Tuesday, 26 July 2016

How to Do a Stress Free, Budget Friendly Road Trip with Kids ~ Mammy Van Does the UK!

If you’ve seen any of my social media accounts (@stonetravel everywhere) you’ll have seen that I recently brought four of my five children to the UK for a few days. We had a whirlwind trip to take in as much as we could in six days. Over the course of the next couple of weeks I’ll give you the low down of exactly where we went, where we stayed, how we got there, how much we paid, what we thought and some tips we learned along the way. 

Hopefully by the end of these posts you’ll be booking your own getaway with your little ones. If you do please let us know how you get on, we love hearing about your adventures!

How to get away:

In March Stena Line ran a promotion to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by offering tickets at just €1 per person each way as foot passengers. I quickly got to work to researching which route and what dates would suit us. Unfortunately as I was doing this the date and route I wanted sold out, yes that quickly, in mere minutes. In the end I opted for 1 adult/4 children Rosslare to Fishguard return 9th-14th July costing just €10

Stone Travel Tip 1: You don’t need a passport to travel between Ireland and the UK by ferry, you don’t even need photo ID a household bill with your name and address will suffice but I brought my driving licence as I’d need it for car hire anyway. I also brought my children’s birth certificates as I didn’t want to risk bringing their passports in case I lost them.

Stone Travel Tip 2: As a foot passenger you don’t need to lug your bags on board you can check them in as you board free of charge, they’ll be put in a safe room for the duration of the crossing. You won’t have access to them so make sure you have a carry on packed separately.
Stone Travel Tip 3: Pack a picnic for on board, save a fortune by heading to Lidl or Aldi.
Stone Travel Tip 4: Head to the Bistro Café on deck 7, it’s the same deck you board on as a foot passenger. Grab a seat with a view of the screens as it’s here they’ll show free kids movies just after you set sail.
Stone Travel Tip 5: Stena Line currently has a great deal of €6.50pp (under 3’s free) for day trips on Tuesday’s from Dublin–Holyhead or Rosslare–Fishguard, all other days except Friday & Saturday are slightly more expensive at €12pp. I brought my 5 last year to Fishguard for the day find out more here

Pic taken by Co-Pilot for the outward journey, Orla (9)

How to get around:

As rail travel in the UK is ridiculously expensive, hire car was the best option for us. While pricing cars I found that a 7 seater would cost over €800 so I made the decision to leave the baby at home and hire a 5 seater (Group C Ford Focus or similar) costing €213.98 including taxes and charges for 6 days with Hertz. I had a really bad experience with staff at Hertz in Paris last December so was hesitant at booking but I needn’t have been at all as they were lovely in Fishguard.

Unfortunately the car hire office is not in the ferry port but a 5 minute drive away or a 20 minute walk. As I had my 4 little ones with me and luggage walking was not an option. They can deliver the car to you for a nominal fee of £5 but as we were arriving on a Saturday they didn’t have the staff available. 

Bring your own colour book/activity packs for peace & quiet

I called a cab with Fishguard Taxi’s and we were whisked to Hertz for just £4, where I picked up a Vauxhall Mokka which is best described as a small SUV. It’s a nice car to drive but it doesn’t really like hills! The mpg was very good; I drove in 820 miles on £95/€113.52 of petrol.
Stone Travel Tip 1: I saved €143.44 (€35.86 per booster) on hiring four car seats by bringing our own with us.
Stone Travel Tip 2: I saved and additional £120/€143.37 (£20 per day) rental fee for a Sat Nav by bringing my own with me, I never would have managed without one!

Where to stay:

We actually stayed in two different hotels during our visit to the UK. The first hotel I chose was the Holiday Inn Express in Slough as it’s a 10 minute drive to Legoland Windsor. I paid £118.20/€141.24 for 1 adult and 3 children for two night’s bed and breakfast. Parking is free but extremely limited onsite, as there were no spots available when we arrived I had to park in the train station car park next door. The hotel staff were extremely helpful and came out to assist me with the parking pay machine. Even though I’d be using the car while there it made more sense to buy a 3 day parking ticket costing £15.70/€18.76.

The hotel itself is exactly the same as any other hotel in the Holiday Inn chain. You pay for what you get; it was functional with no frills which suited us just fine. The area around the hotel wouldn’t be the best place to be walking at night with young children as it’s away from the main shopping/dining area so we had dinner in the hotel the first night. 

My youngest child had pizza & I had a sharing platter with my other 3 children. Breakfast was basic with the children opting for scrambled egg on toast while I had fresh fruit salad and a croissant.
Tip: They sell Fruit Shoot drinks for children at the hotel bar at an exorbitant price of £2.50 each (dearer than theme parks) so opt for cordial or bring drinks for your children to the hotel.

A highlight of any UK trip - KRISPY KREME!!

What we thought:

At the end of day one we’d travelled over 300 miles in 3 different countries, we’d had some great laughs, some drama llama moments, a few minutes bickering and lots of bad karaoke as we’d tuned into Heart radio station (the perfect station for crooning along on a road trip). 

Due to a traffic jam on the M4 we were held up for a long time and we eventually got to bed at about 10pm. What did we think? We thought the morning would never come around because we were about to take on .....LEGOLAND. Drop back next week to see how we got on and get some of our top tips for the next leg of our Mammy Van adventures!

Have you taken to the road with your little ones before? Any tips you'd like to share? 


tayyab ali said...

What a trip you had! I hope you did not have flight delays. I want to share my personal experience as well. My first flight experience was last February 2017. Since there is no direct connecting flight from US to Thailand. Having seen in a lot of movies that people usually read books on airports and in flights, I also decided to keep a few good novels to give my first flight journey and “good-enough-to-remember” feel. It was my first flight journey and I wanted to make it special. Finally, when I was On air, I decided to read a book but Damn! The Earth and her beauty! Mountains flicker like glitter on Earth’s surface, rivers looking like giant snakes making their way out, clouds like puffy cotton balls floating in the sky and the delicious sunshine making its way through the window glass-what a moment! Omio promo code

OpioidClinicsinjohnsonCityTN said...

Hello, Thank you so much. Life happens. I'm just glad it was something we could handle. I have two credit cards I use for everything. One is my American Airlines AAdvantage card, and the other is my Chase card. I actually might have just stuck with the AAdvantage card, but it charges foreign transaction fees! That's why I think Chase is such a great card for travelers. Those foreign transaction fees can add up.travel products

OpioidClinicsinjohnsonCityTN said...

I love the Japan because it has many wonderful cities and places to visit. The places that you mentioned in the article I want to go there and shot that amazing places. You can also visit the.guided tours Switzerland

OpioidClinicsinjohnsonCityTN said...

Ahhh a whole month sounds AMAZING! Ireland is an absolute blast, and honestly you could do a whole separate trip here with just the kids too. It is such a kid-friendly country. You can take your kids to the pubs at night and they are so good to the kiddos. London is awesome too. I'm so thankful we went for our honeymoon because it was a surreal trip. If you ever go, let me know! I'll join you for France!luxury travel

OpioidClinicsinjohnsonCityTN said...

Thanks for the information your article brings. I see the novelty of your writing, I will share it for everyone to read together. I look forward to reading many articles from you.Cheap flights

OpioidClinicsinjohnsonCityTN said...

Travel tension isn’t an illness however it is fairly the dread of the obscure. Dread of travel is normally brought about by a few variables.Essentiel-Voyages.top

OpioidClinicsinjohnsonCityTN said...

Road trip and respite and updating the effective driven frequently and including useful courses,thanks. More reviews and updating great research thoughts and writing observations as well.Best Barbados Beaches

OpioidClinicsinjohnsonCityTN said...

We're headed to London, Paris and Portugal next month and those things are all on my list of to-dos! Whether we have enough time to do them all, we'll see but love all of your ideas!! I need to link up next month! Happy Thursday! Serviced apartments london

OpioidClinicsinjohnsonCityTN said...

Yes! We love them too- I actually just bought a few more today. And that’s fabulous that you grow so many herbs, you’re lucky to have the space. We’ll be at our lake house this summer and I’m looking forward to growing a bunch more. Enjoy them! PALS CERTIFICATION COURSE ONLINE ( PEDIATRIC ADVANCED LIFE SUPPORT)

OpioidClinicsinjohnsonCityTN said...

Travel can be requesting, particularly on the off chance that you are not being "drove around by the nose" on a gathering trip. thy uçak bileti

OpioidClinicsinjohnsonCityTN said...

Ahhh a whole month sounds AMAZING! Ireland is an absolute blast, and honestly you could do a whole separate trip here with just the kids too. It is such a kid-friendly country. You can take your kids to the pubs at night and they are so good to the kiddos. London is awesome too. I'm so thankful we went for our honeymoon because it was a surreal trip. If you ever go, let me know! I'll join you for France!sunexpress uçak bileti

OpioidClinicsinjohnsonCityTN said...

I enjoyed your blog. Its easy to read, the content is good, and youre an educated writer unlike most of the blogs I come across when searching on this topic. I will check back in the future and see if you have more articles. Thanks for posting this, I appreciate the information and the effort you put into your site.Omio Coupons