It’s no secret that our family loves to travel, and we are often starting talking about our next vacation before we finish ones that we already have planned. I’ve been trying to instill a love of travel in my kids from a young age so that I can have some guaranteed travel buddies as they get older. While I wouldn’t consider myself to be a travel expert, I have travelled enough with my family to gather some helpful tips and tricks that will hopefully make your next family vacation a little smoother and enjoyable.
- Have realistic expectations about your vacation. Do you dream of spending hours exploring art museums, seeing historic sites, or perhaps just feeling refreshed and relaxed? While those are all great aspirations, they might be a little difficult with young kids. Keep the ages of your kids in mind and plan some of your activities around them and their interests. While you don’t need to have every activity focused on them, you do need to keep your activities kid-friendly and your expectations realistic. Mixing kid activities with the interests of adults is a great way to try and keep everyone happy.
- Leave room in your schedule for naps, quiet time, or down time. Trust me! I have tried to power past nap time and it always leaves kids and parents frustrated and grumpy. If you have young kids, it is in everyone’s best interest to spend a few hours each afternoon resting.
- Roadtripping with kids could be a post all on its own, but if you have a long drive to get to your destination, make sure you plan ahead with plenty of activities to keep your kids occupied and entertained. There is nothing worse than 8 hours of “Are we there, yet?”! Some of our go-to car trip activities are movies, books, new coloring books, individual snack stashes, and small toys. It can also be helpful to plan ahead with new small toys or treats that are given to each child whenever you plan to take a break during your road trip. The novelty of the new item will hopefully keep your child entertained until your next stop. We also like to plan our lunch breaks at parks or restaurants that have play places. It is DEFINITELY worth your time to allow your kids a few minutes to play and get some energy out.
- If you are flying, be sure to bring your stroller and car seats or booster seats to the airport. I recommend checking your car seats and booster seats with your luggage, but waiting to check your stroller until you get to the gait. Check with your airline, but my experience is that these items can all be checked for free and do not count towards your luggage limits. Having a stroller in the airport is a lifesaver!
- Speaking of airports – please arrive early! I’ve been stuck in security because my baby food and stroller needed extra screening. Although this was an inconvenience, it was okay because I gave myself plenty of time at the airport. Just plan on getting through security taking some extra time so that you aren’t stressed about missing your flight.
- If you need to bring bulky items like diapers and snacks and don’t have much room in your luggage, consider using your Amazon Prime account to send the items that you will be using during your vacation to your destination lodging. Just check with your hotel before to see if they have any specific policies about accepting deliveries for you.
- Our family occasionally stays in vacation homes rather than hotels. This usually gives us more room to spread out and gives us the option to save a few dollars by preparing our own meals. We have had great success using Airbnb. You can use my referral code to get a $40 travel credit: www.airbnb.com/c/lisap506
What are your tips and tricks for traveling with kids? We would love to hear about them!