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The Cheapest Way for a Family to Fly to Europe

Is a family trip to Europe on your bucket list?? I am going to break down for you one of the cheapest ways for a family to fly to Europe.

This is our FAVORITE area of the world and has so many amazing international destinations to visit with kids in tow.

Cash rates for a summer ticket to Europe average anywhere from $1000-$1,500 EACH. And that’s just to GET THERE. International flights are insanely expensive. And then you multiply that by 4, 5, or 6 family members???

You’re going to have to sell your left kidney just to fly your family across the oceans. That’s not even including your hotel or food!

SO how about I show you how to take a bucket list trip to Europe for more like $150-200 per person?! Sign me UP.

Ways to Fly your Family to Europe for Cheaper

You can definitely use some hacks to score some cheap flights. It’s actually not TOO hard to find flights to Europe under $500…IF you can be flexible.

Don’t miss this post about how to score dirt cheap flights for anywhere on your bucket list!

Getting flight deal alerts in your inbox (our favorite is Going for the best deals!), is how we snagged about $400 tickets to Italy for our family of 4 during shoulder season.

Some of our top ways to save on International Flights are:

  • Going’s Flight Deal Alerts (notifies you of a significant price drop or mistake fares)
  • Using the Google Explore feature to nail down cheapest cities and dates to fly into Europe
  • Using Skyscanner “Everywhere” feature to find the lowest cost airport to fly into in Europe for your dates
  • Using “backwards positioning flights” – fly into ANY city in Europe (whichever has the lowest price tag) and then take a very low cost “positioning flight” inter-country to the city you actually want to be in

These hacks will save you a LOT of money on tickets to Europe. BUT if you want to take your family of 4,5,6 plus to Europe during peak summer travel dates?! Your options are much more limited…and that savings becomes less and less.

But here is where the absolutely CHEAPEST (and most reliable) way to fly your family to Europe comes in!

The Cheapest Way for Families to Fly to Europe

Credit card points to save the day! Now I know some of your read that and have already written me off. BUT let me show you just how powerful they can be!

By acccumulating credit card points and learning how to optimize them (the KEY), you can very easily fly your family to Europe even on the tightest travel budget.

The crucial piece of getting the very most out of your credit card points is transferring your points to travel partners. NOT just using your points to give yourself a cash back statement on say a flight purchase.

By transferring your points to a travel partner of your credit card, you can literally explode your travel potential.

An Example of Saving on Flights to Europe for your Family

So let’s take a look at an example of trying to buy tickets to Europe for your large family, hang with me while we do a little math here…

Let’s say we want tp fly from Dallas to Rome. Tickets for peak summer travel will cost us probably on average $1,000-$1,500 per ticket as I mentioned before. So if we have a family of 5 that is at a minimum $5,000 for our flights.

Now, let’s say we found a killer flight deal and snagged $600 tickets to Rome (a DEAL). That is $3,000 total for our families flights to Italy (better!)

Sitting on my credit card I have 100,000 points. I am thinking I will either book in the travel portal to use those points or use them for a chase back statement credit. This would take $1,000 off my total flight price. Leaving me to pay $2,000 for my family of 5 to get to Europe.

Most likely, this would not be a direct flight. AND you’d have to compromise on your ideal dates.

Honestly, not horrible given the cost of tickets in summer…but we can do EVEN BETTER.

By simply taking those credit card points and TRANSFERRING them to a travel partner of our credit card, we will save hundreds more.

By transferring those same 100,000 points to an airline partner, we could book our tickets fully with points and ONLY pay the taxes on those flights.

This would take our cost down to around $1,000 for the whole family. AND it could be a direct flight AND we could get pretty close to the exact dates we are hoping for.

THIS is the power of points and knowing how to use them!

If you are are looking for the best travel rewards credit card, this is HANDS DOWN the most widely recommended travel credit card if you are just getting started with trying to leverage points for more travel.

The Best Way for Families to get to Europe on Points

My favorite program for families trying to get to Europe on a budget is hands down Flying Blue. Flying Blue is the rewards program for Air France and KLM (just like Rapid Rewards is the rewards program for Southwest).

Air France/KLM is an airline transfer partner of almost all major banks/cards (Chase, Capital One, Citi, and AMEX). It’s very beginner friendly, so even if you are just starting out in the points world, you can fairly easily navigate securing dirt cheap flights for your family to Europe.

There is also usually a lot of award availability (a large amount of flights available to book with points). This can be a huge barrier to other programs, just finding enough flights bookable on points for a large family.

The last reason why I think the Flying Blue program is the cheapest way for families to fly to Europe is because they offer 25% off children’s award tickets (age 2-11)! 25% off the points needed to purchase a kid’s flight AND 25% off the taxes/fees you pay on that flight!

This equates to come huge savings for families trying to fly to Europe on a budget!

To recap why Flying Blue is the best transfer partner for families to fly to Europe:

  • Very Beginner friendly and easy to set up an account and navigate
  • Lots of award availability from major United States hubs
  • 25% off kids tickets (Which no other program offers!)
  • Additional easy ways to save on your bookings – keep reading below!

Using Points to Fly your Family to Europe

Thankfully you can accumulate essentially any points (Chase, Capital One, Citi, AMEX) to transfer to Flying Blue. If you are confused on how we actually accumulate enough points to get a family to Europe, this post is a MUST READ.

So once you have a big stash of points with your bank you can start looking at flight options.

First, you’ll start by making a Flying Blue account here. It’s free and will allow you to search award flights (flights bookable on points!)

Secondly, you will put in your departure city and the city in Europe you would like to visit. Want to see the Eiffel tower in Paris? Eat pizza in a piazza in Rome? Play on the beaches of Greece? Truly, once you learn the ins and outs of reward travel, the sky is the limit.

Pro Tip: I find searching for one way tickets is easiest and provides the most flexibility.

Leave the date blank and it will allow you to search the calendar feature. This is KEY to getting the cheapest flights possible.

The calendar feature lets you view the lowest flight prices for each day in the month. As you can see the points vary wildly from day to day. But with a little bit of flexibility, you can find flights to Europe from major US hubs for as low as 15,000 points each way!

Using Points to Fly your Family to Europe Cont.

Also NOTE, the importance of booking in advance.

To snag flights for as low as 15,000 points or less each way, for peak summer travel, I like to book our flights 9-11 months in advance. Airlines only release a certain amount of award space when it comes to flights. Once those spots are taken, the price to purchase in points just goes up and up.

Once you confirm the dates and exact flights you want- it’s time to transfer your points! Navigate to your credit card account and go to the rewards section.

Find the “Transfer to Travel Partners” feature. Here, you will put in your Flying Blue account number and transfer the EXACT points you need to book your family’s flights to Europe.

NOTE // *Once you transfer those points from you bank, they can NEVER go back! So always, always check for availability first*

By booking directly with Air France/KLM with points, you can easily snag $1000-1500 tickets to Europe during peak summer travel for *just* the cost of the taxes on that flights. (usually this averages about $100-200 per ticket with Flying Blue)

So instead of paying $5,000 out of pocket, or even $2-3,000 out of pocket for a good deal and a cash back statement from your points…you can now fly your ENTIRE family to Europe for $1000 or less!

Now THAT just took an out of reach bucket list Europe trip and made no longer just a lofty dream and 100% possible!

Side Note, if all this talk of traveling more for less as peaked your interest, make sure to download our free Points 101 Guide. 30+ pages outlining the basics of reward travel and taking out the overwhelm out of points to get your family traveling more!

Ways to Save EVEN MORE on your Family’s Flights to Europe

Two ways you can get the cost of your Europe flights even LOWER – watching for transfer bonuses and Flying Blue monthly promos. Let me explain!

Typically every month, banks will run transfer bonuses. For example, let’s say Chase runs a 25% transfer bonus to Air France/KLM (my favorite combo!). This means when you move your points from Chase to Air France, you would get 25% more points in your Air France/KLM account for FREE after that transfer!

This is how we snagged our dirt cheap flights to Norway! A 25% transfer bonus to Air France that allowed us to book tickets into Oslo and out of Bergen for about 35,000 points and $200 in taxes each.

Sign up for our points newsletter HERE and we will make sure to always alert you to these money saving opportunities…as well as a WEALTH of other tips and tricks.

Staying in the know about transfer bonuses can put more FREE points in your pocket, which just stretched your savings even farther!

Further Savings when Flying your Family to Europe

Lastly, you can watch out for Flying Blue monthly promos. These are specific routes Air France/KLM run discounted monthly sales on for flights booked on points.

For example, currently there is a handle of major US cities you can get an award ticket to Europe for 25% off! Flying from Atlanta to Europe during this Flying Blue promo is even up to 50% off!

Even BETTER??? All of these savings are *stackable*….my favorite kind of discounts.

So if the stars aligned, you could combine a transfer bonus WITH a Flying Blue monthly promo WITH the 25% kids discount and get some *very* serious savings on flights to Europe for your family.

I just make sure to subscribe to the Flying Blue newsletter to be notified of these sales!

There *is* a cheapest way to get to Europe for families, and this is surely one of the very best. Flight deals will definitely save you a fair amount on international flights. But NOTHING will slash your costs more than learning how to use points.

Comment below if you use this hack to get your family to Europe! Nothing makes us happier than hearing we’ve helped even one family take a bucket list trip for less!

And if you haven’t already make sure to download our FREE (30 page!) Points 101 Guide to take dream vacations like this for WAY less.


The Cannot Miss BEST Beaches in Kauai for Swimming

Kauai is without a doubt one of the most special islands in the world, most certainly in the US. With it’s lush landscape, dramatic dropping sea cliffs, and laid back Hawaiian vibe- it is truly just straight up MAGIC. Keep reading below to see the top ten best beaches in Kauai for swimming as you plan your family’s time on this dreamy island.

I mean if it’s good enough to film the epic scenes of Jurassic Park, you know there is something special about the place. 🙂

Although there’s no shortage of things to do in Kauai, the beaches are definitely a main event. More than half of Kauai’s 111 mile coastline is beaches- more than any other of the Hawaiian islands. 28 beaches total!

Side Note: If Hawaii is on your bucket list, but you have NO idea how you’ll afford it- this hack is a MUST READ.

best beaches in kauai for swimming

But sadly, not all of the beaches in Kauai are swimmable for anyone, let alone kids. Especially so in the winter months.

Nonetheless Kauai has some of the best beaches in Hawaii. These are the cannot miss best beaches in Kauai for swimming for your next family vacation. We broke them up into those in the North Shore, South Shore, and East side of the island.

In general, the South Shore beaches are better for swimming in winter (November to March). While, beaches on the North Shore of Kauai are best in the summer months (June to August).

The North Shore gets more rain than the southern coast (it doesn’t get that green on its own!), especially so in the winter months. No one wants a rainy beach day!

As well, the North Shore has very strong currents in the winter months. This is why surfers flock to this side of the island. But not so great for swimming. 🙂

(And if beach vacations are your vibe – don’t miss this round up here!)

Best Beaches in Kauai for Swimming on the North Shore

Hanalei Bay Beach

This is one of the most iconic beaches in Kauai, and for good reason. Hanalei Pier is a popular photo op for tourists…don’t miss sneaking in some family photos here at sunset.

There’s about 2 miles of sand perfectly situated in front of a lush green mountainous backdrop- Hawaii beach perfection.

Hanalei Bay Beach in Kauai for swimming

The calm waters of Hanalei Bay Beach make it perfect for swimming with kids. There is also restroom facilities, picnic tables, and easy parking which make it even more of a win in my book.

Because the waters are especially calm (especially the closer you get to the pier), it’s also a very popular spot for SUP boarding.

Grab breakfast at Hanalei Bread company or stop at The Wishing Well for some famous shaved ice. You won’t regret it!

Tunnels Beach

Another truly Instagram worthy beach on the North Shore of Kauai. This was one of our favorite thing we did on the whole island. Soft powdery sand, areas of calm shallow waters, shade at the back of the shoreline- the perfect family friendly spot.

Parking at Tunnels Beach can be a bit tricky. As you approach the pinned location, start looking to your right for an alleyway lined with a wooden fence. There will be spots for 8 or so cars here. This is the most direct access parking.

If you can’t snag a spot here, you need to park down at Ha’ena Beach. You will walk a ½ mile around the bay to reach Tunnels.

tunnels beach best beach in Kauai for swimming

So although there are no picnic tables, restrooms, OR solid parking options- the GORGEOUS perfectly Hawaiian backdrop more than makes up for those draw backs.

This is also a great place for snorkeling because of the lava tubes under the water. They are full of tropical fish and coral!

Anini Beach

Anini Beach is most famously known for being one of the best beaches in Kauai for swimming and snorkeling. The long coral reef and incredibly calm waters, make for the perfect spot for exploring creatures just below the surface of the water. Many people spot sea turtles here as well!

anini beach kauai

Because Anini is in a bit more isolated area of the island, it tends to not be as crowded as some of the more popular options on this list. It is closer to Princeville/Kilauea area so make sure to stop by Kilauea Fish Market on the way home. SO GOOD.

Although, there is no lifeguard at this beach, the calm clear waters make it the perfect spot for swimming with young kids.

Ke’e Beach

Maybe the smallest beach on the list, Ke’e Beach is worth the effort to get to this tucked away gem. This Kauai beach offers you the most direct views of the NaPali coast and is technically a part of Ha’ena State Park.

This is another go-to spot for snorkeling on the island, as reef fish tend to be in plenty here!

ke'e beach for swimming in Kauai

There are nearby restrooms and showers, as well as a lifeguard. All the more reason this is one of the most popular beaches in Kauai.

Because Ke’e Beach is a part of the state park, there is a maximum number of people that can enter daily. Reservations must be made in advance! We recommend pairing this beach with a hike on the Kalalau Trail. Cool off in the calm waters after your (very) challenging hike.

Make reservations HERE 30 days in advance online. Although there are a handful of parking spots released right at the park entrance, they get snatched up in literal seconds. Most people get into the park on the shuttle. Once you enter the park, you have about a ¼ mile walk on a wooden boardwalk to reach the beach!

Kalihiwai Beach

We love this leadwood tree lined little cove of a beach at the end of Kalihiwai Road. Another perk of public beaches like this is they don’t cost a THING! (and you know we are all about saving money on our travels)

On the left border of the long wide beach is the Kalihiwai River. So a mix of fresh and salt water gets trapped in the lagoon area. This means these waters are warm, which is perfect for little kids to play in for hours.

There’s also more than enough shade to go around at this location (always a win in my book). Kalihiwai Beach is consistently rated as one of the best beaches in Kauai for swimming. Also, boogie boarding in the summer months!

Kalihiwai Beach for swimming in Kauai

Don’t miss on your way home stopping at Kilauea Fish Market for a bite. I will be dreaming about that ahi tuna burrito and Opakapaka platter for monthhhsssss.

NOTE: The leptospirosis bacteria has been found in freshwater rivers and streams in Hawaii, so be careful when swimming in the river. This bacteria can enter through open cuts or wounds in the skin.

Always swim in clear water for shark safety, as the water in Kalihiwai Bay can get murky from run-off from the river after it’s rained heavily.

Best Beaches in Kauai for Swimming on the South Shore

Poipu Beach Park

One of the most family friendly beaches in all of Kauai. And without a doubt one of the best places on the Garden Island for catching views of sea turtles.

Poipu isn’t too big which is nice for families, and the shallow calm waters make it the perfect place for young kids to play.

Poipu Beach Park is known for having its own little micro climate of sorts, so even when the rest of the island is rainy, you can count on Poipu to hold out some sun for you!

Sometimes you can even catch Hawaiian monk seals hanging out on the sandbar. But the real must-see is the sea turtles coming to shore around dusk. Head over to Poipu beach late afternoon/early evening and see the beautiful creatures really up close and personal.

Poipu Beach on Kauai coast

There are volunteers present and the area is roped off to ensure these endangered creatures are protected. But WOW it is so neat to see these massive turtles up close. This was definitely our kids favorite thing we did in Kauai!

Grab a famous Hawaiin hot dog at Puka Dog across the street after and hang out at the picnic tables, while the kids climb on the playground. Sign me UP.

Salt Pond Beach Park

Salt Pond Beach Park is on the southwest side of Kauai. It is named after the traditional Hawaiian salt-collecting ponds adjacent to the left side of the beach.

In summer, Hawaiian locals collect the salt that remains after the sea water evaporates for cooking and other uses- pretty neat!

Once at the park you will see three different sections when facing the water. The large main beach area, a small shallow pond perfect for toddlers to the right, and another pond perfect for snorkeling to the left.

best beaches in Kauai for swimming

There’s not as many commercialized hotels around this area, so Salt Pond Beach Park definitely feels less developed and more natural than many of the others on this list. Despite there not being many restaurants and such, there are restrooms, showers, picnic tables, patches of lawn and lifeguard at this location!

This is also a great stop on the way home from a Waimea Canyon drive to break up the drive and let the kids play in the water for a bit!

Baby Beach

Baby Beach is another one of the top beaches in Kauai for swimming and families (and what a more perfect name). There are no lifeguards at this beach, however the cove is very protected which allows little to no large waves and the beach to have ideal calm, shallow waters.

Let your little one splash and play, while you enjoy the gorgeous Hawaiian island coast.

It is one of the more secluded beaches on Kauai, as many choose Poipu Beach nearby, so it is a bit quieter than some of the other options on the list. The less people the better in my book!

NOTE: There is limited parking available along the road. Make sure to park near the lava rocks then walk to the beach access there. 

Make sure to make reservations at The Beach House restaurant around sunset for appetizers or an early dinner after your time at the beach. It is only about a 7 minute walk away from Baby Beach and the perfect outdoor coastal restaurant with a view. 🙂

Best Beaches in Kauai for Swimming on the East Side

Lydgate Beach Park

This was definitely one of our kid’s favorite places on the island…actually not for the swimming though. Although Lydgate Beach Park is definitely one of the best beaches in Kauai for swimming, it also has a lot of other unique favorites for families.

Namely, a massive wooden playground across the parking lot and a beach covered in driftwood. Our girls wanted to stay for hours building forts and creations out of the piles and piles of driftwood.The playground was such a hit, we really had to put in some effort to pull them away.

Thanks to a long line of boulders, a breakwater divides the beach into one large deeper pool (5ft deep) and one large smaller pool (3 feet deep).

Beside the two ponds, there’s a 2½-mile paved path, perfect for a walk along the coast pre or post beach day! Nothing like a walk along a Hawaiian island coast at sunset. 🙂 A great spot for kids and mom + dad alike!

Kalapaki Beach

Another top beach in Kauai for swimming is Kalapaki beach on the East side of the island. This beach sits right in front of the Royal Sonesta resort.

The waters here are relatively calm and there is even a rental hut right behind the shore. Rent a boogie board or stand up paddle board and make an afternoon of it.

Kalapaki Beach for swimming in Kauai

This area has a ton of restaurants and shops, so you aren’t without food or activity options at this beach. This also means it’s a bit more crowded than some of the other Hawaii beaches.

Grab pizza at Scorpaticca (the Hawaiian Pork pizza is delicious!) and have dinner on the beach at sunset. The perfect Hawaiian beachside meal. 🙂 You may even catch a cruise ship or two coming through the harbor!

There are so many options for the best beaches in Kauai for swimming. There is truly nothing like the Hawaiian islands, and especially Kauai. It truly is such a special place and the beaches are such a huge part of that! Hoping this information helps make your family beach day in Kauai exactly what you’ve been dreaming of. 🙂

Family Travel Travel

35 Best Things to in Kauai with Kids (2023)

Kauai gets a lot of attention for being a romantic destination (which it absolutely IS that too!). But it’s truly an unforgettable family vacation that has just as much to do for Mom and Dad as for the kids. It is SUCH a special place and we can totally see now, why people come here over and over. Here’s 35 best things to do in Kauai with kids– broken up in the North, East, and South side of the island.

If you’re dreaming of going to Hawaii, but just have no idea how you could afford it – don’t miss our Hawaii on a Budget Step by Step Guide HERE!

best things to do in kauai with kids

Best things to do in Kauai with kids (South Shore)

1. Hike the Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail

This is a super accessible and easy trail on the South shore of Kauai. Bonus if you are staying at the Grand Hyatt Kauai, because the trailhead is essentially on the Hyatt property.

If not, there is a small parking lot right next to the entrance to the trail you can park in. Keep in mind there are parts of this trail that go along the edge of a “cliff” of sorts, so be mindful of kids at the wandering age 🙂

My oldest daughter and I woke up early one morning together and did this trail at sunrise- what a memory. This would also be the perfect little trek for a sunset hike. Put it on your list!

2. Don’t miss açaí bowls at Anakes

We had a loottttt of açaí bowls while in Kauai, and these surpassed ALL the rest. The flavor, the size, the price. Anakes is at the back of the Kukui’ula Supermarket and a true Kuaui hidden gem. We loved the Sunrise bowl and The Hulk. I will be dreaming about Anakes for months to come…GUARANTEED.

3. See the sea turtles at Poipu beach

When people ask our girls what their favorite part of Hawaii was, they both quickly say “the sea turtles.” 🙂 This is maybe the very best thing to do in Kauai with kids.

Head to Poipu Beach later afternoon/early evening around dusk and you will get to see these beautiful creatures up CLOSE and personal. They do have volunteers roping off the area to ensure no one gets too close to these endangered turtles.

sea turtles at Poipu Beach

A local there told us what we saw (maybe 8-12 turtles total) was actually 1/4 of what is normally on the shore. They said, fascinatingly, during COVID the turtles stopped coming to shore all together. They are just now seeing a slow resurgence the past year now that visitors are returning. How beautiful is that?!

4. Get a Puka Dog

Finish up watching the sea turtles at sunset and walk across the street to Puka Dog for an infamous Hawaiian style hot dog. I know, I know, it may sounds strange- but they actually were much better than we thought!

Take your hot dogs back over to the park at Poipu beach. Let the kids play on the playground there or play in the shallow, calm waters. The PERFECT Hawaiian night.

5. Go see spouting horn

This is a super quick stop! Spouting Horn is a blowhole located on the southern coast of Kauai. This area is known for its strong crashing waves (dangerously so in the winter). These waves erode lava rocks on the coastline which can create narrow openings, hence the Spouting Horn.

Plan for no more than 10 minutes really to swing in, see the sprays, and then be on your way. The kids got a kick out of the water spewing out of the ground for sure though!

6. Enjoy the water slides at the amazing resort pools

I mean what kid isn’t crazy for a resort pool slide?! We stayed at the Grand Hyatt Kuaui (for nearly free! See exactly how HERE) and it was the resort pool(s) of ALL resort pools! Our girls spent each afternoon after our morning adventures swimming and sliding and hot tubbing for hours on end. Something just hits different about that hotel pool in Hawaii. 🙂

A potentially underrated, but crowd favorite thing to do in Kauai with kids.

7. Walk Hanapepe Swinging Bridge

The Hanapepe Swinging Bridge is one of Hanapepe’s most popular attractions. In the early 1900s the bridge was originally built as a way for residents to cross the river. After a hurricane though, it was restored and reinforced. Kids love this suspension bridge because it rocks and swings (a little bit scary, a little bit fun!).

While in Hanapepe Town, visit the eclectic galleries and shops, or enjoy the Art Walk on Friday evenings, where all the galleries are open to view the works of local Kauai Artists.

8. Drive Waimea Canyon

Also known as the Grand Canyon of the Pacific, this is truly a site to see. (Not technically on the South shore, but most accesible from there!) Waimea is Hawaiian for “reddish water”, a reference to the erosion of the canyon’s red soil. About an hour drive from the South shore, but worth it for a morning trip!

NOTE: The drive does get quite winding towards the end. So make sure to pack some dramamine for anyone that is sensitive to motion sickness (me!).

You can drive all 13 miles (26 miles RT), or just stop at a few scenic lookouts as you want. You will park and pay at the first main lookout via a self standing pay to park machine. It is $10 per car + $5 per person. The views were breathtaking! The best views of the waterfall are actually just on the road pullovers around markers 10 and 13.

9. Hike Waipoo Falls Trail

While in Waimea Canyon, carve out sometime for the best hike for families in Kauai. The Waipoo falls trail is famous for birdwatching, wildlife, rainforests and beautiful views.

The trail is 3.6 miles round trip and moderately difficult. But for your efforts you will get two striking Waimea Canyon viewpoints and a memorable hike through the forest.

Waimea Canyon waterfall

Though this is a decently easy hike, the hardest part is finding the trailhead (though the area is well signed). To access the Waipoo falls trail-head, keep looking for a dirt road towards the right that leads down to the Waimea Canyon, past mile marker 14. Once you are on this dirt road, look for a dirt parking spot on the left. This is where the trail head is located!

10. Hang out at Shipwreck beach

Another super family friendly beach on the South Shore of Kauai. (Again, bonus if you’re staying at the Grand Hyatt like us, because this is the beach right in front of the resort). Although, the water isn’t as calm as Poipu beach, it isn’t overcrowded and a great stop if you are hiking Maha’ulepu Heritage Trail.

11. Enjoy ALL the food trucks

If you want to do Hawaii on a budget, food trucks are hands down the way to do it. I think we only had one sit down meal our whole trip! Honestly, many times, it seemed like the meals at the food trucks were the MOST delicious meals we had…and cheapest! Our favorites were Kickshaws, Kauai Poke Co., and Taco Libre on the South shore.

12. Wander through The Shops at Kukui‘ula

In the heart of Poipu, The Shops at Kukui‘ula is an upscale area for shopping and dining. Wander through the charming little strip with restaurants and boutiques to meander through. Make sure to stop in Lappert’s for the most delicious ice cream on the South Shore! The flavors are out of this world good.

13. Explore Old Koloa Town

Downtown Koloa Village is another great place to stop in for lunch or dinner and do some boutique hopping. The kids loved searching for their souvenir amidst all the shops and popping in all the art galleries. Don’t miss shaved ice at The Fresh Shave afterwards!

Best things to do in Kauai with kids (East Side)

14. Stop at Lydgate State Park

Although you will find far prettier beaches in Kauai, this one was a HIT with the kids. We stopped here on our drive from the South to North shore and the kids could have played for hours at the massive wooden playground here.

The beach across the parking lot is covered in driftwood remnants big and small. Our girls were so happy to spend time in the sand building forts and hiding in driftwood tents. Simple and maybe not the picturesque sweeping views that YOU love, but consistently a child-favorite thing to do in Kauai with kids :).

Don’t miss the very best beaches in Kauai for swimming here!

15. Kayak or SUP the Wailua River

There are loads of companies that offer kayak and SUP rentals for the scenic Wailua River. Many of them will even included a guided hike or lunch along with the excursion.

The river is about 17 miles long and flows from the Wailua Reservoir in the eastern mountains of Kauai to the Pacific Ocean. Along the course, the river passes through tropical rainforest, including the Wailua River State Park. The not so secret, Secret Falls, is here and only accessible by water.

Note- the only place to start your kayak or paddle board journey is at the marina!

16. Take Surfing Lessons

We really thought about doing this with our girls…how fun for your older kids to learn to surf in Hawaii?! Poipu Beach in Kauai is the most popular place for first surf lessons because of the ideal waves for beginners and the beautiful water. However, there are also some options at Hanalei Bay Beach as well.

Poipu Beach Surf School has some great options for children as young as six years old! When pulling together things to do in Kauai with kids, surfing lessons cannot be missed!

Tunnels Beach with kids

17. Go to the Smith Garden Luau

This is definitely the most famous Luau in Kauai….and for good reason. Music, an epic feast, and Hawaiian culture at its finest. Most people like to add on the Wailua River Cruise to the Fern Grotto before their Luau slot, to get a real taste of the area.

Make reservations before you arrive, as things get booked up weeks in advance. This iconic Hawaiian Island experience doesn’t come cheap though. Adults tickets are $140 and children’s tickets are $25-35! Pricey but certaintly tops the list as most iconic things to do in Kauai with kids.

18. Have a pizza picnic on the beach

Is there anything better than an care-free, barefoot dinner where the kids can run around and you can enjoy some beautiful scenery? Scorpacciata in Lihue (the Hawaiin Pork is a winner!) and Koloa Pizza Kitchen + Bar on the South shore are both solid options. Grab a pizza to go, pick up some canned wine (Aloha Juice for the kids!) and set to the shore for a perfect night.

19. See some Hawaiian Falls

There are a ton of waterfalls across the island of Kauai, but unfortunately a good number of them are only accessible by a pretty decent hike. (HARD with young kids in tow). Two of our favorite, easily accessible, waterfalls were ʻŌpaekaʻa Falls and Wailua Falls (the famous double-tiered waterfall). Both were on our drive from the South to the North shore and had a parking lot right by the viewing area.

ʻŌpaekaʻa Falls overlook

20. Bike the Ke Ala Hele Makalae

The east side of Kauai has a bike path that stretches from Ahihi Point to Lydgate Park. You can start the bike path in the center, in Kapa’a. Pick up bikes from Hele on Kauai and bike for miles in each direction. The path is mostly flat and well paved, however note there are some small hills that little bikers might need help getting up. 

If you’re traveling with very young ones in tow, rent a bike trailer for your kids!

21. Enjoy the famous shaved ice

Ohhhhh Hawaiian Shaved Ice! First of all, 100% get your shaved ice with ice cream, this is a non-negotiable. Hawaiians do shaved ice differently, in the best possible way. There are dozens of places you can get the infamous treat across the island, but our very favorites were JoJo’s, Waikomo Shave Ice, and Wishing Well on the North Shore.

Best things to do in Kauai with kids (North Shore)

22. Visit Anini beach

Anini Beach is a family friendly beach that is known for its calm waters ideal for snorkeling and wind surfing. Even in the harsh waves of the winter, Anini tends to stay relatively calm. As well, the sighting of sea turtles coming close to the shore makes this a favorite with littles!

A long narrow beach, Anini is a bit out of the way, so it’s less busy than Hanalei Bay or Ha’ena Beach. It’s also lined by palm trees and kamani (Indian almond) trees, so it offers a lot of shade (perfect for families with young kids!). Of the beaches, Anini definitely = best things to do in Kauai with kids.

Tunnels beach on north shore Kauai

23. Splurge on a helicopter ride

This was one thing we didn’t get a chance to do in Kauai that I really wish we would have. The Na Pali cost is only really viewable by three means: helicopter, boat, or a very long strenuous hike. Although they can be pricey ($150-350 per person), there is no better way to experience the natural wonder of the Garden Island than by flying above the landscapes in a Kauai helicopter.

Just make sure to read the details on your booking, because some allow very young children and others do not. The doors off helicopter ride will give you the most up close and personal experience to Kauai’s beauty, but may be a bit too thrilling for the littlest of ones.

24. Take a Na Pali Coast Boat tour

Like I mentioned above one of the ONLY ways to get your eyes on the infamous Na Pali coast is via boat. Captain Andy’s is one of the most popular options. They have options ranging from raft tours to yachts, prices varying from $79-245 per adult and $59-205 per child.

Don’t forget to pack that dramamine! Or even give some to the kids preemptively, those water are ROUGH. And no one wants to add a sea sick boat ride to their Hawaiian memories.

25. Visit and hike Ha’ena State Park

This is a MUST on the North Shore…and also you MUST make reservations in advance. Due to Kauai’s efforts to preserve the natural beauty and ecosystem of the island, they have started an initiative to limit the number of cars driving through the park. There are 3 options for getting into the park: by foot (for Hawaiian residents only), via the VERY limited parking lot right at the park entrance (these reservations are snatched up in literal seconds), and via shuttle (how most people enter the park).

Reservations open up 30 days in advance. Set an alarm on your phone and snag a park reservation before they are gone! This was the only reservation we made ahead of our trip and we paid $120 for the entire family (2 adults, 2 children, and a baby).

What I love about Ha’ena State Park is it is completely choose your own adventure. You can just enter the park and spend the morning at Ke’e beach for a relaxing (yet expensive) beach day. Hike the Kalalau Trail and just do the first 1/2 mile to viewpoint #1 and get a taste of the Na Pali coast. Hike the 4 miles round trip to the second beach. Or you can do the 8mile RT hike to the waterfall.

Whatever you choose keep in mind this is a very challenging hike! It is steep, rocky, and very (VERY) muddy for much of the trail. We ended up doing the 4 mile trek with our 8 and 5 year old and baby in a carrier and PHEW. Our girls have a decent amount of hiking experience, and it was an incredible challenge, but so worth it for those views! If you are going with kids younger than 4, I would highly recommend a carrier of some kind.

Kalalau Trail viewpoint

26. Go Snorkeling

Kauai has some of the best snorkeling you can find! Without a doubt, one of the top things to do in Kauai with kids to give you a true taste of the beauty of the island. Get a front row seat to the colorful tropical fish and sea life such as the humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻa (the state fish of Hawaii…say that 3 times fast), angelfish, and sea turtles.

There are tons of places around each town center that offer snorkeling rentals. As well, if renting a car from Turo, many hosts offer snorkeling gear as an add on for your trip! Anini beach is well known as a snorkelers paradise. It is the largest reef of all the Hawaiian islands and stretching 2.5 miles in length!

27. Head over to Hanalei Bay Pier for sunset

Hanalei Beach during the day is a beaut…but at night?! She SHINES. Head back into town to Hanalei Pier right before sunset, for some of the truly most unforgettable views. Let the kids run around and play in the sand, grab a few Christmas card worthy photos. This was one of our favorite things we did. Afterward we headed to Tahiti Nui for dinner (don’t sleep on that coconut shrimp!)- the perfect outdoor Hawaiian dinner vibes in Hanalei.

Hanalei pier at sunset

28. Go Parasailing

When I went to the Hawaiian Islands in the 5th grade, parasailing is one of the activities me and my Dad did. And it is still one of my core memories as a kid. If you have an adventurous little one, this is SUCH a fun way to see the island from a unique perspective together.

I LOVE activities that get kids (and you!) out of your comfort zone, all the while bonding in a beautiful place. Note- typically the minimum age on this activity is 5 years old!

29. Visit Tunnels Beach

This was our FAVORITE beach in Kauai. It has the mostttt incredible mountainous palm lined backdrop, warm shallow waters, and a shady area at the back of the beach to set up camp. (If beach vacations with kids is your thing, don’t miss this round up!)

Accessibility and parking can be a bit tricky, but it is more than worth it. The earlier you can get there the better!

Put Tunnels Beach into your phone. As you get close to the pinned location, start looking on your right for an alleyway that is lined with a wooden fence. A line of 8 or so cars will usually park here to get direct access to the beach. If you can’t snag one of these spots, you have to park at the Ha’ena Beach parking lot and make the 1/2 mile walk down the shore to Tunnels.

See our round up here of the best beaches in Kauai for swimming here!

30. Go horseback riding with a view

There are a couple of horseback riding companies that offer guided tours ranging from 90 minutes to five hours. This includes stops for photo ops, picnic lunches, snacks, swimming and time to take in the views. Bonus, many of the tours take you into their privately owned ranches with waterfalls and secret viewpoints seen by only few.

CJM Country Ranch, Princeville Ranch, and Silver Falls Ranch are the most popular. Just make sure to check the age limitations- each company has different age minimums!

31. Explore downtown Hanalei

Hanalei is honestly such a special little spot in the world. Truly quaint, perfectly laid back Hawaiian town at its FINEST. There are a few shops and lots of restaurants and food truck options. Grab a pastry at Hanalei Bread Company, an açaí bowl at Aloha Juice, some shaved ice at the Wishing Well, a snack at one of the many food trucks.

You cannot come to Kauai and NOT go to Hanalei- it’s a must!

Exploring downtown Hanalei

32. Ride a Train Through Kilohana Plantation

Get tickets for an authentic conductor narrated train tour of the historic 105 acre Kilohana Plantation. It’s a 2.5-mile rail line (40min) passing stands of island crops like taro and sugarcane – the staple of ancient Hawaiians. You will also pass groves of mango, banana, papaya, and pineapple.

In the heart of the plantation, get out to spend time feeding the sheep, goats, pigs, and the resident donkey Stiney. They just assed a train and lunch tour option too (3.5 hours)! The Kilohana Train is consistently recommends as one of the top things to do in Kauai with kids.

33. Explore Na Aina Kai Botanical Gardens

What began as a landscape project in the founders front yard, has grown to 240 acres that have been developed into a plethora of gardens, complete with one of the largest bronze sculpture collections in the US.

There are a variety of guided tours offered. Guided tours are on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. Self-Guided tours are on Thursdays. Reservations are required!

34. Brave the Koloa Ziplines

Koloa Zipline is Kauai’s longest zipline course. The course consists of 8 lines and lasts approximately 3.5 hours long. There is a minimum age restriction of 7 years, so keep that in mind as you plan your family’s adventure time in Kauai.

Such a unique way to explore the beauty of Kauai’s South Shore as you glide across the water on 22,000 acres of Hawaii’s first sugar plantation.

35. Explore the Maniniholo Dry Cave

Legend says the cave was formed when Polynesian settlers were chasing the Menehune from Waimea Canyon. The Menehune supposedly escaped into a tunnel that connected to the North Shore. When exiting the tunnel, they collapsed the ceiling making the dry cave. 

The cave is very easily accessible and across the street from Ha’ena Beach (not to be confused with Ha’ena State Park), so don’t miss this little landmark as you arrive at or leave the beach.

Kauai is truly SUCH special place. This was a total bucket list trip for us (that wouldn’t have been possible without points) and we are already mapping out how we can get back to Kauai. We hope this list of 35 best things to do in Kauai with kids gives you a starting point for an unforgettable family vacation!


The Best Boutique Hotels in Mexico (for your next kid-free vacation)

When my husband and I were looking to take a last minute kid-free getaway, I struggled to find *exactly* what I was looking for when it came to our kind of getaway. So thanks to all that research, here is our veryyyyy well curated list of the best of the best boutique hotels in Mexico. These are the ones that hit ALL of our criteria. Which, if you’ve been around here a while, you know isn’t easy. We can be very particular 🙂

Every boutique hotel in Mexico on the list checks all the boxes on our dreamy kid-free getaway bucket list:

  • 4.5 Stars or higher. Our philosophy? Why spend the money if it’s not going to be an EXCELLENT stay.
  • No mega resorts here. This list includes boutique properties with no more than 150 rooms.
  • Affordable Luxury, hotels that are luxe, but don’t cost you your life savings. We like nice accommodations, but let’s be honest who can afford $1,000+/night anywhere?!
  • Beautiful Design is a must. I’ll be the first to call myself vain and say I am just not going to enjoy the place as much if it’s outdated or poorly designed
  • For this list, we included only boutique hotels in Mexico on the beach. Because really if I have a kid free weekend, all I want to do is lay by the ocean and do a whole lot of blissful nothing.

Check out this list of the best boutique hotels in Mexico for your next kid-free vacation. And let us know if you end up booking any of these magical stays!

Cancun/Riviera Maya Boutique Beach Hotels

Excellence Beloved Playa Mujeres (All Inclusive)

A little more secluded and private than the typical all-inclusive in Cancun, this gem of a resort is a special one. If you can even call it a resort. This property only has 80 rooms, so it has everything you love about an all inclusive, but without the crowds. The design is minimal, the service 5 stars (as all excellence properties are known for), and the food outstanding. Bonus, because of the size no reservations for dinner are required! We just stayed here for a quick 3 night getaway and it was pure bliss, truly.

Grand Residences Riviera Cancun (All Inclusive)

This boutique beachfront resort is perfect for a luxury Riviera Maya vacation, without the massive price tag. Nestled on a white-sand beach it is just to the south of Puerto Morelos, a laid back fishing village with its own Mexican Caribbean charm. The perfect more intimate setting if you are looking for an all inclusive without that mega resort feel. And Cancun and Playa del Carmen are also only 20 minutes away. Big perk on this one is you can book it with Capital One points to get even MORE value!

Mahekal Beach Resort (All Inclusive Available)

This is a true laid back, barefoot beachy dream. If you are looking for a nice resort RIGHT on the beach, with thoughtful service and bohemian elegance, this place is for you. This in-town beachfront Riviera Maya resort’s location is only steps from local shops, boutiques, and restaurants. We love that there is an option for just the hotel, half board, and full board. Only thing of note with this boutique resort is that the beach is not private. Although the staff does a great job of keeping vendors at bay, it is worth noting.

Palmaïa House of AïA (All Inclusive)

If you are looking for more of a wellness driven retreat, this place is perfect. With only 60 rooms, and an exclusive adults only area, it is a verrryyyyy dreamy place to unwind. This one is probably the most unique property on this list. This boutique Mexico hotel offers guided meditation sessions, yoga classes, sound baths, energy healing, and more. Note- the restaurants on site are all plant-based if that is a deal breaker for you!

Viceroy Riviera Maya (All Inclusive Available)

Viceroy Riviera Maya is a Mexico luxury resort nestled in the rainforest of Riviera Maya near Playa Del Carmen. A true boutique gem, all 41 private villas enjoy their own completely private plunge pool (ummm sign me UP), sunbathing deck and outdoor shower. The restaurant onsite is al fresco, making all your Mexican beachy dreams come true. In a land full of mega resorts, Viceroy is a true breath of fresh air and definitely one of the best boutique resorts in the Cancun area. 

**If you are looking for a family friendly all inclusive trip, make sure to check out our list of the best all inclusives for families HERE!

Acapulco/Zihuatanejo Area Boutique Beach Hotels

Cala de Mar Resort & Spa Ixtapa

Your secluded, intimate, 5 star resort dreams come true. On a rocky hill alongside the Pacific Ocean, this upscale hotel is nearby Playa Quieta beach and Marina Ixtapa Golf Club. Every single room has a private plunge pool and ocean views (yes!) and the design couldn’t be more Mexican chic. 3 restaurants and a bar with a terrace, as well as 2 outdoor infinity pools complete the boutique hotel. Bonus- there are cooking and margarita classes are offered for a surcharge, as well as complimentary bicycles!

Tentaciones Hotel

“Tentaciones Hotel” is hands down one of the best boutique hotels in Mexico. The 4.9 stars says it ALL. With only four suites overlooking Zihuatanejo’s bay, this place is a true GEM. Located conveniently between Zihuatanejo downtown and La Ropa beach, it is the perfect oasis for this tny little Mexican beach town. Every room comes with an unobstructed view of the Pacific Ocean. These photos have us ready to hit book NOW.

La Casa Que Canta

I mean come on…does this photo alone not have you ready to reserve this magical hotel?! What could be more romantic than an intimate oceanfront hotel with breathtaking views of Zihuatanejo Bay. Spacious terraces, an infinity pool, and surrounded by natural rock formations…it is truly idyllic. Every single room has ocean views and the hotel’s award-winning restaurant serves traditional Mexican food and specializes in seafood. Kid-free Mexican vacation here we comeeeee 🙂 EVEN BETTER?! You can book this hotel on points through Hyatt’s partnership with Small Luxury Hotels of the World. See how here!


One photo of this resort and it nearly completely derailed our fully planned last kid-free trip to Mexico. Because HOW dreamy does this room look?! All the rooms at Amuelto have unobstructed views of the Pacific Ocean. This 6 room boutique hotel is nestled on the hillside in Zihuatanejo, Mexico a small charming beach town. Private terrace plunge pools, delicious restaurant on site with views for days, a beach just down the hill…this place is at the TOP of our list.

Banyan Tree Cabo Marqués

This dreamy getaway is tucked away within the affluent gated Diamonte area. Banyan Tree is a luxury hotel in Acapulco that has 45 deluxe villas, ALL with private pools. The smallest villas are 2,000 square feet, so you are truly vacationing in luxury! The on-site resort’s signature Saffron restaurant is praised for its authentic Thai food. Better yet, it’s only a 20-minute drive from Acapulco’s international airport. Catch a direct flight (see our favorite resources for getting dirt cheap flights here!), and the Banyan Tree is truly perfection for a romantic three- or four-night getaway

The Inn at Manzanillo Bay

If super intimate, understated and laid back luxury is your vibe, then Manzanillo Bay is just for you. 🙂 This boutique hotel has been around for 21 years and is the perfect place for a quick romantic kid-free getaway. For those that love to surf, it is right out front, Yoga sessions are available, and the restaurant on-site is known for its delicious authentic Mexican food. The feel of the rooms are truly all of your minimal luxury Mexican dreams come true. This one is a hidden gem for sure!

Best Boutique Hotels in Mexico – Tulum

Mezzanine Hotel Tulum

This is the ultimate Tulum boutique hotel. Mezzanine is eco-forward, ultra-cool, and the ideal Tulum hotel option for couples looking to experience the natural beauty of Mexico’s Caribbean coastline from a minimalist and elegant setting. There is an onsite authentic Thai restaurant and hip martini lounge. Situated along Mexico’s stunning Riviera Maya, just 30 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. So with a direct flight to Cancun, it is pretty accessible (KEY when your time is limited)!

Puerto Vallarta Boutique Beach Hotels

Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel (All Inclusive)

It is SO hard to find boutique all inclusives, and even harder to come across ones that are tastefully designed and not $1,000/night. Villa Premiere is a true diamond in the rough in that sense. This adults only beachfront oasis is also only minutes from Puerto Vallarta’s bustling nightlife and iconic boardwalk “El Malecón”. We LOVE this option because it has all the beauty and reviews of a high end resort, but without the price tag 🙂

Casa Velas

This place is OOZING with Mexican elegance at its finest. Surrounded by the Marina Vallarta Golf Club, and steps from the beach, Casa Velas is a peaceful oasis that brings together excellent service and a romantic coastal vibe. With your stay, you get VIP access to the Táu Beach Club, located just five minutes away on Banderas Bay. Although the hotel is not on the beach, you can reach the sand with the complimentary shuttle or by taking a walk through the beautiful property.

Best Boutique Hotels in Mexico – Cabo San Lucas

The Towers at Pueblo Bonito (All Inclusive)

A luxury resort-within-a-resort (Pueblo Bonito), The Towers at Pacifica provides an additional layer of luxury and indulgence. Two towers has 47 guest rooms with private terraces, including six suites with private plunge pools. All have 24-hour butler service (amazzzinnnggg) and a third tower on site features an oceanfront VIP Lounge, open exclusively to guests of The Towers at Pacifica. There is also a beachfront fine-dining restaurant, Peninsula, which features Baja cuisine. A great adults only option in Cabo for your next kid-free getaway!

The Cape, A Thompson Hotel

Although technicalllyyy this place has 157 rooms on site, it is at the very tip top of my list so I thought it deserved a spot on this round up. 🙂 Sophisticated beachfront vibes wrapped up in a GORGEOUS Cabo bow. Every single room and vantage point overlooks El Arco and the Bahia Cabo San Lucas horizon. There are two pools, including an infinity pool with a swim-up bar, as well as a saltwater pool carved into a national formation found on property. Also, bonus- you can book this property for a steal on points…the cash rate is a bit pricey, so points is the way to go on this one! The Cape is most definitely one of the best boutique hotels in Mexico.

**If you are looking to travel way more than your budget allows, check out our in depth post all about leveraging and maximizing points for family travel!**

Here’s to a few blissful days in Mexico with the one that started it all! Hoping this list gives you that push to book that trip, you won’t regret it!

Budget Travel

Hawaii Family Vacation on a Budget // A Step by Step Guide

Did someone say Hawaii beach vacation for 4 under $350?!? I am telling you, taking a Hawaii family vacation on a budget IS completely possible. You just need to get a little creative :). We are walking you through step by step exactly how to make that heavily discounted travel magic happen below 👇🏼

Strategically using points and credit card bonuses IS your answer. (RESPONSIBLY in a way that will not only leave your credit score in tact but potentially even HIGHER than I was before). And when done well, can earn you some epic, nearly, free travel ✨

Hawaii family vacation on a budget

For years and years, we used our credit card like a debit card and just erased purchases when we took a vacation, dollar for point. Although that is better than using a debit card, there IS a better way. A few years ago we started to *really* learn how to get the most out of our normal every day spending and points. This is what we are going to show you below 🙂

Now we go on multiple dreamy family trips a year AND both have credit scores in the “excellent” range….so hear me out here 🙂

Make sure to check out our Points/Miles 101 guide for families here to answer all your burning questions. Like what about all the annual fees? Isn’t this just going to kill my credit score? So you spend thousands of extra to get a “free” vacations…yeah right. Answering all your FAQ’s and giving you a basic overview of the points world there- it’s a MUST READ.

Hawaii Family Vacation on a Budget – START HERE

Here’s exactly how to get a trip to Hawaii for a family of 4 for only $320.80!

If you are skeptical of the points world (like we were), we encourage you to just try it one time. If it’s not for you, no problem, move on with your life. The worst you can get out of it is a heavily discounted vacation, and your credit score either staying level or potentially even going UP.

*If you’re in a season of life where all your financial ducks are not in a row or you are in a ton of debt, we do NOT recommend this means of discounted travel. Don’t worry we have all been there :). But take some time to get that sorted out, then you can come back to the points strategy later!

1. You (Player 1) apply for our favorite travel rewards card-

Once you’ve decided if points for Hawaii is the right path for you, you will apply for your first card. (For Hawaii specifically we recommend applying a full 9-12 months before you want to travel, because those Hawaiian properties are HOT!).

Hawaii Beach resorts are insanely expensive, points is the way to go if you have a tight budget!

Our hands down favorite travel rewards card is the Chase Sapphire Preferred. It has TONS of travel partners and uses for your points, a low annual fee, and 4x points on dining and restaurants. The card provides just so much flexibility and value ongoing.

You will meet the minimum spend ($4,000 in 3 months) and then be rewarded with big ole’ pile of 60,000 bonus points. We wish we had enough normal everyday spending to rack up the amount of points needed for multiple vacations a year. The reality is most people don’t.

The bulk of our points are earned from credit card welcome bonuses. (Again, visit the FAQs here if that is a new and uncomfortable idea…we get it!)

*The key here is meeting the minimum spend with your normal everyday spending, NOT A DIME MORE! Making additional purchases you wouldn’t normally buy to get a welcome bonus, literally defeats the entire purpose of the “free” travel. 🙂 Set auto pay up to pay your statement balance in FULL as soon as you get your card. Interest fees = *not* free travel.