Family vacations are always exciting, but they can also be stressful, especially when traveling with kids. Vacations give us the opportunity to create unforgettable memories with our loved ones, but they can also come with unexpected challenges. Whether traveling to a distant place or going on a road trip, there are tips and hacks to make family travel more enjoyable and stress-free. In this blog, we have shared 30 of the best travel hacks for families with young children. These tips cover various aspects of family travel, from packing smartly to keeping kids entertained during the journey. So, scroll down to know more!
- Family vacations are a great way to create memories with loved ones.
- There are challenges that come with family travel, but they can be overcome with the right tips and hacks.
- Parents can make the trip more enjoyable and stress-free by being prepared and organized.
- The key to successful family travel is to plan ahead and have a positive attitude.
Best Family Travel Tips And Hacks To Try
A family trip is a great way to bond and create long-lasting memories with your loved ones. However, traveling with family can be quite challenging especially if you have small children. From planning the trip to actually traveling, there are many things to consider in order to make the experience smooth and enjoyable for everyone involved. Here are some useful tips and hacks that will help you make the most out of your family travels.
1. Plan Your Family Trip Early
Planning is key when it comes to family travel. Start planning your trip early, at least a few months in advance. This will give you ample time to research and book the best flights and accommodations for your family. You need all the planning time you can get when traveling with family to make sure everything is in order and everyone’s needs are taken care of. By planning ahead, you can avoid last-minute stress and have a smoother travel experience. However, booking early often means better deals and more availability for popular destinations.
2. Avoid Carry-On Baggage For Everyone
Traveling with young kids can be exhausting, and the last thing you need is additional luggage to worry about. Instead of bringing carry-on baggage, opt for checked luggage instead. This will free up your hands and allow you to focus on your children during the journey. Plus, it also means less stuff to carry around during layovers or connecting flights. If you travel with a toddler then you can:
- For long flight journeys, you can have a separate carry-on bag with only the essentials such as snacks, diapers, and toys.
- Invest in a good-quality stroller that can easily be checked in at the gate or flight entrance.
- Use packing cubes to organize your checked luggage and make it easier to find things on the go.
- Avoid heavy carry-on bags as they can be difficult to maneuver while also taking care of your children.
3. Choose the Ideal Suitcase
For a smoother journey, choose the right suitcase for your family. Depending on your needs and preferences, you can opt for a traditional suitcase or a backpack-style one. When traveling with children, it may be easier to use backpacks as they leave your hands free to hold onto your kids. However, suitcases may offer more space and organization options. Choose what works best for you and make sure to consider the weight and size restrictions of your chosen airline.
4. Pack Spare Clothes for Everyone
No matter how old your children are, it’s always a good idea to pack spare clothes for the whole family member. Accidents happen, and you don’t want to be caught without clean clothes for your kids. Plus, if you’re traveling to a different climate or time zone, packing layers can come in handy. As for babies and toddlers, make sure you have enough diapers, wipes, and a change of clothes in your zip lock bag. However, having a spare outfit not only for your kids but for yourself as well can save you from any unexpected situations.
5. Have Some Flexibility in Your Itinerary
Traveling with family, especially with young children, means that you have to be prepared for unexpected situations. This could include delays, sickness, or simply needing some downtime. While planning your trip, make sure to leave some room for flexibility in your itinerary. This will give you more time to relax and enjoy the trip without feeling rushed or stressed. You can also try:
- Breaking up long travel days with rest days in between to give everyone a chance to recharge.
- Planning family-friendly activities that are also suitable for young children, such as theme parks, zoos, or museums.
- Being open to changing your plans if needed, and not forcing yourself or your kids to stick to a strict schedule.
6. Consider Time Zone Differences
If you’re traveling to a different time zone, try to adjust your kids’ sleeping schedules a few days before the trip. This will make it easier for them to adapt and avoid any jet lag issues. Also, try to schedule flights a few hours before their usual bedtime so that they can sleep on the plane. This way, they will be well-rested and ready to explore when you reach your destination. However, also make sure about your screen time while traveling helps a lot and keeps your kids entertained while on layover or waiting for a flight.
7. Try to Book Direct Flights
If possible, try to book direct flights to your destination. This will not only save you time and effort but also minimize the chances of delays or missed connections. Children can get restless during layovers and long flights, so a direct flight can make the journey much easier for both parents and kids. Booking direct flight family travel hacks to try:
- Look for flights that depart early in the morning or late at night, as they tend to be less crowded and have shorter wait times.
- Consider booking flights on weekdays instead of weekends, as they are often cheaper and less busy.
- Use flight search engines or apps to compare prices and find the best deals for your family.
8. Try Multipurpose Backpacks
When traveling with kids, it’s important to have your hands free and be able to move around easily. A multipurpose backpack can be a lifesaver in this situation. It can serve as a diaper bag, carry-on luggage, and even a daypack for excursions during your trip. Look for one with multiple compartments and comfortable shoulder straps. This will make it easier to pack and access your essentials on the go.
9. Plan Accommodations With Kids In Mind
When booking accommodations, it’s important to consider the needs of your children. Look for family-friendly hotel room options or consider renting a vacation home instead. This will give your family more space to spread out and feel comfortable, as well as amenities such as a kitchen and laundry facilities. If you going on long car rides then you can also pre-book kid-friendly hotels on the way to your destination and plan fun activities for the kids during pit stops. Furthermore, ensure fun activities for kids are close by to the hotel or vacation rental.
10. Take Advantage of Early Boarding
Many airlines offer early boarding for families with young children or those who need extra assistance. This can be a huge help, especially if you have car seats and strollers to set up on the plane. It also gives you more time to settle in and get comfortable before the flight takes off. If your airline doesn’t offer early boarding, try to get an airplane seat towards the front of the plane. This will allow you to exit faster when you reach your destination, avoiding long lines and crowds. However, your flight attendants will usually keep you updated on when it’s safe to get up and start gathering your things.
11. Get Pair of EarPlanes for Everyone
Airplane pressure changes can be uncomfortable for both adults and children, but they can be especially difficult for young kids. To avoid ear pain or discomfort during takeoff and landing, consider using EarPlanes. These are special earplugs designed to regulate air pressure in the ears and decrease discomfort. Make sure to get a pair for everyone in the family to ensure a more comfortable flight for everyone. While travelling with kids, it is always a good idea to come prepared with small travel games which can keep them engaged, especially if the flight is long.
12. Build Excitement Before the Airport
Before heading to the airport, it’s important to build excitement and prepare your children for the trip ahead. This can help them feel more comfortable and excited about traveling, especially if it’s their first time. Talk to them about the destination, show them pictures or videos of the places you’ll be visiting, and involve them in planning activities for the trip. This will not only build excitement but also make them feel more involved and responsible for the trip, making it a more enjoyable experience for everyone.
13. Make Use of Family Travel Discounts
Many airlines and hotels offer special discounts for families traveling together. Take advantage of these offers by researching and comparing prices from different providers. You can also look into bundle deals that include flights, accommodations, and activities for a more budget-friendly option. Moreover, some attractions and restaurants may offer discounts for children or family packages. Don’t be afraid to ask about these deals when planning your trip.
14. Anticipate Motion Sickness
Motion sickness can be a big problem for many people, especially children. If you or your child are prone to motion sickness, make sure to take necessary precautions before and during your trip. Some tips include:
- Taking motion sickness medication before the journey begins.
- Avoiding heavy meals and greasy foods before and during travel.
- Keeping a bag handy for any unexpected moments of sickness.
- Sitting in a seat that offers the least movement, such as near the wings on airplanes or towards the front of a train or bus.
15. Balance Family Time with Independence
When traveling with family, it’s important to find a balance between spending time together and giving each family member some independence. This can be especially beneficial for older children who may want to explore on their own or have some alone time. Give them the opportunity to do so in a safe and supervised way while also making sure to plan activities that everyone can enjoy together. This will help create a harmonious and enjoyable trip for everyone.
16. Remind Your Kids of the Adventure at the Airport
It’s important to set the right tone for your family trip from the very beginning, and that includes at the airport. Traveling can be overwhelming for children, so it’s important to remind them of the exciting adventure ahead. Talk to them about all the fun things you’ll do together and how they will get to experience new places and cultures. This will help them stay positive and excited, making the journey more enjoyable for everyone. You can also involve them in some airport activities like watching planes take off or exploring the duty-free shops.
17. Sign up for an airline loyalty program
Signing up for an airline loyalty program can offer many benefits for family travelers. By joining, you can earn points and rewards that can be used towards future flights or upgrades. Some programs also offer perks like priority boarding and free checked bags, which can come in handy when traveling with kids. Plus, being a member of a loyalty program can also give you access to exclusive deals and discounts. It’s a win-win situation for family travelers and can make your trips more affordable and enjoyable.
18. Consider renting baby equipment
Traveling with young kids often means having to bring a lot of equipment such as strollers, car seats, and cribs. This can be quite cumbersome, especially if you are traveling by plane. Instead of lugging everything around, consider renting baby equipment at your destination. Many companies offer this service and it can save you time, money, and effort in the long run. Just make sure to research and book in advance to ensure availability. However, if you prefer to bring your own equipment, make sure to check with the airline for any restrictions or additional fees.
19. Bring a Socket Extension
Having a socket extension can be very handy when traveling with family. This will give you extra sockets to charge multiple devices at once, such as phones, tablets, and cameras. Plus, some accommodation options may not have enough sockets for everyone’s needs. With a socket extension, you can avoid fighting over charging spots and ensure that all your devices are fully charged for the next day’s adventures. Moreover, it is lightweight and easy to pack, making it a convenient addition to your travel essentials.
20. Bring Entertainment For Your Kids
Long-haul flights or road trips can be boring for children, so it’s important to bring some form of entertainment to keep them occupied. This could include books, toys, tablets loaded with their favorite movies or games, and coloring books with crayons. You can also involve them in the trip planning process by letting them pick out activities or attractions they would like to visit. This will make them more excited about the trip and give them something to look forward to.
21. Keep Everyone Comfortable
For having a so much fun and enjoyable trip, it is important to keep everyone comfortable. This means making sure that each family member has everything they need to feel comfortable and content during the journey. To ensure it:
- Try to use paper towels and wet wipes to clean up messes quickly.
- Pack comfort items such as a favorite toy, blanket or pillow for the kids.
- Dress comfortably and in layers so that everyone can adjust to different temperatures during the journey.
22. Carry a Car Seatbelt Lock
An important safety tip when traveling with children is to carry a car seatbelt lock. This small device can help keep your child safe while in a taxi or rental car, as it prevents them from unbuckling their seatbelt during the ride. For road trips, you can also use the car seatbelt lock to secure your child’s car seat in place. It’s a simple and effective tool that can provide peace of mind while traveling with young children. However, with older kids, it may be better to opt for a booster seat instead.
23. Pack snacks and Carry Empty Water Bottles
Bring snacks and empty water bottles with you on your trip. This will save you money and provide a convenient option for when hunger strikes during long travel days or while exploring a new destination. You can also pack some healthy snacks for the kids to avoid unhealthy airport food options. Kids eat frequently and having snacks on hand will help avoid meltdowns. However, kids love sugary drinks, especially when they are bored, so having a reusable water bottle with you will help keep them hydrated without spending money on expensive bottled drinks.
24. Get a Baby Bassinet for the Flight
If you are traveling with an infant, it’s a good idea to request a baby bassinet when booking your flight. This will provide a safe and comfortable place for your baby to sleep during the flight, freeing up your hands and allowing you to rest as well. Most airlines offer these bassinets on long-haul flights but make sure to check with your specific airline beforehand. If you have a toddler, you can also request a seat with extra legroom to give them more space to play and move around during the flight.
25. Have first aid essentials with you
No matter where you go, it’s always a good idea to have first aid kit essentials with you. This is especially important when traveling with kids as they can easily get minor cuts, scrapes, or bumps during outdoor activities. Pack some basic first aid items such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, pain relievers, and any necessary medication for your family members. It’s better to be prepared for any situation rather than scrambling to find a pharmacy in an unfamiliar place.
26. Pack Gum or Candy
Having gum or candy on hand during family travels can be a lifesaver. Not only do they provide a quick sugar rush for tired and cranky kids, but they also help with ear pressure during takeoff and landing. Chewing gum or sucking on candy can help alleviate the discomfort caused by changes in air pressure. This simple hack can make all the difference in keeping your children happy and comfortable during flights. So, make sure to pack some gum or candy in your carry-on bag for any upcoming trips with your family.
27. Use Mini Duffle Bag If Possible
A mini duffle bag can be a great addition to your family’s luggage during travels. It is lightweight and compact, making it easy to carry around while also providing enough space for essential items like snacks, drinks, and entertainment for your children. Plus, it can easily fit under the seat in front of you on the plane, allowing for easy access during the flight. This can be especially useful when traveling with young children who may need constant attention and distractions during the journey. Overall, a mini duffle bag can make your family travel more convenient and stress-free.
28. Get Your Kids’ Bracelets With Your Contact Information
Losing a child in a crowded airport or tourist attraction is every parent’s worst nightmare. To avoid this, get your kids bracelets with their name and your contact information on them. This will help authorities or helpful strangers return them to you if they happen to get lost. You can also use temporary tattoos with the same information for younger children who may not be able to keep a bracelet on during the trip. However, kids enjoy wearing bracelets and it can also serve as a fun souvenir from the trip.
29. Be Patient and Stay Positive
Traveling with kids can be challenging, but it’s important to remember that things will not always go according to plan. There may be delays, tantrums, and unexpected situations, but staying patient and positive will help everyone have a better experience. Remember to take breaks when needed and don’t stress too much if something doesn’t go as planned. Kids are sensitive to their surroundings, so staying calm and positive will make the trip more enjoyable for everyone.
30. Enjoy The Moment And Have Fun
Traveling with family can be hectic and stressful, but it’s important to remember to enjoy the moment and have fun. Family trips are a special opportunity to bond and create lasting memories, so try not to get too caught up in the planning or logistics. Instead, take time to appreciate each other’s company and make new experiences together. Don’t forget to document your journey through photos and videos, but also make sure to put away your devices and truly be present in the moment with your family.