Unforgettable memories are made whenever a family travels together. However, traveling with kids places a lot of responsibility on you as a parent. Rest assured that no matter how old your children are or where the journey takes you, your adventure can be eased with these carefully selected tips.
1. Pick the location wisely
Take your time when you’re deciding where to go. Regardless of the chosen country, aim for family-friendly spots. Pick destinations which are not too crowded, but at the same time, avoid extremely secluded spots. You or your children might need urgent medical help, so consider the proximity of health institutions.
2. Accommodation should suit your needs
While hotels offer certain perks (babysitting, arranged meals, etc.), but they do not provide the freedom of vacation rentals. As an example, if your child needs special meals usually not provided by hotels, then rental might be a better choice for you. When traveling with children, think of need and comfort.
3. Do your best to pack light
Should you pack a stroller, a carriage or maybe a sling? Choices such as these could significantly influence your travel experience. Our advice is to pack as light as possible. While packing, take into account the circumstances awaiting on your destination:
- What are the expected weather conditions?
- Is the new surrounding similar to the familiar one? How?
- How heavy are the items you’ll carry (consider airline limitations as well)?
- The terrain – are the streets paved or not? etc.
4. Keep electronic devices to the minimum
Try to limit the number of gadgets, laptops, tablets, phones and similar devices to strictly necessary ones. Nowadays, various services are available on most touristic destinations, making certain devices almost obsolete. For instance, families exploring Asia can simply book local photographers from WanderSnap to free up their time, leave heavy cameras at home, and save precious energy. Finally, a decreased number of devices enables your family to be fully present during the journey.
5. Carefully choose the method of transportation
Whether you’ll be traveling via air, road or sea, take these tips into account:
- Aim to plan your transport around the usual bedtime, so your kids might sleep either during the trip or right upon the arrival.
- In the case of connecting flights, make sure that a layover is not too short.
- Double check with your airline where you can sit with your child (some planes don’t have an additional oxygen mask above each seat).
- No matter the transport type, aim for shorter traveling time but don’t underestimate the power of comfort, coziness, and accessibility.
6. Don’t slip into overplanning
Without practical organizing and thinking ahead, a potentially enjoyable vacation could quickly turn into chaos. Otherwise, plan out each hour and you’ll experience nothing but stress and overwhelm. Instead, organize the practical aspects of travel, but also leave plenty of free time for spontaneous discovery.
7. Turn each challenge into a game
One of the best ways to make traveling as a family more fun while keeping things under control is to create new games as you go. Need to get somewhere fast? Make a race. Want to involve your children more? Present sightseeing as a scavenger hunt. You can do this by picking a couple of must-see sites (famous buildings, cultural spots, etc.) and organizing small prizes for each found place. Possibilities are endless!
8. Don’t be afraid to go local
There are several benefits to choosing local restaurants, accommodation or transportation instead of solutions specifically crafted for tourists. The examples of typical “touristy” options are chain restaurants or chain hotels. Local offers are usually cheaper, and going local will help your family become truly immersed in the culture different than your own.
9. Better arrive early than on time
This reminder doesn’t only apply to airports and bus stations. Wherever you are heading, always plan an extra hour or two. Unexpected situations are normal when you’re exploring unfamiliar places with kids, so avoid the rush if you can. Often, it’s better to wait a bit longer. Use that breaks to catch a breath or two before the next adventure.
10. You can do this!
Probably the most important reminder of all – when parents are confident and relaxed, kids are relaxed too. Traveling with kids can be an overwhelming experience, especially for the first time. Despite a certain amount of inevitable tension, do your best to stay calm. In cases you need to ask for something or might need help, staying friendly and positive could serve you greatly.
After all, family travels are precious. Focus on this attitude and your trips will be more enjoyable, but also cherished for years to come.