There is a common misconception that travel ends the moment you have kids.
This could not be further from the truth! Traveling with kids is different to traveling without them, sure. The opposite is true as well.
In fact, traveling with children can make your experience better! Getting to experience the world through your child’s eyes is one of the greatest gifts children give us. Watching your kid marvel at the world as they discovers it along side you is truly a wondrous thing.
I’ve also found that kids often get the attention of locals, which creates a great opportunity for interacting with locals and their kids.
However, traveling with kids does require more preparation and planning. Below you will find some tips to make a trip with your children as easy and stress free as possible.
Traveling with Kids
Pick a destination which is kid friendly
If you have older kids, you can probably make most destinations work. However, if you are traveling with young kids, you will want to pick a destination where it will be easy to get around and there are attractions your kids will enjoy, such as parks and children’s museums. Talking to other families can be a great way to work this out as well as looking up family travel blogs or online forums.
Keep to a timetable that works for your kids
If your kids are anything like mine, the worst tantrums and behavior occur when they are tired. Even though sometimes when we travel I wish we could do full day activities and go out for half the night, it just does not work, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Keep to a timetable that works for them although you can be more creative than at home. For example, for toddlers and preschoolers, I have found that re-introducing a day nap means that we can then do some night time activities.
Check any medical concerns for your destination
It’s important to check out what vaccinations or medicines might be required for your destination. You may want to avoid malaria hot spots. The CDC have a useful website to help you work this out.
Find family friendly accommodation
If you are someone who is happy to turn up and then find accommodation, you can still do this. However, with young kids you will probably want to book ahead for at least the first night.
Booking accommodation for a family can cause headaches as there can be lots of extra charges. Ensure you work out exactly what is included and what isn’t and whether you have to pay extra money for your kids. Sometimes as much as half the room cost per child can be added to the per night cost on arrival.
Want to book accommodations? We recommend using the following sites:
For toddlers, I recommend booking somewhere to stay with some outdoor space where they can have a run around safely.
Research attractions at your destination
This is a great opportunity to get your kids involved. Look up the activities you can do together online. Even if your kids are young, they can enjoy watching where they will go on YouTube. Older kids can research for themselves where they want to go.
Decide which baby equipment to take
If you have a baby, the amount of equipment that you feel you need to take can get out of control. Think carefully about it and research what’s appropriate for your destination. A baby carrier can be a great option over a stroller, but if you have a bigger baby or toddler, a stroller is usually necessary. However, do not take a big one like you would use at home. I recommend researching the best lightweight option like these here.
Prepareing for long haul flights with kids
Long haul flights with little ones do not need to be scary as long as you are prepared. Talk to the kids beforehand about what will happen. Get them to pack their own small backpack with activities for the flight. I recommend taking tablets if you have them. For young kids these can be a very welcome distraction and little ones are often too small to use the in seat entertainment.
Also ensure you take a change of clothes for everyone on the plane (more for babies), some snacks and drinks. Food and drinks can be slow to be served for everyone, so for young ones, I recommend you take your own for emergencies.
Focus on fun activities
One of my favorite parts about traveling with kids is that I no longer have to feel guilty if I don’t make it to every museum in a city. We have an excuse to focus on all the fun stuff instead! In saying that, it is also possible to add in a museum every now and then, just don’t have any expectations about how long you will be able to stay and start at the parts that interest you most. Outdoor attractions also work very well.
Always be prepared
The first thing we do when we arrive somewhere is to send one of us off to buy water and snacks so that we always have something on hand. We carry these in a backpack along with spare clothes and nappies.
Just do it!
It can be easy to just decide that family travel is too hard and stay at home, but honestly, it is not much harder than being at home. Just be prepared and involve your kids in the research and it can be a lot of fun and create memories that will stay with all of you forever.