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Top 5 Family Vacation Travel Tips

Get ready for some exciting information! This month I’ve joined with some of my fellow family travel bloggers on a blog hop. Each blogger has provided their top 5 family vacation travel tips, so you can visit each of our seven sites to read all of our expert advice. Not only will you become a family travel pro, while you are at it you can enter to win a family travel prize package that will make the whole family happy. Onto my top 5 family vacation travel tips!

Here are my Top 5 Family Travel Tips - ready to help you plan and enjoy a traveling with kids!

Don’t Overbook

One of the biggest mistakes I think I’ve made sometimes in our family travels, has been trying to do too much! Our first trip to Disneyland I had a detailed plan of the day for when we’d go on which rides, and planned to orchestrate the whole day minute by minute. Well, about an hour into that, everyone was stressed and not having fun. Grace wanted to go on Alice, and it wasn’t on the schedule yet, so I wanted us to move on. Finally William said enough, and I finally clued in.

Another part of that is that we now try to schedule a “nothing day” during our trip. This is a day when we have no plans to be anywhere or do anything. We typically spend it sleeping in, enjoying an extra long breakfast, hanging out at the pool, and checking out anything that’s captured our interest so far in our location. It might feel like a wasted day, but I would say absolutely not. It allows all of us to recharge, regroup, and relax; which is really important for a family vacation!

My Top 5 Family Vacation Travel Tips to help ease your experience when traveling with kids

Tired baby after a full day of adventure

First Aid Kit

This is another tip from experience. Bring along a little first aid kit of all the meds you might need at home for your child. Kids Tums is one of our most useful packed items. Eating new foods and having a change in environment can often play havoc on little ones’ systems. Make sure you have fever meds, sore throat/cough drops, a thermometer, tummy meds, bug bite cream, and even something for ear aches. When you’re dealing with a sick kiddo, it’s much easier (and better for them) to have a solution at hand than trying to drive someplace to find it (especially internationally).

Kid’s Choice

While family travel doesn’t have to all be about your kids, it’s still nice to include them in the trip plans or details. One way you can do this is to have them help you plan; maybe let them choose which hotel you’ll stay at after you’ve narrowed down to a list of acceptable properties. Or perhaps you’ll let them choose between some activity options if you don’t have time to do them all. Another way to prevent sibling fighting is to let a child be the King or Queen of the day. That child then gets to help navigate or make choices for the day, like where to go next or where to eat. This is especially nice when you’re at a theme park and each kid wants to eat at a different place or ride a different ride; whoever is King/Queen for the day gets to pick. Of course you can also split the day into hour blocks if you have a popular attraction and need to share the day amongst the kids, or if you have a few kids and don’t want to have too many kid choice days.

One of my top family vacation travel tips is to keep snack handy and meals planned in advance.

Empty bellies don’t make good travel companions!

Food

Here’s a HUGE one for families. Food. Kids get grumpy, and so can adults, when they’re hungry. It is so important to make meal time and snacks a priority on your vacation planning. Make sure you always have snacks on hand in case there’s a delay or event that doesn’t allow you to eat on a regular schedule. Having your own snacks at the ready will also help reduce costs so you’re not stopping to buy snacks everyday. I sometimes add some favorite snacks to our suitcases, or we swing by a store at our destination to pick some up. Another part of this is to know where you’re going to eat, or at least have an idea. Early in our travels we wouldn’t have a plan and it wasn’t until after we started getting hungry that we’d start to look. Then you’re met with having to find a place, and having a possible wait, and pretty soon you’ve been starving for 2 hours. Kids do not do well in those circumstances, so figure out the meal stuff in advance. This could mean that you plan where you want to eat before you even take your trip, or it could mean at 4 pm you discuss and decide where you’ll go for dinner at 6.

Don't get caught up and bogged down with problems; move ahead and find the joy in your family vacation!

Embrace the joy found in family vacations!

Accept the Unexpected

I’m taking a bit of a play on the traditional “expect the unexpected” tip that many of us family travel bloggers give. When I say accept the unexpected, it just means to go with the flow. From sick kiddos to missed flights, and bad hotels to bad food, things can and probably will go wrong during your family vacation. However, it’s how you react and deal with it that will impact your vacation, possibly even more than the actual problem. If you let the issue rile you up and you fret about it the rest of the trip, all you’ve done is lost some of the joy you could have been having. My advice is to deal with it, and move on to enjoying all the other parts of your limited vacation. Another reason for this is that your kids will be watching how you react to situations and problems, so show them how to handle things with control and kindness. Find and embrace the joyful moments that are found while traveling with your family.

There you have it, my top 5 family vacation travel tips! I hope they’ve helped you prepare for traveling with your kids, or just encouraging you that family travel is great!

Now, here’s your chance to hop around and read some more great family vacation travel tips!

How to Raise a Good Traveler from We3Travel

20 Best Travel Tips from ytravelblog

Tips for Using Lyft and Uber with Kids from Trips with Tykes

Tips for Traveling with Kids from Global Munchkins

Shannon at 100 Routes Across America

SJ at Chasing the Donkey

Dana at The Talking Suitcase

Keryn at Walking on Travels

Tamara at We3Travel

Francesca at The Working Mom’s Travels

Some of the top family travel bloggers have come together to share their top family vacation travel tips. Hopefully they'll help you enjoy traveling with kids and enjoying trips together!

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Comments

  1. I love your tip about bringing a first aid kit. That’s something I will definitely remember to pack on our next trip.

  2. With eight grandchildren , I am always ready for the worst.. I always make sure to bring extra of everything, wet wipes, diapers, food, clothing, and plenty of water.. I don’t believe in soda or junk food so that is usually the only thing that I will stop at a store in the local area to buy , fresh fruit and vegetables..

  3. Don’t forget the drugs. It’s always a good idea to travel with some children’s Tylenol (or whatever you prefer) so that you don’t have to worry about tracking down a drug store in a strange neighborhood

  4. My best family travel tip is to have healthy snacks, lots of water and books, games, etc. to keep the kids entertained when they get bored.

  5. Each person has his or her own bag/backpack with water bottle, ear buds/headphones, cell phone charger, tablet (for the younger one), snacks, and books.
    We also freeze water bottles and use them in place of ice in our cooler. When it melts, we have cold drinking water and it keeps things from getting soggy! The cooler helps us save money on food and helps us pickier family members stay happy. :)
    Finally, we always look for hotels with a pool so that the kids can burn off some energy. We pack suction cup hooks that we can attach to the shower wall so that the swimsuits can hang and dry.

  6. Planning ahead is so important, but it’s also important to be flexible. It’s great to have a plan but you have to be willing to stray away from it depending on the kid’s moods/interests!

  7. My best family travel tip is to have a schedule but be flexible. We stopped buying tickets to attractions for a pre-set time and date. Nap times change, kids get burnt out or bad weather happens. Don’t waste money booking everything in advance only to have to cancel and do something different!

  8. My tip would be to pack healthy snacks for the trip. I know whenever I’m on the road, I tend to eat a lot of unhealthy junk food so having healthier snacks already with you could keep you from buying that bag of chips or burger and fries.

  9. I always, ALWAYS bring one “emergency” outfit for each kid and adult, I pack them in gallon sized ziploc baggies so that any accidents or messes are contained once you have the fresh clothes on. This has proven a lifesaver on more than one occassion and saves the trouble of digging through the luggage when you need a quick change due to mishap or adventure.

  10. thanks for the great ideas, I have the one about knowing where you are going to eat first. We are going to travel for the first time since we have had our last daughter. She has life threatening allergies to MANY things and that got me thinking I should call and have a list of restaurants in the area that will me safe for us to eat at!!! Thanks!!

  11. Bring toys/books to entertain the kids on long plane rides (better than electronics the whole ride!)

  12. I always travel at night with my darlings. When the girls were babies and my son was 5 I would feed them dinner, bathe them, put them in their car seats in jammies and drive 12 hours straight to Grandma’s house! They sleep all night, mom jams to music and drives in peace!

  13. Let the kids help plan the trip. You end up at interesting places and see things that are often over looked.

  14. My tip is to keep an emergency contact list, and also remember to bring snacks and activities to keep the kids entertained.

  15. use groupon, let the kids help choose things to do and make sure you don’t cram too much in to one day or a short trip for that matter.

  16. Be organized, so you don’t lose or mix your things up! And for entertainment on those long road or plane trips, download as many movies, games, books, etc. into your electronic devices to keep yourself and the kids busy!

  17. Definitely do not overbook a trip! If you are doing somewhere that you are 1000% sure that you are never going to visit again, then pick your top three or five things you absolutely have to see or do and plan for those, otherwise be flexible. Having a “do nothing” day is great, especially so you don’t feel like you need a vacation from your vacation.

  18. I agree so much with Don’t Overbook. You can’t do everything and if you try everyone is exhausted & cranky.

  19. If it is a road trip, we plan to drive no more than 125 miles per day…So I plan for frequent breaks and stops that may interest us. Giving time for wiggles and less car time.

  20. Plan things to as much of a “t” as possible, snacks, entertainment, and something to remind the little ones of home.

  21. My tip is to pack lots of snacks and age appropriate toys/books etc as well as devise some travel games

  22. My best tip for traveling with kids is to be flexible and don’t get too stuck on doing every single thing that you had planned on doing/seeing. Just go with the flow because the kids always seem to have a blast even if all they do is go to the beach every day.

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