Every year my sisters and I plan a family vacation. This year we choose San Juan, Puerto Rico as our destination. We are budget travels. We are a family of 9 travelers 2 adults and 7 kids ranging in age from 4-13.
Our vacation travel began on Friday evening when my sister picked us up from Shreveport (itís cheaper to fly from DFW) at 5:15pm. After a detour in Longview, Texas we arrived in Fort Worth at 9:32pm.
I am an early riser and to ensure that we arrived at the airport early I awoke and 5:15 for mediation and prayer then proceeded to give the kids their first wake up call at 5:45. *My sister is not as timely as I am and gets flustered when things donít flow. To ensure we got off to a great start I made sure the kids were up and dressed early. This allowed her to get up later* I was up and dressed earlier than the kids I prepared their cereal. They were not allowed to watch TV we listened to music and they checked their bags to ensure they did not leave anything.*we are budget travelers everyone took their clothes in a backpack or small duffle bag. This also saved time at the airport when we used the self-check kiosh. The kids were also allowed to carry a DVD player and a PSP or Nintendo DS.
My daughter Shelby left her flip-flops in Shreveport so we stopped at Wal-Mart which is less than 5 minutes from my sisters home. My sister lives 30-45 minutes from DFW.
We arrived at DFW at 8:35am. We have a minor problem with Self-Check In and were assisted by a very nice American Airlines attendant. Due to his spectacular service we never stood in a line and proceeded to the security check point. *We spoke with the kids all week about what would be expected of them at the security checkpoint. I believe preparing the kids ahead of time and letting them know what to expect and what to do make them more comfortable and made our experience better.*
After the security checkpoint we preceded to our gate which was change after we arrived then changed again. Once we were settled at the right gate my sister and I realized we were scattered all over the plan. We asked the American Airlines attendant if it was possible to get seats closer together. With a genuine smile the American Airlines ticket agent did get us seats together in groups of three one set at the front one set in the middle and one set in the very back.
*Again I canít say enough about preparing kids to travel. We talked all week about plan travel and getting scared while flying. Oh yeah ear popping. The kids were prepared. *My 13 year old was scared and my 11 year old changed seats with my niece to be closer to me. Surprising the 4 years old loved flying.* Also Kudos to the American Airlines flight staff was exceptional with the kids that were seated in the front of the plane while my sister and our set were seated in the middle and back respectively.*
The flight was 2hours 20 minutes with a 4 hour layover in Fort Lauderdale. My sister and I had already planned to feed the kids at Chiliís at the airport. After disembarking we proceeded to Chiliís for our sit down lunch. *After years of traveling with the kids we have found that kids need a down time during travel. Having a sit down meal allows the kids and adults alike to relax in a soothing environment because we had a 4 hour layover we took our time relaxing and eating.*After a late lunch we again went through security with no hassle and waited on our flight to San Juan at 6:55. We had about and hour wait the kids listened to music and played there games. Our flight was on time and most of the kids sleep through the flight.
We arrived on time to Puerto Rico the humidly hit us as we left the airport. We hailed 2 cabs to take us to the Fort Buchannan. We arrived at the hotel with minimal fuse. Bedtime
We paid $600 per family for the entire 10 days in Puerto Rico. We are testing the limits to see how well we can manage on since a small sum of money.
Each family purchased their tickets online directly from American Airlines the total cost per person was $471.00. This was not as cheap as a special a special we saw on Hotwire but in the end it was the cheapest fare the day that we purchased out ticket.
We ate at Chiliís in the Fort Lauderdale airport for $89.99 with the rest going for a tip for the waiter. We also spent about $20.00 at the airport for snacks*well worth it to keep the kids quiet*