Family travel is scary to some, but definitely doable when you put your mind to it! Whenever I hear good tips from fellow bloggers, I keep them in the back of my mind for a helpful post for all. So I bring you below…….family travel tips from practical families!
Family Travel Tips from Varsha Kulkarni-Gawai – Varsha’s Travel 360:
Traveling with children is always fun for me though it needs a bit more preparations and planning. We have been traveling around Europe since our son was 2 years old and he is now 8 years. We prefer to travel by car or train.
For any type of travel, I make a separate backpack he can carry himself. This bag contains some snacks, chocolates, some toys such as small cars (cheaper ones from Euro shop, because most of the times he forgets them somewhere), a book (which he himself chooses as per his interests) and one iPod with lots of children (age appropriate) songs and kid’s friendly headphones. Sometimes, especially during train travel, we take small ‘on the go’ plays with us. These can be some cards game or something like memory games.
My son is very fond of traveling and he himself is enthusiastic about it. I think that makes us travel easier. During the planning of the itinerary, I discuss with him where we are going, what we will see and do, etc. This makes him think about the place and prepares mentally for the travel.
You can find Varsha here:
Susie Chadwick from PhotoJeepers:
One of the things that has helped make travel with small children easier for our family is having access to laundry. We try to stay in a place, usually airbnb, with in-room laundry facilities. This allows us to pack one-third of the amount of clothing we might otherwise bring. Our family of six only checks one bag, even when traveling for a week! Being able to do laundry cuts down on time spent packing, luggage hassle at the airport, checked baggage fees, worry about accidents or car sickness, you name it. I usually just throw a load of everyone’s clothing into the washer when we get back to the room in the evening, and put it in the dryer before we go to bed. A load of laundry a day means we only have to bring three outfits for everyone, even on a two week trip.
You can find Susie here:
Talia Klein Perez from Hul With Kids:
I have a 6-year-old daughter and 3.5-year-old boy/girl twins. We travel with them a lot so we have developed quite a few tricks to help our trips run smoothly. My biggest tip is: be flexible. Plans change with kids on a daily basis. But to be flexible – you need to be prepared.
What we do is open a Google Sheet where we list the name of the attraction, website, days it is closed and hours that it is open (we also list pricing). Then, we place them attractions on a map and plan our days according to proximity.
Writing the days that each attraction is closed and the hours it is open makes it very easy for us to change plans on the fly in a way that will let us still maximize our time. So while 80% of our trip in Berlin this past summer didn’t occur on the days/times we originally planned, we still ended up going to all of the attractions other than one that we decided to skip anyway.
If the kids wake up cranky and need more time to get up, or if it’s suddenly raining and you planned a day outside, or if someone isn’t feeling well – having the opening and closing times and days make it very easy to move things around. That way, you don’t find yourself missing attractions that you really wanted to see because they happen to be closed on the day you have left.
You can find Talia here:
Shweta Singhal from Zestinatote:
Choosing accommodation and activities with some thought and planning can make family travel a joy.
Accommodation: A kid-friendly resort in the mountains or on the beach works well if you want a relaxing holiday. Choosing hotels that provide good kids’ club activities and babysitting services can be a boon.
If you have an action-packed itinerary, then make sure to stay in the city centre and look for proximity to play areas and grocery stores.
Consider service apartments for smaller children and fussy eaters – having a kitchenette, launderette and some space to unwind give everyone a breather.
Choice of activities: Choose activities and plan itineraries wisely, working around nap times and meal times, building with some flexibility.
Toddlers do well with lots of open space and nature. Parks are great places to pause – toddlers can run around, explore and eat while the parents take a breather.
Art galleries and museums can be a challenge for toddlers – opt instead for museums with kids’ activities (like the Children’s Museum at the Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, the Nemo Museum in Amsterdam).
You can find Shweta here:
Addie Dwyer from Traveling Mrs:
Traveling with kids is no small feat. Before my first flight with my 10 month old I remember thinking “if I just get an overnight flight she will sleep the whole way”. WRONG! As soon as we boarded she was so stimulated by the new surroundings that sleep was the last thing that was going to happen. I think the hardest part about flying with a baby or toddler is the amount of effort you have to put into entertaining them. Here are a few tips to ward off a meltdown.
Get out their energy before boarding the flight
We often chase our little one around the terminal for as long as we can – we’re usually the last people boarding the plane. She has so much fun, expels a lot of energy, and by boarding late we cut down on the amount of time we have to entertain her. This gets her ready to sit and play for a while and maybe even take a nap by the end of the flight.
Make sure to have ample in-flight entertainment
Pack their favorite toy, favorite stuffed animal, favorite snacks, a book, and a few new toys with sensory features to keep them occupied. The more you can get them to play with things, the less screen time they will need.
Roll with the punches
The more upset you get about what is happening, the more stressed you will be, and most likely the more disruptive baby will be. If baby won’t sleep, don’t try and force it. If she wants a snack, oblige. If she wants to tear up the in-flight magazine… Ok, you should probably stop that one. You can always ask the flight attendants for help too if you need it.
You can find Addie here:
Kaylie Lewell from Happiness Travels Here:
One of the best way to have an enjoyable trip with kids it to get them interested in the destination prior to visiting.
Start talking about where you are going and the things you will see there, the foods you might try and little details that will be different to home. Kids love details!
Introduce them to books, songs and movies that are rich in imagery, landmarks and fables about your chosen destination.
Paris is easy, there are so many beautiful picture books that are set in Paris, A Giraffe Goes to Paris, A walk in Paris and Madeline, are our favourites. There are also popular movies like The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Ratatouille.
Norway has Frozen and Vikings, Scotland the Loch Ness monster, London Paddington bear.
Some destinations you might need to do a bit more research. If you can’t find any picture books or movies check out a colourful and quick paced travel vlog. Not only will the kids be thrilled when they spot something they “saw on TV” but it also provides a sense of comfort and familiarity if they have some idea of what to expect.
You can find Kaylie here
Emily from Henry and Andrew’s Guide:
Our best tip on traveling with small kids stems from the famous business saying – “promise less, deliver more”. We learned to promise ourselves less before a trip, then we are usually pleasantly surprised with our outcome. My husband and I, pre-kids, used to be ambitious travelers where we pack our days with set plans and itineraries all day and night (we traveled to 4 countries in 24 hours once!). We had to learn that it’s just not realistic with little kids.
Most recently, before leaving for our 10 day trip to Switzerland, Hungry and Austria with 2 kids both under 3, we planned on visiting just one city in each place. We knew if we could just see those three cities, we would be happy. We prepared for the bare minimum and was ok with it. If we did anything more, it was a bonus! On this trip, we ended up seeing over 10 cities, and visited 5 countries! What really helped us – and it will help any parent – is to have low expectations. Low expectations make you more flexible for being able to go with the flow and do things spur of the moment when the kids allow you to – so you can do more without all the pressure.
You can find Emily here:
Mary Beth Charles from MB Sees
If you like your travels to include outdoor activities, then (like me) you may have been worried about how you were going to keep that up after baby. I mean, simply bringing them along on your travels is hard enough, how are you actually supposed to haul them off into the wild, blue yonder on your favorite hiking trail?!
With a baby carrier.
We resisted for quite some time, mostly because we’re pretty cheap. And top-of-the-line baby carriers are kinda pricey. So, it took a bit of meditation and deep breathing to come to terms with spending hundreds of dollars on one. But we finally bit the bullet.
Several hours of research later, followed by several hours of stuffing our kid into backpack after backpack, we bought an Osprey Poco AG Child Carrier. Then, we were off to the Grand Canyon.
And the carrier paid for itself the first hike.
Being able to bring him along while traversing the canyon rim, and even trekking down into and back out of the canyon (steep switchbacks and all!), was nothing short of priceless. It’s the one piece of baby-specific travel gear I’d recommend, over anything else, to the outdoor-loving traveling family.
You can find Mary here: