Taking Advantage Of Resort Day Passes And Other Genius Family Travel Hacks

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Last month, we had a taste of the beach life in La Paz, Mexico. While we were there, we met up with friends of ours, who were vacationing in La Paz with their kids. During our time together, they let us in on a few of their favorite family 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!

Our kids playing at the pool (February 2019)

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.

Hanging out at the beach with our friends (February 2019)

Enjoying a nice resort for a day for a fraction of the price!

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 we were 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.

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. We’ll get an inexpensive Airbnb, and head of to the resort for a day.  

Enjoying the perks of resort day passes at the beach - The Wandering Daughter
The kids playing on the beach near the hotel (February 2019)

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.

Trying his hand at rowing! (February 2019)

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.

Beach play using resort day passes - The Wandering Daughter
Beach play in La Paz during the off season (February 2019)

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.

Getting the most out of frugal vacations

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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The Wandering Daughter

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4 Responses

  1. This is such a great list! I love doing the long layover trick – we were able to explore a good chunk of Tokyo on a 12 hour layover and then sleep on the flight home. But I’d never thought about asking for a resort day pass!

    1. We did a long layover in Tokyo once too, and took the train into Shibuya and had sushi for lunch. It was so much fun!

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I'm a travel-loving mom of three from Seattle. Join our adventures as we explore the Pacific Northwest and the world!

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