Top 10 Family Travel Tips
- Plan, plan & plan some more! I know some of you are thinking, “But I’m NOT a planning kind of person”… Luckily for you, I am 😉 & I can help!
Plan on everything taking longer than what you think it will. Whether you’re flying, or driving, there are always things that can (& will) go wrong. You might have car trouble, you might have to stop & get gas because you thought your husband did & he thought you did. You might get 30 mins away from home & realize you forgot important medication or God forbid an Ipad! (gasp!) Or if you’re flying, parking can take a while, or sometimes getting through security can take longer than you expected.
Bonus tip: Even though I’m a big fan of having a good plan in place, try & remember to take deep breaths. (I have to fully admit I need to practice what I preach on this one lol) but try & focus on the big picture.. You WILL get to your destination! It will all be ok! (& if you use a great travel agent (like me wink wink) they can help you if God forbid you do miss a flight, or your car breaks down or some other disaster happens.
2. Pack enough, but don’t over pack! Sounds a little confusing right? Let me explain..
I’m the kind of person who likes to be prepared for a nuclear disaster (ok I’m not THAT bad haha!) But I do like to be prepared when it comes to traveling with kids. You never know when one kid is going to need 18 bandaids because they fell down & they don’t even really need a bandaid but it “makes them feel better”, or if you’re on a cruise & one of the kids gets a little motion sickness. You never know when you’re going to need allergy medicine or eye drops, or those random things that you don’t really think you’ll need, but then something happens & you wish you had it. So do your research based on the trip you’re taking. If you’re going camping, it’s probably a good idea to bring some bug spray. If you’re going on a cruise, you might want to bring some nausea medicine, etc etc. So make a list of the essentials & pack those! You don’t want to overpack though, because it’s no fun to have absolutely ZERO suitcase space left to bring home some cool souvenirs from your trip.
Bonus tip: Try packing cubes for easier unpacking when you get to your destination! You can even use different colors for each person in your family! Here are the ones we use & we love them!! Amazon packing cubes!
3. SNACKS! This one is kind of a no brainer, but I feel that’s it’s VERY important so I have to add it to the list…
Who here can honestly say that they haven’t ever gotten hangry?! I’m 35 years old & I get hangry about every other week or so lol! So we can all understand how important it is to ensure that our kids do NOT get hangry especially at inopportune times (ie: in the security line at the airport, in the customs line while getting off your cruise, waiting in line for a ride at Disney). So it goes without saying that snacks might just be the number 1 item on your packing list.
Bonus tip: Have snacks in multiple bags! If you forget the snack bag in the car, they won’t do you any good when your at the zoo & the cheapest snack option is $9.00! I keep a few granola bars & fruit snacks in my purse at all times, just incase!
4. Activities…These can definitely come in handy especially if you’re taking a road trip.
Nowadays, you can get all kinds of fun games, puzzles, dry erase books, word searches, trivia games, coloring books, etc to keep kids occupied in the car. There’s also movies if you have a DVD player or portable DVD player & also Ipads/tablets to keep them entertained as well! If you get in a pinch in line somewhere, there’s fun apps you can download on your phone if you don’t have the option to be carrying a bag around with you at all times!
Bonus tip: It’s always a good idea to have some kind of activity/travel bag with you at all times (not even just for traveling, but these can come in handy at church, in a doctors office, at a siblings sports event etc!)
5. Kid FREE discounts!!
These can save you SO much money & are usually pretty easy to find! There are a bunch of apps out there that you can download from where kids eat free, to free days at museums, free parks in the area, free entertainment or activities in the city you’re staying in etc etc. Don’t be afraid to just for child discounts as well because you never know!
Bonus tip: I love the Kids Eat Free app! It tells you what days certain restaurants have kids eat free options! I usually plan our trips around food lol, so this makes it really easy to plan where to eat on what days! 🙂
6. Safety first!
No matter where you’re traveling to, it’s always a good idea to be aware of your surroundings. Do a quick survey of the area, keep an eye out for any potential dangerous situations. If traveling with a spouse or other adult, use a buddy system if you can. One parent or adult is responsible for one kid & the other adult is in charge of the other kid/s. If you’re traveling alone with kids, make sure to talk to them before hand about safety, (no wandering off to look at something without telling me first, don’t talk to strangers, stay close by if you’re walking through a crowded airport).
Bonus tip: Make sure your kids know the basic emergency contact info in case you would happen to get separated. Have a meeting point in case someone gets lost from the group. Identify people who work at the place where you are (airport/TSA employees, Disney cast members, etc) so they know they can go to them for help if they needed. Go over your phone number & the parents first & last names as well. When it comes to your kiddos, you can never be too safe!
7. Documents. This depends a little bit on where you’re traveling to. If you’re taking a family trip to Disney & you’re driving, you probably don’t need birth certificates lol. But, if you’re flying anywhere or going on a cruise or anywhere out of the country, it’s a great idea to have proper documents & different types of identification. This is crucial especially if you are traveling without the other parent, if you have any kind of custody agreements, or foster/adoptive situations in your household, or if you’re traveling with a child who isn’t your own. You might not ever need them, but it’s best to have them just in case.
Bonus tip: If you plan on bringing your child’s original birth certificate, make sure you leave copies at home just in case anything should happen to the original.
8. Have your kids buy their own souvenirs!
If you can swing it, give your kids each a set amount of money before the trip. Explain to them that they can purchase anything they want with that money, but they need to be wise about their choices (like don’t spend all your money at the first place on the first thing you see!) This gives kids a good opportunity to learn about the value of money & how to budget!
Bonus tip: We like these cute Disney wallets! Cute wallets for kids
9. Think about car seat options.
At home, you’d never think of taking your young child out for a drive without a car seat. When you travel, the rules don’t change. It’s no safer for your child to ride in a car without a car seat when you’re away from home than it is when you’re at home. If you plan to rent or hire a car at your destination and don’t know that you can get a car seat there, take a car seat with you. Most car rental companies have car seats available with your rental, but you should confirm before your trip that there will be a car seat there and available for your use. Some car services have car seats as well, but they are generally less common than car rental companies with car seats.
Bonus tip: You can get portable car seats to use anywhere & everywhere you go! Here is a link to a foldable one! (I have not personally tested this one out yet, but it has great reviews!) portable booster seat
10. Remember to HAVE FUN & hire a good travel agent!!! 😉
Planning vacations (especially with kids) can be stressful & challenging, BUT, the good news is, it doesn’t have to be!! When you use my services, I take care of all the details! Everyone is so busy these days, let me save you time by planning your vacation every step of the way, so all you have to do is pack & enjoy your trip!! And once your vacation begins, remember to try & relax & enjoy yourself! And if for any reason, your plans don’t go accordingly, then you will have peace of mind knowing that I’m just a phone call/text/email/Facebook message away!
Contact me today to set up your Complimentary Vacation Planning Session!!
Travel Agent & Family Travel Specialist