Traveling with kids – Tips for smooth journeys
While it is supposed to be a path to self-discovery, travel in modern times has become a harried exercise. Add some kids to the journey, and many parents find the thought of travel to be unbearable. Despite the challenge, it is possible to enjoy a fun vacation with kids.
A good night’s rest is essential for a fun and memorable. Follow these expert hotel tips to ensure you are getting a good deal with a hotel that is kid friendly:
- Check the hotel’s policy for kids to stay free. Some offer this discount for kids up to 19 years of age, while others only feature it for two year olds and higher. Check the policy to avoid a potentially expensive surprise.
- Stick your kids in a warm car for eight hours and they’re going to get cranky. A hotel pool can be a very inviting place to relax and burn some calories. Use the booking site’s advanced filters to make sure your selected hotel has a pool.
- Babysitting services can be what you need to get out on your own. Many resorts offer safe and engaging babysitting services that allow grownups to have some time together.
- Find the bargains. Orlando and Las Vegas are good choices for families, with the Wyndham Lake Buena Vista in downtown Disney available for $80 a night. Midweek rates in Vegas are surprisingly cheap, with quality suites from $85 a night. Getaroom.com features “unpublished rates” through its call center which allow parents to save even more.
- Look at suites. Consider the benefits of a larger suite instead of two separate rooms. A suite can be especially welcome for those traveling with little kids who can’t be left unsupervised in an adjoining room.
- Watch extra fees. Parking, Wi-Fi and other services might be free, or they might not. Parking in an urban center such as San Francisco can be $50 a night, so find a hotel that offers a parking fee deal.
- Continental free breakfasts add up. When you have hungry teenagers in tow, breakfast can be a considerable expense. Hotels that offer free continental breakfasts give your kids the fuel you need and gives you a break for your wallet.
Flying is amazing! You can travel thousands of miles in a few hours. Traveling with a screaming toddler on the plane makes it feel truly endless, however there are things you can do to ensure you survive and thrive on a plane ride.
- Stretch those little legs. When the flying is nice and calm, take a minute to walk the aisle with your child. Remember how much energy they normally burn and understand it can be difficult to sit still in a plane for grownups, never mind a five year old.
- Bring enough food. It’s a classic risk/reward. You risk wasting maybe $10 worth of food versus being prepared in case of delays or excessive hunger. Bring high-protein snacks, and make sure you eat as well so you can calm any frazzled nerves.
- Some airlines allow kids under two to fly for free. This is a great bargain, but be aware many international carriers charge at least a portion of the regular fare for kid travelers.
- Spend layovers wisely. The first priority during a long layover is to get some nourishing food. After that, try to find a deserted gate area or even a section of a terminal. Allowing kids to sprint 50 yards is an amazing way to release some of their energy. Do jumping jacks as a family to get the blood moving and the spirits high.
- Babies are going to cry. Don’t apologize if your baby is crying on the plane. The changes in air pressure hurt, and there isn’t much you can do. If the baby has eaten and has a dry diaper, you’ve done the best you can. Be sure to bring your own wipes, creams, diapers and formula with you. Don’t put essentials in checked luggage if you’ll need them with you in seat 24E.
Don’t pack the kitchen sink! This saying is vital for those who have the urge to bring everything under the sun on a simple trip. Work with your kids to figure out what they absolutely need to bring. The following tips will help travelers to pack right and light and to enjoy relatively stress-free travel:
- Get a full charge. Make sure all iPads, iPods, phones, tablets, and video games are fully charged before your trip. While you want the kids to enjoy the scenery of a road trip, giving them a little screen time can help keep them in a decent mood.
- Bring a simple stroller. Inexpensive umbrella strollers area much better option than bringing your larger and fancier kid buggy. Keep it simple with a lightweight stroller that will save your back while traveling.
- Kids are messy. Pack an extra set of clothes in your carry-on so you can get junior out of his juice-soaked pants. Be prepared for the unexpected.
- Washing machines are your friend. If you are traveling to a relative’s home or are renting a house, remember you can always do laundry. A nine-day trip doesn’t mean each kid needs nine complete outfits. Bring four or five that match well enough and simply do the laundry halfway through the trip.
- Pick the right days to travel. For example, avoid subjecting kids to red eye flights, and consider flying on Tuesdays or Wednesdays to avoid massive crowds.
- Pack art supplies. Paper and crayons are still great ways to spend time while traveling. They don’t need to be charged and they help many kids to tune out distractions and relax.
Following these following tips for hotels, flights, and packing are a great way to ensure the next trip with kids goes smoothly. This will give you more time to build great memories instead of worrying about the headaches of traveling with little ones.
Co-founder of Hotels.com and Getaroom.com, Bob Diener has tips on packing, driving versus flying and even how technology can help you along the way. He also knows the best family vacation spots and how you can save hundreds of dollars on hotels and traveling expenses in 2014. Bob’s a travel veteran with over 25 years of experience and a great source on all things travel and can provide great insight on how to make the most of their family vacation this year.