When we travel, we often like to take advantage of family travel hacks. While in La Paz, Mexico, we met up with friends of ours who let us in on a few of their own travel hacks, including taking advantage of resort day passes. I had never heard of this travel hack before, but I thought it was a genius way to enjoy a day of swimming, without having to splurge on a hotel!
Travel hacks are a great way to make the most of our travels. They can help us save time, money, and even our sanity. While we’re not experts at travel hacks, there are a few that we’ve picked up during our travels that help us enjoy travel experiences without spending an arm and a leg.
This post was updated on May 21, 2020.
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Spending time with like-minded traveling families
Josef and Anna, from FamBam.Travel, are a couple that we met last year at the Family Adventure Summit. Their kids are around our kids’ ages, and our families instantly hit it off when we met. What we love about them is that they share the same love for travel as we do. In fact, as a family, they’ve been to more than twenty countries with their kids!
“We’ve been to Asia, South America, Central America, Europe,” explains Josef, “I’ve been to forty something countries, and Anna’s probably been to at least 30 countries.”
“I like Colombia,” Anna adds, “and Sri Lanka was surprisingly nice too.”
I really love that as a family, they really embrace the philosophy of traveling for the experience, and not just to check off an item off a list. That’s something we like to do during our travels too.
While we were in La Paz together, we rode bikes along the beachside boardwalk, known as the Malecon. We trekked out to Balandra beach to enjoy the white sands and crystal clear waters. And we even sampled fish tacos at one of La Paz’s local taco joints. But by far, our favorite outing together was visiting a resort for a day and enjoying an afternoon of swimming and kayaking.
Enjoying a luxury resort for the price of resort day passes!
Josef and Anna love finding ways to have an enjoyable travel experience without spending an arm and a leg. And while they enjoy pampering themselves from time to time, they also enjoy frugal vacations. One of the tricks I learned from the two of them was how to find a happy medium between the two.
While in La Paz, we took advantage of resort day passes at one of the hotels at the beach. It’s something that’s completely new to me, but for Josef and Anna, they are old hands at it.
“We’ve done resort day passes in the Maldives,” Josef says.
They explained to me how using resort day passes allowed them to enjoy all the perks of being in a resort during the day, without spending a fortune on lodging.
How resort day passes work
Essentially, resort day passes allow you to use the facilities that a resort has to offer for a period of time during the day. This means you can enjoy a resort’s pool, restaurant, entertainment areas, spa, and have even beach access. But you’re only given a limited amount of time. And when your time is done, you have to go.
This actually works fine for families like us who enjoy frugal vacations. Since we don’t like spending too much money on accommodations, not being able to stay the night at a fancy resort is not something we’ll lose sleep over. Instead, we’ll get an inexpensive Airbnb, and head of to the resort for a day.
Since learning about this family travel hack from Josef and Anna, we’ve used resort day passes in other places during our travels, including when we were exploring things to do in Lombok in Indonesia.
How to get resort day passes
Getting resort day passes is actually a lot easier than you think. In the case of our resort day in La Paz, Josef just walked into the lobby of the resort the day before and asked if they offer resort day passes.
If you’re not quite on the spontaneous side, you might be able to call up a few hotels ahead of time to see if they offer passes to visit the resort for a day. Most likely, the resorts will not readily share this perk on their website, so you’ll have to just call and see. Additionally, you might have better luck with locally run resorts, rather than the big chains.
For our day at a resort, we chose to get resort day passes at a hotel called La Concha, located just north of La Paz. We ended up spending around $50 per family for five hours at the resort. This gave us access to the resort’s swimming pool, restaurant, and beach. We even got to rent kayaks for an hour! It was so relaxing to have a beach and pool day. And the kids had a lot of fun playing together.
Other family travel hacks we love
Josef and Anna have a wealth of knowledge about family travel hacks! Besides utilizing resort day passes, they’ve found other ways to make family travel affordable, but still fun. While we were together, I asked them to share a few other family travel hacks that they use to get the most out of their frugal vacations with kids. Here are a few of their suggestions.
Utilizing the long layover
One of the family travel hacks that Josef and Anna like to do is utilize long layovers. This is how they’ve managed to visit so many countries with their kids!
“We like to plan our travels that way,” says Anna, “we’ll do ten layovers instead of just two, if time allows it.”
Josef adds that while most people don’t like to be stranded at an airport for a long layover, he and his family actually seek out those types of flights. They’ve been able to explore places like Turkey because of a long layover!
Visit non-tourist destinations
While Josef and Anna do enjoy tourist destinations from time to time, one of the ways they’ve been able to save on family travel is to visit destinations that aren’t as popular with the tourists. In most cases, these destinations are a lot easier on the wallet to.
“The exchange rate is important to us,” explains Josef, “that’s why we don’t always go to Europe.”
What also helps is to visit destinations during non-tourist season. Josef and Anna came to La Paz with their kids during the winter season, which meant that not many tourists were around. Despite the winter season, the family was still able to get some beach play and outdoor biking, things they aren’t able to do back home at this time of the year.
Find ways to earn miles
By far, Josef and Anna’s biggest family travel hack is utilizing mileage points. They do this through credit cards that earn miles for every dollar spent.
“Whether it’s a pack of gum, or a bag of chips, we put it on the card,” Josef reveals, “you have to buy it anyway, so might as well get something out of it.”
Using mileage points has allowed them to travel more without having to spend a lot of money.
Save money by not buying bottled water
If you’re a full-time traveling family like us, buying one or two $1 bottles of water each day can add up to as much as $730 in a year! That’s the cost of a round trip plane ticket to Europe.
We save money from buying bottled water by using reusable water bottles like the GRAYL. These bottles have replaceable filters that filter and purify the water, so it’s absolutely safe to drink, no matter where you are in the world.
At $70 a bottle, the GRAYL Geopress bottles, which comes with a filter already and can hold 16 ounces of water, are not cheap. And the replacement filters, which last up to 300 uses, costs $25 each. But if you do the math, this is still cheaper than buying bottled water for the year.
600 uses (the original filter plus the replacement filter) can create 9,600 ounces. If you drink 32 ounces (two 16 ounce waterbottles) per day, this bottle and replacement filter will last 300 days. At $95 for the bottle and replacement filter, that calculates to $0.32 per day. Buy a GRAYL and use the money you’ll save from bottled water on fun activities instead!
Making the most of your trip with resort day passes and other hacks
If you’re a travel loving family like us, frugal vacations can be the best way to get the travel experiences you want without spending a lot of money. Like Josef and Anna, we’re always looking for family travel hacks, to get the most bang for our buck. Taking advantage of resort day passes is one travel hack that we’re sure to try again next time!
Have you taken advantage of resort day passes? What are some family travel hacks that you like to do?
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