If you are nervous about traveling with your kids, you are not alone. Even for those who were frequent travelers before having children, it can feel like a HUGE shift to start traveling after kids come along. But don’t panic! Traveling with kids can be amazing!
So let us help you figure out how to travel with your kids the EASY way. Traveling with your kids can (actually) be so much fun, you might not even want to go back to traveling withOUT them.
Ok ok, maybe you’ll still miss your pre-kid travel days, BUT there are some big advantages of traveling with kids.
Why you’ll love it
Kids, or even babies and toddlers, make awesome travel companions for so many reasons.
Kids are experiencing so many things for the first time. They are absorbing all these little experiences and letting them change them as they grow. And as a parent, it’s so amazing to see them thrive out there in the world, even though not EVERY moment is perfect.
Kids, particularly the littlest ones, are great at getting you to slow down and really take in the experience. A baby or a toddler notices all the little details. And though it can be frustrating when you really need to hurry, you won’t regret taking the time to notice all those little details too. It’s what makes travel so special, even though we sometimes forget.
And the biggest thing is that bonding time we have, when everyone is relaxed and having fun, is so special! And it’s hard to recreate that atmosphere at home, where there are always chores to do, and schedules to keep. I know it’s almost impossible for me to relax and not notice the mountain of laundry or the state of the living room floors when I’m attempting to relax with the kids.
So how do you have a great time traveling with kids? First..
Tips 1: Plan a Perfect Trip
To ensure that your trip is a success, make sure you plan the right type of trip for kids. The truth is that being on vacation with happy kids is a LOT more relaxing than being on vacation with kids who are BORED. So, minimize the boring activities (like shopping, extended meals at restaurants, going to museums where they cannot touch things, etc.), and maximize time playing outside, high energy activities, checking out things they are super interested in.
Check out our post here for more tips on planning a perfect trip.
Tip 2: Budget
Kids have a tendency to NEVER pay their fair share of the travel expenses- ha! And traveling with a family is expensive! Make sure you set a realistic budget and stick to it so you don’t get yourself in financial trouble.
And make sure you save money where you can!
Tip 3: Start Right Away
Plus, traveling with younger kids who don’t need to follow the school schedule can save a LOT of money.
Tip 4: Pack the right things
When traveling with kids, what you pack can make or break your vacation. Or at least make things way more difficult than they need to be.
Make a packing list in advance so you don’t forget anything critical and think through the things you can do without. With our tips, you’ll be able to keep your suitcase light, but efficient. And pack a carry-on bag to make your flight a breeze!
Is your kiddo ready for his/her own backpack? Check out our top picks for backpacks for preschoolers!
Checking your car seat? Get a great car seat travel bag!
Tip 5: Learn how to Road trip the FUN way
Does the idea of being trapped in the car with your kids terrify you? Road tripping can actually be fun with some great car activities, fun snacks, and well thought out stops. Read our guide to road tripping with littles here to make your roadtrip a success!
Tip 6: Breeze through the airport
Navitgating the airport with your kids can seem intimidating. So many lines, so many rules, and SO many people. Trust us, it’s TOTALLY manageable! Check your bags, and get yourself organized, and you’ll breeze through. But be sure to check out our guide to get all the details to make things easy for you and your kids.
Got kids in strollers? Check out our top picks for double travel strollers that make travel REALLY easy!
Tip 7: Prepare for the flight
Considering a long haul flight? Here’s how to make it easy with your kids!
Tip 8: Pick the best travel toys
For toy-loving kids, toys can make your flight, or road-trip MUCH more manageable. But most toys just AREN’T great for traveling. They may be bulky, or have tons of pieces that get lost under the seat, or just too loud. We’ve found the best travel toys for kids of all ages we know you and your kids will love!
Tip 9: Pick a great travel bed for your baby
Travel beds for babies and toddlers are limited, and the truth is, most of them are not great. Pack’n Plays are heavy, and many babies and toddlers (mine included) just won’t sleep in them. Check out these truly portable, and actually comfortable baby or toddler travel beds!
Tip 10: Pick a kid-friendly hotel
The best hotel for you and your kids might not be the hotel Travel and Leisure is gushing over. Families with kids just need something a little different. Know what to look for, and how to keep the kids happy in the room with these tips on hotel stays with kids.
Tip 11: OR pick a great vacation rental
Want even more space? Think about a vacation rental! They can be a fantastic option for families because you can often get a LOT more space and a kitchen! But don’t get tricked by misleading listings- these tips will help you get EXACTLY what you want!
Tip 12: Try Camping
Camping is a great family vacation option. Kids LOVE all the extra outdoor time, and won’t even miss their screens! And it’s a great way to explore your area, and have a ton of fun without breaking the bank! Not sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with this guide!
Tip 13: Consider traveling with extended family!
Getting a chance to visit family, and travel with family is such a nice option, when you have kids. First – SO MANY built in babysitters! Plus, it’s so fun to watch your children get to know their cousins, aunts, uncles, and more. Plan a perfect family reunion with our tips.