Traveling with kids of all ages can be a huge task. It's no surprise why many parents choose to stay at home during the holidays. Saying that, for those that brave the outside world with multiple active kids in tow, it can be a massively satisfying experience for all. Family travel matters for your family and there's nothing like a family vacation whether by land, sea or air to strengthen those bonds.
So how do you travel, enjoy a vacation with the family and keep everyone happy without losing your sanity? Kids get extra excited and rambunctious away from the home, so parents will need to be prepared to take on a family trip. It's all about being prepared and having the right, open mindset on your travels. If you can master these family traveling hacks, you could even learn how to travel the world with your family stress-free. Oh, what a life!
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Travel Secrets Packing Hacks
Bring a compact stroller
If you've got a young baby or a young child, you can't travel anywhere without a good stroller. Invest in a compact stroller that's light and easy to assemble and disassemble. You'll need something durable, especially if you plan to use it more than once! As an option to consider be sure to check out the TernX Carry On the world's easiest all-in-one solution to traveling with children.
Pack an extra pair of everything
Some things are going to get lost or broken and you won't even know it until you need it. To prepare for this inevitability, include an extra pair of everything, like socks, diapers, milk bottles, toys, and more. Think of this as insurance.
Lighten your load
Just because you need to pack extra pairs of socks doesn't mean you should bring your entire wardrobe with you on holidays. Bring only the necessities: clothes, stroller, bottles, etc. and you'll be repaid with less hassle when you start your travels. Check out our article on tips for packing and traveling light with kids.
Bring childproof essentials
Kids are always curious and want to touch everything, err on the side of caution and bring childproof essentials and a parenting safety kit. Keep them safe by locking hotel fridges, cabinets, and more. Make sure any sharp edges in your hotel room are covered to prevent any accidents and injuries. Childproof wherever you're staying with easy-to-pack safety essentials you can include in your luggage.
Bring baby wipes
There is no such thing as too many wipes. Good wipes are a godsend as there will be spills and accidents when there are kids involved, so instead of being stressed by the mess, take comfort that you're prepared for everything with handy wipes. Keep them handy at all times.
Travel Secrets Booking Hacks
Be flexible with your travel dates: Prices can vary significantly depending on the day of the week and time of year you travel. Consider traveling during off-peak periods, such as weekdays or during shoulder seasons.
Book child-friendly accommodation
Not all hotels are created equal, even if they advertise that they are child-friendly. Avoid business hotels that are curated for professionals on quick business trips, and opt for hotels and Airbnb that look and feel child-friendly. Also look for rooms with kitchens so you won't have to use the bathroom sink to prepare baby food, children's snacks, and more.
Book hotels with free breakfast
Food can be expensive, especially if you're feeding yourself, your partner, your kid, or two to five kids! "Free" food is the best and something you should never pass up on. Don't forget that breakfast is the most important meal for your kids, and these growing youngsters need a big breakfast to start their day. Take advantage of free breakfast buffets. They'll also save you time and money looking for breakfast spots.
When in Rome, do as the Romans do: Order out! Sometimes, after a big day out and with tired kids in tow, ordering out instead of going through the whole routine of getting the family ready will save a lot of stress. There will be nights where you go out, but there should also be nights for a relaxing dinner in your hotel room where you can enjoy local delicacies while feeling at home in your cosy hotel room. There are a lot of restaurants these days that offer free delivery, this will also save you time commuting to and from restaurants.
Master discounts and coupons
Become a master of finding discounts and coupons online. Scour the internet for flight discounts, hotel discounts, train discounts, and more. Children often get discounts at select shops, amusement parks, museums, and the like, so grab onto those as well. Do what you can to save money. At least you can either put that money back in the bank or use it for additional activities to give your family even more happy travel experiences.
Travel Secrets Parenting Hacks
Limit screen time
Excessive screen time can divert your children's attention away from the real-world adventures that await them. Numerous studies have suggests that kids who engage in physical play are more content and attuned to their surroundings compared to those who spend most of their time online. Traveling offers an excellent opportunity for your children to grow and learn. Therefore, it's recommended to restrict their screen time during trips so they can participate in thrilling activities and make the most of the experience. For kids, traveling is one of the best ways to broaden their horizons and learn in a practical setting.
Do things together
Planning family travel can be challenging and there is nothing worse than being on vacation and hearing the kids say, "I'm bored." Traveling is a family activity and is important to keep everyone happy on vacation. It's easy to forget this when mom is eyeing a spa retreat and dad wants to visit the museum. We all have different wants during a family vacation, but it's important to find time to do things together, whether it's from something as simple as packing or eating together.
Dress your kids in neon
Dressing your children in vibrant hues can prove immensely beneficial when navigating crowded areas during vacations. Such bright colors will make them easily noticeable, and while they may feel slightly self-conscious about their outfit, it's ultimately for their protection and your reassurance. In fact, they may even look back and chuckle at the flamboyant clothing you dressed them in, creating a light-hearted vacation memory in the future.
Stay positive and be patient
Traveling with kids can undoubtedly be a challenge, and it's essential to maintain a positive and patient attitude throughout the trip. Children can be unpredictable and may not always stick to a planned schedule, which can be frustrating for parents. However, it's crucial to remember that travel is an adventure, and unexpected events can often lead to some of the most memorable moments.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed, take a few deep breaths, and remind yourself that you're creating valuable memories with your family. Even if things don't go according to plan, try to stay calm and be patient. Children pick up on their parents' stress and may become more anxious themselves, so remaining calm can help keep the mood light and cheerful.
Maintaining a routine is crucial when traveling with kids, especially if you're crossing different time zones. Kids thrive on routine, and sticking to their regular sleep and meal schedules as much as possible can help ease the transition into a new environment. Ensuring that your children (and you) get enough rest is essential for overall health and well-being, as a good night's sleep is crucial for their physical and mental development. By keeping to their regular routine, children will feel more secure and comfortable, making them less likely to become anxious or overwhelmed.
Travel Secrets Moving Hacks
It's important to recognize that children also need time to unwind and play while on vacation, amidst all the learning and exploring. To cater to this need, it's a good idea to locate local playgrounds in the area you're visiting and mark them on your map. Playgrounds are a universal concept and can be found in almost every country around the world. They provide an excellent opportunity for children to burn off some energy, have fun, and interact with local kids.
Hungry kids are not happy kids, so make sure to pack plenty of healthy snacks for your travels. This can include items such as fruit, granola bars, crackers, and trail mix. It's also a good idea to bring a refillable water bottle for each child to keep them hydrated and prevent unnecessary stops for drinks. Not only can snacks keep your kids happy and satisfied, but they can also be a great distraction during long car rides or flights!
When traveling with kids, it's always better to be prepared and one of those is a first-aid kit. Bringing a first aid kit gives you peace of mind knowing you have the necessary supplies to treat minor injuries and illnesses. A basic first aid kit should include items such as band-aids, antiseptic wipes, gauze, tweezers, scissors, and pain relievers such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
It's also important to tailor your first aid kit to your child's specific needs. If your child has any allergies or medical conditions, make sure to include any necessary medications or treatment supplies. If you're traveling to a location where insect bites or sunburns are common, be sure to include insect repellent and sunscreen in your first aid kit.
Employ the buddy system
When moving around, make sure everyone is keeping tabs on each other and stay together, especially in congested areas. Don't let the older children wander off by themselves, even if they think they're old enough to do so. Employ the buddy system so no one gets lost and everyone has family nearby if there's an accident or emergency.
Prioritize child-friendly places
It's important to keep in mind that traveling is not just about checking off items on your bucket list, but it's also about creating meaningful experiences for your children. When planning your trip, prioritize destinations that are child-friendly, such as museums, local playgrounds, and amusement parks. These places provide great opportunities for kids to have fun while also learning about the world around them.
Travel Secrets Planning Hacks
While it's important to be spontaneous and relaxed, having a list of places to visit will help save you from the stress of traveling. Jot down all the places you wish to visit, categorizing them into "must visit" and "would like to visit" spots. This approach guarantees that you won't feel let down if you miss a place and maximizes your time to visit all the places you want to see while on your trip.
Getting on trains, airplanes and cars can be exhausting all on its own and travel doesn't always go according to plan. There might be delays or days where everyone is too tired and would much rather spend the day resting. To avoid travel fatigue, schedule buffer days at the beginning and end of your trip so everyone gets time to refresh and recharge before and after you move to your next location or return back home.
Plan downtime each day
When traveling with kids, it's essential to plan for some downtime in your itinerary. Children can quickly get tired and overwhelmed by the constant stimulation and excitement of being in a new place, which can lead to meltdowns and tantrums. By planning for some downtime, you can help your kids recharge and refresh so that they can enjoy the rest of the trip.
Downtime can take many forms, depending on your family's preferences and the location you're visiting. It could be a relaxed morning spent in your hotel room, an afternoon spent at a park or playground, or an evening spent watching a movie in your hotel. Whatever you choose, make sure it's a low-key activity that doesn't require a lot of energy or attention.
Involve your kids in the planning process
Getting your kids involved in the travel planning process can be a great way to make them feel more invested in the trip and excited about the destinations you'll be visiting. By giving them some say in the itinerary, you can help them feel included and valued, and give them something to look forward to. By involving your kids in the planning process, you'll not only make them feel more excited about the trip, but you'll also ensure that everyone has a say in what they do and see.
Book trips where there will be other kids
Booking trips where there will be other kids can be a great way to keep your children entertained and engaged while also giving you some time to relax and enjoy your vacation. Whether you're planning a trip to a family-friendly resort or booking a group tour, there are many benefits to traveling with other families and their children.
Another advantage is that you'll have the opportunity to meet other parents and exchange tips and advice on traveling with kids. You may find that other parents have valuable insights or recommendations that can help make your trip smoother and more enjoyable.
Travel Secrets Mindfulness Hacks
Travel with an open mind
Travel is as much about the mindset as the experience. It's all about opening up to new experiences, learnings, and activities. Don't be too strict with your children when you're traveling as you might suck out all the fun. Instead, give them a little freedom to explore and enjoy activities, and give yourself a mental break. Traveling is all about being away from home and all the stress there is in the house.
Lower your expectations
It's inevitable that things may not always go as planned during your travels. A train might be delayed, or a popular attraction may be too crowded. While these little setbacks can be disappointing, it's important to remember that they are a natural part of the travel experience.
Rather than getting upset and fixating on the negative, try to embrace the unexpected turns of events that come with travel. These little surprises are what make each trip unique and memorable.
Start your vacation rested
Traveling with family can be a demanding experience, which is why it's important to start your trip feeling well-rested and energized. It's advisable to avoid any strenuous activities in the week leading up to your trip, such as last-minute shopping or rushing around trying to tie up loose ends.
Instead, take the time to rest and recharge your batteries before your family vacation begins. This will allow you to approach your trip with a positive mindset and build excitement for the adventure that lies ahead.
When you travel with a family, it requires a lot of planning, but make sure to not let the stress of planning and preparing dampen your excitement. Stay excited so your children can feel your excitement too. Vacations are all about widening everyone's view of the world and giving them experiences they'll treasure forever, so don't think of the trip as a chore and inject happiness and excitement whenever you can.
Wherever you are, always remember: family travel is about creating memories. Take pictures, laugh as much as you can, minimize work and enjoy these moments of family bonding. One day, the kids will all be grown, and traveling as a family won't be as easy anymore when they're off doing their own thing. So treasure these moments with your children by making as many happy family travel memories as you can.
Implement These Family Travel Secrets
Family travel can be an exciting and rewarding experience. By following some of the family travel secrets discussed, you can help make your family vacation smoother, more enjoyable, and more memorable. Remember to prioritize rest and relaxation before and during the trip, and to manage your expectations so that you can appreciate the unexpected and enjoy the moments that do go well.
For more traveling with kids tips check out some of our most popular blogs including The Ultimate Guide to Fun and Practical Kids Luggage and Simplifying Family Travel: How a Hand Luggage Pram Can Help
Have a wonderful day wherever you are and safe travels.