This year 2018 was an amazing year for our family. I can’t say it was a perfect year, as there were definitely lots of ups and down, however as a family we dealt with them and overcame them together.
As for our travel year in review, we were able to visit 4 states – Florida, Nevada, Texas and Colorado, as well as 7 countries New Zealand, Mexico (3 times), Denmark, United Kingdom, Italy, Morocco, Spain. Read more below for more details on where we visited and what we did in each place.
The Mom Trotter’s 2018 Travel Year In Review
Aiden randomly woke up one morning and asked me when it was going to be Christmas. I took this as the perfect opportunity to plan a quick weekend trip to Winter Park so that he could experience snow and ski for the first time. After this we decided to make it our annual tradition and we plan to go skiing every year. Ps. We flew into Denver Airport and our tickets were purchased on miles. Make sure to check out my list of must haves when taking kids on a snow vacation.
February is Aiden’s birthday month – he turned 5, and we traveled to New Zealand on an error fare at $340 or so each. We visited Auckland, Rotorua, Coromandel Peninsula and the famous Hot Water Beach. We rented a car which allowed us to be able to drive around and make stops as needed.
In March, we took a road trip to Las Vegas with the kids which they enjoyed so much. After that road trip they are now asking when we are going on another road trip. They want to tour the U.S. via RV, I do too, so next year we are going to have to make it happen.
We also visited Tijuana – we were in San Diego for a day and decided to walk across the border into Tijuana. There are so many things to do with kids there. We hope to go back and spend a more than a day – there are plenty if museums to visit there.
I scored one-way tickets for $14 on Frontier Airlines to Orlando, Florida and jumped on the opportunity to take the kids to Florida. We traveled with a backpack only and were able to pack everything we needed. The kids had a blast. We flew back on Spirit Airlines and the fare was just as cheap. We visited Disneyworld, Legoland and much more. We even had professional photos taken by a photographer.
Aiden and I usually go on a Mother’s Day trip in May, 2 years ago we went to New Orleans, last year Hawaii and this year Aiden and I traveled to in Cabo San Lucas. It was nice to be able to spend alone time with him. I am a huge advocate for taking trips with individual kids. He was able to get my full undivided attention which every child needs once in a while. I booked our tickets on United using a voucher so our flights were free.
Summer time means camping time – I took the kids on our first ever camping trip. I spent so much time reading about camping to ensure we had a good time. We rented a campervan from JUCY RV and the kids had a blast. We camped at Sequoia National Park, Yosemite National Park and Death Valley National Park.
The kids and I love Mexico, so I was excited to be able to book a trip for us to Puerto Vallarta using my SouthWest Airline points. We spent 5 nights at the Hilton Puerto Vallarta which is an all-inclusive resort located right on the beach and it was booked on points so, Free. The kids went zip-lining for the first time and loved it.
We rode Amtrak for the first time from Los Angeles to San Diego. Riding the train was so exciting for the kids and I. We plan to take another trip via train next year, not sure yet, but we’ll see. We packed our bikes and rode everywhere around San Diego. I thought the kids would get tired of riding their bikes but they did not.
Aiden and I traveled to Dallas for my cousins wedding. We had so much fun spending time with family, especially as we don’t get to see them often.
I also partnered with Norwegian Air for our trip to Copenhagen with the kids. We then took the train from Copenhagen to Billund and visited the first ever Legoland Park and Lego House. The kids are huge Lego fans, so this was a great trip. After Copenhagen we flew to London for a few days.
We flew to Italy from London, and spent some time in Pisa, Florence and on a farmhouse in Volterra. Choosing a farm house over a hotel in Italy was one of the best choices I made. We were able to enjoy home cooked meals daily, unending wine and ride horses.
Our final stop was Barcelona, where we stayed at the Hilton Diagonal Mar, one of my favorite Barcelona hotels. The kids had a blast here too.
Can you believe we live just 45mins away from Disneyland, however we have never been there? I took this opportunity to take the kids to Disneyland California for the first time. After much research I found a great hotel around Disneyland which the kids and I loved. The hotel had a water park and was walking distance to Disneyland – double win.
We were supposed to fly to London this month with tickets that I purchased during an error fare for $12.40, unfortunately we missed our flight and our tickets were canceled. I was really sad about it, but I had to accept the fact that everything happens for a reason.
The kids love Great Wolf Lodge, so I took them there. They loved being able to swim in the indoor water especially as it was cold outside.
Two of my babies turned 5 and 6 this month, and they wanted to visit Disney’s California Adventure, so we took them there on their birthday. They seemed to like it much better than the Disneyland Park we visited in November.
My birthday was also this month, just 2 days after my babies, and I took some time for myself. I went on a solo date to dinner, got a massage, pedicure and spent the night at a hotel to rejuvenate. I booked everything on Groupon and it did not disappoint especially as I was on a major budget.
Overall, our family had a great travel year. Next year we hope to visit new places. Aiden wants to visit Antarctica – not sure why, but I am still researching that. The kids also want to visit Thailand and Canada, as for me I’d love to visit a few South American countries like Colombia and Peru. So far, we don’t have anything booked for next year, but as time goes by and error fares and cheap flights pop up, then we will make our travel plans. Don’t forget to read book to your kids that will ignite their wanderlust, and make sure to include them as part of the trip planning process.
Read my other year in reviews below:
Booking Your Trip – Tips & Tricks
How To Book Cheap Flights When You Travel
If you are looking to book the cheapest flights you can possibly find on the internet, then make sure to use Skyscanner when searching for flights. Don’t forget to download the Free Skyscanner App also which is very handy. This is how I was able to get $12.40 airfare from Los Angeles to London, as well as $9.40 airfare from London to Italy.
How To Book Affordable Accommodation When You Travel
When booking accommodation, TripAdvisor is the way to go because you can read reviews and see photos from other travelers to get a feel of where you will be staying. Other great sites to book hotels are HotelsCombined, Booking.com and Hotels.com. Don’t forget to check HomeAway and VRBO for house and villa rentals too. Perfect for when you travel with a large family, and also to save money when hotels are expensive. Another favorite of mine is BookVIP – they offer huge resort savings.
How To Book Activities When You Travel
My favorite website to search for activities, tours and especially skip the line tickets is Viator and Get Your Guide. This makes trip planning so much easier because you don’t have to search several sites as both websites have several options to choose from. Same also goes with TripAdvisor Attractions – you can search and book activities as well as read reviews.
How To Book Rental Cars When You Travel
Instead of checking every single website, I use RentalCars.com, Car Rental 8 and Skyscanner Car Rentals to find car rentals all over the world with just one click. If you plan to park at the airport, visit Airport Parking and make a reservation.
Why Travel Insurance Is a Must When You Travel
People book trips and forget the most important part, purchasing travel insurance. Because we travel often, I purchase our travel insurance through Allianz for a year at a time which means that we are covered for all trips within that year. Travel insurance will protect you and your family against theft, injury illness, flight cancellations and so much more. It is a MUST!
Looking to save even more money when you travel?
Visit my Travel Resources page to see all the reliable and trustworthy brands that I use to book my travel with. I only recommend brands that I’ve used and can vouch for, so you’re in good hands! 😊 Also check out these posts below:
- How To Save Money On Flights
- Best Websites To Find Cheap Flights & Error Fares
- Tips On How To Make Travel Affordable For Families
Top Travel With Kids Tips
Traveling with kids and have a few questions you need answers too, these posts below will help your trip run smooth.