There is hardly a low-cost airline (e.g. Ryanair, easyJet, Wizzair, Transavia..) with which our family hasn’t travelled. Having small kids who do not go to school yet, puts us in a huge advantage over other families who have to stick to the school holidays. Unless you are able to homeschool – use this time in your children’s life to travel as much as possible. If you plan to travel for a long weekend – and it is not during school holidays with most of low-cost airlines you will be able to book 2 months in advance a return plane ticket in range of 10-60 euros per person. If both of your children are under two years old than you pay for them, depending on a low-cost company, 5-30 euros per flight.
How to use the most of possibility of travelling with low-cost airline:
- If you are very flexible, first explore all connections from closest airports and choose the destination you would like to visit next. Every family will have their own preferences – we have preferences for travelling south;) If you plan to travel on budget from Austria and you can’t find location you like, that is reachable from cities there (Vienna, Salzburg, Innsbruck, Linz or Graz), consider flying from Slovakia (Bratislava is very close to Vienna and easily reachable by public transport) or Italy (Trieste or Venice Treviso).
- When you have decided on your next destination and date – have your passports and credit card ready next to you and book your flight till it is still affordable. You do not need to book seats – it is a waste of money. What is the point of paying for reservation of each seat 16 euros if your return ticket costs you 30? If your kids are under 12 years old, you do not need to worry – kids have to be surrounded by at least one parent. Ryanair is lately on purpose separating families on flights, so more people purchase reservation of the seat. So if you think you can not handle being separated from your partner for the duration of the flight – than you should consider travelling either with the other airline or purchasing the seat reservation. We personally do not find being separated a huge issue, since we always travel with light hand baggage. EasyJet is much more family friendly – you can check in 30 days before the flight online and in over 90% of cases your family members will all sit next to each other.
- Check online for free or cheap parking opportunities close to the airport in case you are arriving to it by car. Very often you will be able to find a free parking in a place nearby and by using a cheap public transport reach the airport (in Italy at least;). If you are flying from Vienna, at the moment cheapest parking possibilities are offered by https://www.parken-beim-flughafen.at/en/
- Pack only hand luggage if possible! It will drastically reduce your costs – since each piece of checked-in luggage will cost the same as your plane ticket. And it is possible to pack everything only in hand luggage. For our recent trips we usually pack in two small suitcases – one for two of us and one for kids. Pack just the things you really need and you are sure you will wear. Some packing tips especially when travelling with kids I have already written before Useful packing tips for the preparation of a joyful family adventure. Just like written previously – pack enough diapers and wet tissues just for the journey, you can always buy more at the destination. Also no matter how messy or sick you think your kids might get – they will not need infinite number of clothing. Up to 1-year-old kids – you ll need to pack slightly more (e.g. 2 shirts per day just in case), but their clothes are so light and small that it won’t present any problem;)
- Choose wisely which 2 bigger items (e.g. stroller, baby bed..) you want to take for free for your baby🙂 So for we have always opted for a stroller and a car seat. Strollers makes it comfy for going around the airport and most of public transport, since we can put all our hand luggage on it and eventually one of the kids. And we love freedom of movement and having possibility of renting a car so we’ll always choose the car seat:)
- Dress all family members in clothes which will not cause metal detectors on security check to go crazy;) You definitely want to avoid taking off your shoes, belts etc. while holding your child.
- Prepare the transparent bag containing all liquids in your cosmetic bag before reaching the airport.
- Have printed boarding passes and passports always next to you:) Unfortunately now due to the stricter controls, on some airports you ll have to show them even 3 times before reaching the gates.
- Take your time🙂 Travelling only with hand luggage provides you with advantage of not losing time on check in and baggage drop-off. But you still need time to reach the gates. And with your small toddler, if it is written that till gates you have 15 min walking, that means 30-45 min for your toddler.
- Do not stand unnecessary in the boarding queue. Take your time, read a book with your kids and when there is a last person passing boarding control, you can stand and head towards the plane. Unless, you have purchased priority boarding (which we never do) or airline is very family friendly and they always board family first.
- Meet locals in the plane and use the opportunity to find out which street food markets you should not miss, are there some festivals for kids, hidden parks etc.