Planning a family vacation? Traveling with kids can change the way of the game, but no worries, with these 10 travel tips, you can plan a family getaway easily and efficiently and have a vacation filled with memories that will last a lifetime for the little travelers and the big ones!
Time to plan!
- Pack light… VERY light! While packing, keep it in mind that every item that you put into that suitcase, you will be carrying with you hundreds or thousands of miles to wherever your destination is! Not to mention having to keep track of it. That should help to lighten the load. You can always pick up the little stuff once you get there. Pack only the necessities and remember, many hotels and transportation companies offer accommodations like childproof rooms, cribs, and safety seat rentals. Your travel agent can help to teach you all about what various companies have to offer.
- Location is key! Find a hotel in a location that is central to the actives you plan to do, preferably within walking distance. This will save on time and transportation costs. Does the location have amenities that are a must for families, like a wade pool for the little ones? A bathtub? What about kid friendly TV channels? Also, look into dining options ahead of time. Make sure the hotel restaurants (or dinning places nearby) offer kids menus. Many may even offer family discounts like ‘kids eat for free’ or family-style dining.
- Plan together. Have the whole family help plan the vacation activities ahead of time. The best family vacations are those that every family member gets to experience what they are looking for. Older children and teens, who can be a bit more difficult to please, will be especially appreciative of this! For some great planning tools click here.
- The airplane ride… If you will be traveling with infants or toddlers, this may be the part of the trip that you are most dreading… But don’t worry; there are several tips to make this part of the vacation much more tolerable. If you can, plan the plane ride at night so kids can sleep (this may also mean one less night of paying for overnight accommodations). For seating, know that airlines do not require you to purchase a seat for children under the age of two. However, you may still want to consider it, as it is much safer for the youngsters and it can lessen the meltdowns. Many airlines also offer discounted seats if you do chose to purchase one.
Departure day is here…
- Airport security made easy: TSA can be frustrating and can create dramatic delays if you are not prepared. Practice folding up that stroller ahead of time and dress comfy. Dress in layers, you never know when a plane might have the AC on arctic mode! Also, a heads up that babies must remove their shoes as well, so go velcro or slip-on for the day.
- Travel entertainment, leave singing Elmo at home. Bring just enough toys to keep the kiddos entertained in long lines, plane rides and car rides. Opt for books and other quiet toys to keep mom and dad, and the other nearby travelers happy. If your kids are like many others, an electronic device can keep them happy for hours. If this is the case, be sure to pack the headphones.
- Once arrived, work with kids’ schedules, not against them. They may be at the greatest theme park in the world, but for the little ones, nap time is nap time. Plan for naps, and plot a slower schedule. Many times with family vacations, you just have to roll with the punches and be flexible.
- Check for family deals and do the free stuff! Always do the free stuff. Many times, these are the activities that are most relaxing, memorable, and the best time to bond as a family. After all, that’s why you’re here, right?
Final thoughts to consider:
- Do a test run. If this is you first major family trip, or if you have added some new little travelers to the mix, plan a shorter trip together before you go. A weekend getaway or a daytrip will do the trick! This will help you to work out the kinks like items that may be overlooked in packing, timing out activities, and how everyone gets along.
- Finally, have fun! Attitude is everything. If you get stressed out about not finding the hotel or an unexpected change in plans, you can bet that the kids will pick up on that stress and become stressed and cranky as well! Have an open mind, be flexible, and go with the flow. And most importantly, have fun!
For more helpful tips and advice on family travel, visit Fox World Travel.