We travel as often as possible. We travel with kids 90% of the time. As a matter of fact, we have only taken 2 trips without them and one of them was before they were born. 🤣
We have a ton of fun on our trips but we also make mistakes. Which is why I am sharing some invaluable tips and tricks with all of you so you can learn from us!
Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
There are two kinds of people in this world: those who stop and ask for directions when lost, and those who wander around aimlessly for hours until they inevitably reach their destination by sheer luck. Don’t just wait for help to come to you; ask, seek and knock. If you get stuck, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local community. You will be surprised at how happy people are to offer recommendations or support when they see that you are traveling with kids. You can also collect information from friends and family members who have traveled before. And if all else fails, there is always the Internet! Your best experts will be other families like yours who have already done what you are trying to do. A simple search or post to any of your social media channels will yield great results.
Along with your passports (even if you are not traveling internationally) and the important documentation, you should also bring a first aid kit. Keep it simple and to the point, but ensure that it has everything you need to handle any daily accidents or bumps. You should also consider packing along snacks as well as any medications that your child might need. If you have a baby, make sure that you have enough diapers and wipes so that you can make it through a longer airport layover without having to worry about running out or stopping at a store.
Be open to new experiences.
To get the most out of any trip, you need to be mentally prepared. And on a trip with kids, that’s doubly true. Having your children feel unprepared can turn a trip into a chore. Remember, they’re only going to be as excited as you are. The more you’re looking forward to everything, the more they’ll realize how much fun they could have if they just go with it and put their best foot forward. Here are some tips for making sure both you and your child are willing to try anything:
- Learn something new before setting out on the trip. Ask yourself what makes this location unique, or what it’s known for—and then make sure to prepare your child for experiencing those things firsthand! Print out maps, talk about where you will go and what you will do. But also jump on YouTube and show them!
- Are there local dishes or flavors that are found in this region? Have each family member try some of those foods so that every one gets excited about eating them when you arrive at your destination!
- Is there an outdoor activity that would be fun for everyone? Find someplace nearby where all members can practice together first and develop their skills before heading out into nature during their next vacation day together!
Travel outside the box.
When traveling with kids in tow, package tours can be a great option. This may seem counterintuitive because of the added expense, but there are conveniences to consider. For one thing, you’ll have a built-in social circle of people who are also traveling with young children, which can be a lifesaver when you’re exhausted and looking for adult conversation. Plus, many tour companies offer great deals for kids and parents alike that might actually make the whole trip more affordable than going it alone.
Mix up the pace of your trip.
Mix up the pace of your trip. Some days should be spent at a relaxed pace, and other days can be as active as possible. The important thing is that you mix it up, so that kids don’t get bored doing the same things over and over again.
If you are travelling by car, try to break up long journeys with stops along the way to give kids a chance to stretch their legs and burn off some energy. If possible, try mixing up travel methods, choosing car one day and train or plane on another.
Plan in advance, but don’t go overboard with the details.
As a mom of a young kids, I have learned that in order to have the most fun on any trip, some amount of planning is required. However, if you plan too much and lock yourself into specific activities before you travel, it can be difficult to find the flexibility you need when your children are tired or feel like doing something else. When possible, try not to book any activities more than a day in advance so that you can change plans on the fly.
For instance, we were planning to spend all morning at the pool in Punta Cana one day, until we realized that the pool was in the shade until the afternoon. But because we did not over-plan for that day, we were able to hang around and just relax on the resort until the sun was shining. Then moved some activities around for the evening. If you are traveling with smaller children, be sure not to make all your reservations for when your kids will likely be asleep!
Try to stay flexible and adaptable.
Traveling with kids requires flexibility and adaptability.
We found this to be true in many areas of our lives, but especially when we travel as a family. It’s important to communicate this message to your children to prepare them for the unknown. Traveling presents many opportunities for things not going according to plan!
Just like in life, you might have a plan for the day, but then something happens that requires you to change it up or even cancel it all together. Don’t try and stick with your original plan if it means missing out on fun adventures because of it. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is important to have a rough itinerary that includes the highlights of what you want to see and do. Especially when you want to maximize your time and make sure that you experience all of the must-do activities. But try to remain flexible enough so that if an amazing opportunity arises, be ready and willing to take advantage of it!
For example: While staying in Orlando/ Universal our plans changed multiple times throughout the day as we would hear about something fun happening somewhere else. We did not let these changes deter us from enjoying each moment! We were happy to be flexible enough so that we could enjoy every second of our trip instead of being sad about missing out on something else!
Pack for success.
Packing is never fun, but it’s even more of a pain when you’re traveling with kids. You have to make sure your child’s needs are packed as well as your own—which usually means you have to pack twice as much stuff. So, the best thing you can do is start early. And pack light. Think about what essentials you really need and leave everything else at home. Make sure you bring along things to keep the kids occupied on the journey and at your destination. This could include books, toys, travel games, blow up balls or rings or other activities. If all else fails, keep a few candy treats and a card game in your purse, to provide entertainment in a pinch!
So to sum it up, traveling is fun, but it can be harder than it seems. Most people imagine that the journey itself is the hard part of travel but what most don’t realize is that once you’re on the trip, being there can be just as much of a challenge. But it’s most important to make sure you have a good time! To help simplify your trip and make sure you’re prepared for anything, here are some tips to follow:
- Pack properly. Make sure you pack with space in mind. If your kids need diapers or snacks, make sure to bring them along so they don’t stress out when everything begins to run out.
- Stop at grocery stores. If you’ve got a kid who needs milk or fruit snacks, try stopping at grocery stores while you’re on the road. You’ll be glad you did when you have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Use public transportation whenever possible. Public transportation can be great because it allows kids to burn off energy playing games and running around (while making friends!).
- Plan ahead for things that go wrong during travel. Things like food poisoning happen all the time! And if they do happen, know how to deal with it and have an emergency kit ready so that almost nothing comes between your family’s happiness.
Until next time, safe travels.