With spring break coming up for the kids, you might be thinking it’s time for a family vacation. Now is a great time to escape the last days of winter. You’re needing some sun, rest and rejuvenation! I know I do. But planning a trip with kids is far more time-consuming than one with just you and your hubby. Thinking about what the kids will enjoy doing, where they want to eat, nap, and everything else in-between. Packing… packing can be a complete nightmare if rushed. So, when preparing for a family vacation you’ll want ample time to prepare. I have done my fair share of research and trial and errors with family vacations. Search no further for advice as I have found the best tips to make sure your travels go as planned.
Things To Consider When Traveling With Kids
Let’s start from the beginning. You picked your dream spot, so let’s start here:
- Create a family vacation packing list: don’t forget any medications, including Tylenol, sunscreens (if going somewhere hot), and bug spray. Pack your children’s favorite comfort toy to ensure they feel safe.
- Have a family packing night: get everyone excited and have everyone be included in the packing. It helps children know what they want to bring, and be aware of what is being packed. Make this a fun night!
- Determine Your Preferences: everyone will have a better trip when they feel like they are being included in planning and dong things that they enjoy. Make plans that are realistic for everyone to participate in.
Once you have the basics covered, you’ll have to make sure your accommodations are up to your standards. If you’re doing an all-inclusive vacation package or planning on staying in hotels, you’ll want to check some of these off of your list.
Check These Off Of Your List
- Pick a Kid Friendly Location – Stay in a safe and central area that’s close to local attractions, food outlets, the beach, the park, and all preferably within walking distance. This will save you time, money, and your kids from getting bored.
- Stay More Than 1 Night – Many hotels provide their best deals when you stay over more than one night.
- Stay over Sunday – Many hotels receive Friday and Saturday night bookings from leisure travelers and Monday-Friday bookings from their business travelers, so there can be a void on Sunday nights.
- Make Sure there is an elevator – Carrying strollers, toys, and luggage up several flights of stairs is NO FUN!
- Coupons and Discounts – Check out the brochure shelf in the lobby and any tourist literature in your room for ways to shave a few bucks off the price of your family vacation.
- Enroll in a Loyalty Program – Many hotel chains are now offering free loyalty programs with incentives like earning free rooms after multiple stays. If you travel often and stay at the same chain, or one of its participating partners, you may save on future family vacations.
- Laundry – For longer vacations, check to see whether the hotel has coin-operated machines for hotel guests.
A great option for an extended stay, or if you have a larger family, try to rent an entire apartment/home from www.airbnb.com and similar websites. This is also ideal for separate sleeping areas and provides everyone with a little privacy – unlike a standard hotel room.
We all must eat, especially kids. Children can go from perfect and happy to starving in under a minute; tantrums and meltdowns included. Will you be eating out, making meals, packing lunches during the day? Let’s go over some tips on how to dine out on a budget that doesn’t break the bank.
- Eat Away from the Tourist Streets – Just go one street or one block over and it will usually be cheaper and more authentic. Eat where the LOCALS eat.
- Free Breakfasts – When booking a hotel look for one with breakfast included.
- Go out for Breakfast or Lunch – Try and avoid dinner as restaurants raise prices. OR, have brunch instead of 3 meals a day. Many restaurants offer lunch specials.
- One meal for two kids – Our kids are young enough to share one kid’s meal so on most occasions we only buy one. You can always purchase more if they’re still hungry.
- Take your own food while in transport, whether it’s in the car or plane.
- Pack snacks, and light meals to keep everyone full during the day.
Other things you’ll want to ensure you check off before you and your family travel, include: speaking to your doctor and receiving boosters on recommended vaccinations. Getting travel insurance, especially when traveling with small children. Let’s be realistic, children are always getting cuts, bumps, and scratches. A small hospital visit may be needed and no one wants to pay out of pocket for it. Lastly, expect the unexpected – things will be moving at a different pace and will require more flexibility. Some scheduled events might even have to be pushed back. This is normal, so remember what it was like when you were a kid, and have fun!