little harder but it will not last forever.

“Traveling with kids is too expensive”

Traveling is not as expensive as many people believe. We have traveled to Beijing, Oahu, and Mexico for less than $5,000 in total. If you have a plan and follow the tips on our blog you can travel with kids without spending a fortune.