Going on vacation as a family is a great way to get away from real life for a while and spend quality time together. It is also a great way to bond as a family. It can also be stressful and put everyone in a bad mood if it is not done the right way. So what makes the difference? Do a master list of family travel tips?
- Our top family travel tips
- Safety tips for family trips
- Top family travel tips for travel with younger children
- Top family travel tips for travel with young adults
- Our top travel planning tips for families
- Our best accommodation for family travel tips
How do you plan a family vacation that promotes fun and unity instead of arguing? There are a lot of things that go into planning a great family vacation, and some of them will depend on your family’s preferences, but here are some family travel tips to get you going in the right direction for your family vacation.
Our top family travel tips
For us to plan an epic family vacation with kids there are a few family travel tips that we absolutely incorporate into our family vacations. These help us not only have a relaxing holiday with kids but also make sure the kids enjoy their family holiday as much as we do.
Slow it down
One of our very best family travel tips is to take it slow. Remember that you are on a family holiday and you don’t have to do it all. There is a tendency when it comes to planning vacations with family to try to pack as much fun stuff as possible into the time frame. That makes sense but it is counterproductive because people have less fun on family holidays, the more jam-packed full of activities they are.
Lower your expectations on your family holiday
One of our best holiday tips is to try not to expect everyone will be having the best family holiday all the time. There will be things that you love on your family vacation and you think everyone else will love it too, but it might fall flat. Limit epic experiences to only a few so they really make an impression.
Remember to relax
A vacation should be a way to relax and have fun, and when you schedule too many activities to close together, it is mostly just stressful. Rushing from one activity to the next keeps the family from enjoying their time together, and everyone is on edge.
Having a relaxing breakfast together is a great way to start the day or even a dinner at the end of a day of sightseeing is a great way to relax.
Allow your self extra time
If you have a large family or small children, you should actually schedule a lot of extra time for things you would be able to breeze through on your own. Getting through security at the airport, bathroom breaks, boarding the plane, and finding luggage will all take extra time with extra people.
Schedule down time
Once you are at your family travel destination, you will need to schedule extra time for people to get settled into the room and regroup before starting out on your family travel adventure. Moving a group of people around will take more time than you realize, so make sure you are not rushed. You should also schedule downtime in your trip for activities that come up last minute or to just go exploring.
Let your kids know what is going on during the family holiday
Arming your children with a brief outline of your trip will help them feel more at ease. You may also want to talk to them about what to expect at the airport and the rules for some of the activities you will be doing. This not only cuts down on the explaining time you will have to do while on the trip, but it will also make everyone much happier.
It is better to pack as light as possible while travelling with kids. The daily routine is already broken for the kids, so having more stuff with them won’t counteract that. If there are necessities like favourite stuffed animals or comfort items, then, of course, bring them, but other than that, try to pack as lightly as possible.
There is a tendency to believe that if you can pack enough stuff that you will be prepared entirely with everything you might want and that will make the trip go smoothly. The more items you pack, the more you have to keep track of and lug around with you wherever you go. If you are moving locations, then it also means unpacking and repacking everything multiple times. All that clutter will only add to your stress.
Realise it is not going to be all sunshine and rainbows
This is the biggest piece of advice for family travelling we can give. You may get a bumpy plane ride, a stomach bug, have a noisy hotel room or just a child that does not want to suddenly be on a family holiday. Being on a family trip with kids is honestly just like being at home. Home just happens to be in another place and sometimes it is just not all sunshine and rainbows
Packing snacks is essential when taking children on vacation. Keeping bellies full can mean all the difference when it comes to happy attitudes. It is always possible that you could get delayed at the airport or traveling or before an activity, which will push a meal back. If that happens, you want to be prepared to hold people over until you can get to the food.
The food could also be different than your kids are used to eating. Trying new things is great, but if you don’t like something, it can leave you hungry and grumpy. And don’t forget to pack snacks for the adults too, sometimes we all need a snack!
Another thing you need to consider while you are travelling with family is communicating about any special needs a member of your family may require. Dealing with food allergies, physical restrictions, or mental needs in your everyday life may seem normal now, but accommodating it in an unfamiliar area can be unexpectedly tricky.
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Safety tips for family trips
Vacation safety is one thing that is a high priority when travelling with kids. Many parents stress about how safe a family vacation destination will be before they get there.
Have a safety plan you are all aware of
It is also good to go over the safety plan with your kids before your trip and refresh their memories every time you go to a crowded place. You should also tell them what to do if they are ever separated from the group, like have a place to meet or tell them who to talk to to get help.
You may even want to consider getting GPS tracking devices to attach to belts or shoes just in case they really get lost.
For really small children you can put this information on a piece of paper in their pocket or on a card attached to their clothes with a safety pin. It doesn’t matter what you do in the end, just make sure your children have your contact information with them at all times.
Do you need a detailed guide on how we keep our family safe when travelling? Here we have all of our top safety with kids when travelling tips
Make your luggage easy to find
Waiting for what seems forever at the baggage area with kids you really need to make sure you can locate your luggage easily when it arrives. Having suitcase covers that are custom made is a great way to do this and they are definitely not anyone else’s bags.
Travel safety with kids
Keeping track of your children while traveling can be hard. Figuring out the logistics of traveling while keeping an eye on your kids can be impossible sometimes. Make sure you have a plan with other adults you are traveling with to divide up the duties, so someone is always available to keep a lookout for the kids.
Book your seats together
Many families who travel together are shocked when they arrive at the airport and are told they will not be sitting together on the plane. Take the stress out of having to ask for people to swap, paying extra or being separated for your family vacation in the first few hours by booking your seats together.
Top family travel tips for travel with younger children
Going on a family holiday with young kids can be daunting. You don’t know how they are going to cope and how well they will settle into a traveling routine. Below we have some of the best travel tip for travel with young children.
Take a pram if you can
Many airports these days have a pram or some sort of chair that you can use while in the airport to make your transitions easier. After you leave is when it may become an issue. If you can purchase a cheap pram that folds down easily (an umbrella pram) and lays down for your child to sleep in this may make your family vacation with kids much easier.
Find a playground
If you are planning a family vacation with your children finding a playground may be your saviour. Letting the kids have some free time at a playground either in your resort, in the airport or even in your local area may help with them staying happy on your family trip.
Think about nap time
Being stuck in a hotel room or an apartment when nap time is happening can be a real drag on your family and travel expectations. If possible have a pram where your young one can sleep or in a wrap if they are small enough.
Include destinations and activities kids are interested in
Could you think of your worst family holiday possible? This may be how your travelling young children think of your plans for your family holiday. Incorporate as many activities that they love to make sure they are happy.
In many of the large tourist attractions in the big cities, you will find they are well aware that they may not be a top family travel destination for families travelling with young children. Some have tried to help travelling parents out by making an activity that will excite and thrill young visitors. Check when you get your ticket to see if they have a child-friendly activity.
Avoid long road trips
Try to break up your long road trip with kids. There is nothing worse than a thousand ‘are we there yets’ and then arriving at your family vacation destination cranky.
Let them pack a couple of their favourite things
Being away from home, routine and everything you know can be confronting for most people and this is no exception for travelling with small children. If they are able to let them pack a couple of small items in their bag to help them transition and feel comfortable in new places.
Trust me, you can get it all where you are going to
It is easy to want to pack everything you use at home to make your family holiday easy. Most places you are going to travel with your children will have everything you need readily accessible if you forget to pack something necessary. The less stuff you pack, the happier you will be
Top family travel tips for travel with young adults
Traveling with young adults can have just as many hurdles as traveling with young kids.
Find a hotel with a pool, entertainment area
If the weather is hot you can easily have some downtime with an afternoon by the pool. This is also a great way for young adults on holiday to meet new people and socialise when they are on a family vacation.
Want to know all the very best first-hand advice for keeping teens social when travelling? Our ultimate guide will give you all the ideas you need
Let them research
Young adults these days are extremely internet savvy and are most of the time highly connected to social media. Let them research or find some places they have seen online to add to your family trip.
Include destinations and activities that young adults are interested in
While you may not want to be sitting by a pool all day or at a theme park from dawn till dusk this may be what your young adult on holidays wants. Mix up the activities so everyone is able to enjoy their family holiday.
Make sure there is wifi
Wi-fi, at times, is a must-have for travelling with young adults. This helps them stay connected at home with friends and family.
You should also have a reliable way for the adults or older children to get in touch with each other like a cell phone plan that will work where you are travelling. You can look into a SMARTY 30GB new plan if you need an idea of somewhere to start.
Even if your child doesn’t have a phone, you should make sure they know your full name and contact information so they can relay it to someone when they ask for help.
Get them to take charge of thier packing and carry on
Getting traveling teens excited for a family vacation can sometimes be difficult. make them take charge of what they think they will need for their family holiday. You can help them by sharing your best travel packing tips to make sure they have all that they need.
Kids function better if they are aware of what to expect. Before your trip, sit down with your family and have a meeting about your trip. Go over the details of the trip, like where you are going and how long you will be there. Talk about the different activities and see what people are most excited about doing.
Our top travel planning tips for families
So much effort goes into planning the perfect family vacation. Hours of travel planning can come completely undone if you forget the most important aspects of family travel.
Flights will, of course, be pre-booked, but that should not be the only thing you schedule ahead of time. It would help if you had your lodgings booked ahead of time so you can settle in as soon as you get to your destination. You won’t want to get off a plane and then start looking for a place to sleep with all your luggage and kids in tow.
Even flights and where you are staying is not enough to pre-book. While you are traveling, you not only have to move from place to place, but everyone in your family needs to be fed and entertained while you do it.
Any activities that you can pre-book before your family trip cuts down on things you have to juggle on your trip. Think about booking your transportation needs, tours, guides, and attractions.
Having a family member get sick on vacation can ruin everyone’s time. Making sure you are prepared to prevent or treat any illnesses while you are traveling is essential. You’ll probably want to pack some basic medicine to help in most situations.
Headache medicine, allergy medicines, medicine to help with an upset stomach, motion sickness medication, and any other medications specific to your family are important to include. Most ailments that will happen can either be prevented with these medicines, or they will relieve the symptoms so the vacation can continue.
If anyone in your family is taking a prescription while you are traveling, don’t forget to bring it. You should always keep medicine in the original packaging, so the type and dosages don’t get confused or forgotten. You should also make sure that there are no special requirements for traveling to your destination with medication. Some areas will require a note from a doctor and some extra paperwork.
Have photocopies of your documentation
If you are travelling with family and they have medicinal needs make sure you have letters from your Doctor stating what the medication is and what it is used for. This can make entering and exiting a country much easier.
Back up that documentation with scanned copies on your email
One way to protect yourself from any incidents on your family vacation with kids is to make sure you have copies of anything you need, like travel insurance papers, approved visas and birth certificates.
An easy way to do this is to scan them and send them to your email address. You can easily access these if you, unfortunately, lose the hard copies you have on you. Another good idea is to send copies to a trusted friend as well for safekeeping.
Our best accommodation for family travel tips
Finding the very best family-friendly accommodation for your family holiday with kids can be the most stressful part of any family holiday.
Find the best accommodation for your family
You should learn about basic accommodations for such needs before you travel, so you know what to expect. Printing out explanations of the condition and needs in the local language can also be very helpful. You may even need this information in more than one language if the place you are going has several languages that are used. It is always better to be a little over-prepared than to get somewhere and not be able to communicate about a need.
Consider staying in a hostel with your kids
So many people are shocked when we say that we stay in hostels with our teen daughters. Hostels have come a very long way in the last few years and some are not focusing on more inclusive, family-friendly accommodation styles.
Want to know why we stay in hostels with kids. Read how staying in a hostel with kids has changed the way we travel.
Research the area and look on Google Maps
Research the area if you are unsure and have a look on google maps. Reading previous reviews can sometimes add to the anxiety you are feeling
Get recommendations from other travellers
With so many amazing forums online now you are able to ask for family travel advice in many of these groups. You will find a wealth of people more than happy to give you top tips for family travel in them.
We hope this article from us here at Wyld Family Travel has given you some of the best family travel tips for your next family vacation. Advice for travelling is normally very specific for families who travel with kids but we hope we have given you a large number of family travel tips you may not have thought of.
If you are looking for more vacation tips for families, travel insurance tips and safety tips for traveling with kids click through to our Family Travel Tips, Hints and Advice page for more family travel inspiration.