Family travel can be an exciting adventure, but it can also be overwhelming.
There are many things for you to consider when planning a vacation with kids – and many things you will learn along the way.
Here are a few tips for smooth family travel so you can enjoy your vacation to the fullest.
7 Tips to Guarantee Smooth Family Travel
1. Choose the Perfect Destination for Your Family
Choosing the right destination for your family is one of the most important decisions you’ll make to ensure smooth family travel.
If you’re looking for a relaxing and stress-free getaway, choose a coastal destination that is known for its warm weather.
Maybe your kids would enjoy some adventure at a theme park destination with plenty of activities and attractions.
Or you might be looking for an educational vacation with your kids by visiting an area with historical significance.
Whatever you decide, make sure the destination is a great fit for your family’s idea of a vacation.
2. Travel During Non-Peak Times
Non-peak times and off-season travel can have a big impact on your plans.
If you’re traveling to a destination during the off-season, it will be less crowded. You may also find that off-season prices are much more affordable.
Flights tend to be cheaper and less crowded during the weekdays.
For road trips, you’ll find that traffic is lighter during the week (besides rush hours!)
Even attractions at your destinations are less crowded on weekdays, and some may offer discounts for off-season visits.
Taking crowds, congestion, and business out of the equation of family travel will make your trip much easier.
3. Pack Light
Packing for smooth family travel can be challenging, especially when trying to pack light.
Be strategic about what you bring, and make a packing list for each family member in advance.
If you’re flying, try packing a backpack carry-on with each family member’s belongings. This will save you time by not checking luggage and avoiding extra baggage fees.
Save space in your luggage by packing only a few outfits that can easily be washed and worn again. Remember to pack a few laundry pods!
Use packing cubes and roll your clothes instead of folding them. Organize your child’s smaller toys and toiletries in small zipper pouches or plastic bags.
If you need to have larger items with you, such as cribs or high chairs, consider renting them at your destination.
While you may want to pack a lot of gear, the less you have to keep track of, the better!
3. Prepare for All Situations
You have your important documents ready, your car has been tuned up, and you are ready to enjoy some family travel time!
But no matter how well you plan, something always seems to happen when you’re traveling with kids. Being prepared for hiccups in your travel plans can make a tough situation easier.
Make sure you have a variety of entertainment options available for your kids. These toddler road trip activities will keep your kids busy in the event of traffic jams or flight delays.
Bring plenty of snacks and drinks with you, so you don’t have to worry about finding food when you’re on the go. You’ll want to overpack here, as kids seem to snack a lot more when traveling!
Consider purchasing a few new toys or snacks as surprises for your kids when things aren’t going as planned. Trying something new will be a great distraction from whatever obstacle you need to handle.
4. Arrive Early
It’s important to arrive early since kids can slow down many of the processes of travel.
Give extra time to go through security at the airport, especially if it’s your first time flying with kids. Shoes will need to be removed, and it can be a stressful and scary experience for kids who have never done it.
Plan to arrive at your destination before dark, so you have time to settle into your hotel room before bedtime. Sleeping in an unknown place can be another experience that kids don’t know how to react to.
Allowing extra time to deal with these new situations will ensure you have a successful travel day.
5. Plan Your Activities in Advance
When it comes to smooth family travel, having a plan is essential to a successful trip.
Start by making a list of all the activities and attractions you want to see as a family.
Then, research each activity in advance. Look for things like their hours, cost, and age restrictions. Read reviews to determine if your family would enjoy it.
Next, create a rough itinerary for your vacation. It doesn’t have to be super specific, but make a plan for each morning, afternoon, and evening.
Be sure to make any required reservations or purchase tickets that may sell out closer to your travel date.
It can be tempting to try to pack your days full of activities, but this will only lead to a stressful vacation.
Make sure your family is on board with the itinerary and is looking forward to experiencing everything you have planned!
6. Schedule Breaks, Naps, and General Downtime
If you’re traveling with toddlers or babies, you will want to try to plan your travel and vacation itinerary around their regular routine as much as possible.
Schedule flights at times they are typically in the best mood. Plan your longest stretch of driving during their rest time.
If they usually nap in the middle of the afternoon, make it a point to come back to your hotel room for rest time.
After a long day of sightseeing, schedule time to get some energy out at the hotel pool.
It’s an extra step of planning, but it is well worth it to avoid crankiness and meltdowns.
7. Flexibility Is Key When Traveling With Kids
One of the most important things to remember when traveling is that you need to be flexible – with your plans, your family, and your expectations.
No matter how much you plan, there will always be something that comes up that you didn’t prepare for.
You may get lost, miss a turn, or find out an attraction is closed. Your kids may be hungry or tired when you’re not expecting it.
Traveling with kids can be stressful, but try to stay calm, be patient, and go with the flow.
The more flexible you can be, the easier it will be to keep your cool and enjoy your vacation.
Smooth Family Travel
While it can seem overwhelming, family travel can make for some amazing experiences. Hopefully by following these smooth family travel tips, you’ll learn how to make travel easier for you and your family.
Remember to relax and enjoy time with your family. Not only are you experiencing new places, but you’re also creating lasting memories.