Planning a family vacation with your kids this summer? Then these tips are for you! Traveling as a family with children, big or small, can be stressful even under the best circumstances. However, there are several steps you can take before even leaving your home to ensure that you and your family have the best time possible, without driving each other crazy. Keep reading for ten of these handy travel tips.
10. The Right Destination
Destination choice is a key factor in how your trip will play out. You may be dying to go to Italy to see the sights and eat some delicious pasta, but if you’re traveling with small kiddos, it may take more effort than you’ve bargained for. Younger kids will have a hard time walking long distances or being in museums without lots of kid-friendly stimulation. Do a little extra research about your destination to determine if it is right for your family’s needs and attention spans. If you’re traveling with older kids or teens, get them involved in the decision-making process! They are more likely to be invested and excited if they feel that they have a say in where you’re going.
9. Don’t Over-pack
When traveling alone or as a duo, packing doesn’t take as much forethought, you can pack what you want and have options when you get there. Packing for a family on the other hand, requires some planning. Packing light is essential because you’re probably going to also need some extra comfort items for the kids, especially little ones. The lighter you pack, the less time you’ll spend searching through bags and lugging suitcases all over the place. Pack only the essentials for you and your kids. Many times strollers and car seats can be checked for free, so don’t stress too much about those items. Keep comfort items and snacks in your carry-on so they are easily accessible.
8. Travel-friendly Strollers
Bulky strollers are a pain when flying. If you plan on traveling often, take the time to invest in a lightweight travel stroller. If your child is old enough, an umbrella stroller will work well too, without taking up too much room or effort.
7. Don’t Rush
Take extra time when traveling with kids,. Perhaps just choose one single destination for several days instead of bouncing from place to place. You’ll spend less time packing and unpacking, rushing from activity to activity to get it all in, and save on costs. Your kids will probably be happier too since they have a little more time to adjust to your temporary locale.
6. Inform the Airline
Be sure to inform the airline that you will be traveling with a lap child. You won’t need to pay for children under the age of two who will not be using their own seat. However, it is better to plan ahead and potentially take advantage of some additional accommodations that can be available for someone traveling with a small child depending on the airline.
5. Frequent Flyer Miles
Frequent flyer programs, typically, do not have an age requirement. Sign your kids up early to earn miles that you can then put toward your next family vacation. Don’t forget to sign yourself up.
4. Family-friendly Accommodations
This is another tip where researching will come in handy. Look for hotels with affordable suites and kid-friendly activities to make the most of your stay and keep everyone happy. Vacation rentals are also a great option for families so that everyone can have their own space when needed.
3. Seat Kids in the Middle or Window Seat
When flying with small children, it is best to have them in the window seat or middle seat. Kids can easily get hurt sitting in the aisle where people walk by frequently and flight attendants are pushing heavy carts. Keeping kids in the middle can also be helpful when parents are on either side and can take turns helping said kiddo find their favorite toy or a snack. This keeps parents from getting overwhelmed and stressed.
2. Emergency Plans
Always have a safety plan and a meeting point when traveling with kids of any age. New places can be daunting for kids and on vacation there could be more hustle and bustle than they are used to. Set a plan for if you get separated and teach children about which adults are safe to ask for help.
1. Stay Calm
Traveling with family, especially kids, requires patience and calm. Your children will look to you for how to handle a new situation or unexpected occurence. If you start to get stressed out, they will pick up on that and will, in turn, become stressed out as well. When an unexpected or stressful situation arises, take deep breaths, make a new plan, and have fun! It will all be worth it in the end.
All in all, traveling with your family doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, traveling with young kids can be an amazing experience in which you get to view the world from a different perspective, theirs. With proper planning, research, and packing, you and your family can have an amazing time without driving each other nuts. Take the time to pick the right destination and accommodations and you will thank yourself as you’re relaxing and spending time with your family.