Travel

9 Tips For Getting Back Into Family Travel!

Now that the world is starting to open up and more countries are relaxing their Covid rules, travel is back! But before you book that seven to fourteen-day vacation here are some tips to ensure your trip goes smoothly.

Here are 9 Tips For Getting Back Into Travel With Kids!

9 tips for getting back into family travel

Trial Run

Book a two-night trip to somewhere close to test your process. Of course, this won’t give you any information about flights but you will get an idea of how much your kids can actually do outside your regular schedule and what you may need to bring to ensure the trip is successful.  They also will have some experience with schedule changes and it will help when you go for longer. 

Book a Kid-Friendly Hotel

Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Riviera Maya - Big Kahuna bedroom

Nickelodeon Hotels & Resorts Riviera Maya – Big Kahuna bedroom

Set yourself and your family up for success by booking a hotel/cruise that has a lot for everyone to do.  When we traveled with Karisma they offered parents the use of gear(strollers, playpens, baby monitors) when they were onsite, a toy lending library for the room, and baby food in the dining rooms.

When we traveled with Royal Caribbean two weeks ago we found the same on Wonder of the Seas.  There was a kid-friendly food section in the Windjammer where they offered smaller-sized items and specialized food geared toward kids.  They also have kids clubs for all ages and a toy lending library for room use as well.

On top of this, there are kid-friendly water play options and lots of activities for all ages.  Having this ensures that parents can drop their kids off for a play session which gives them a bit of adult time together as well.  It also reduces the amount of gear you have to bring.

Itinerary & Process

Trip planning

If your kids are 4+ go over your itinerary with them.  Show them the hotel, introduce them to some of the cool stuff for them like the kids club/waterpark, and explain what you will be doing.  Not only will this help ease fears of the unknown, but it will also give them a better understanding of what to expect.  

Now that they’re older I will give our kids a countdown and then l ask them to suggest what they would like to do. 

Before getting to the airport we remind them of the process and explain how long it will take to get through each stage; check-in, security, and customs(as we are Canadian).

Plan to get to the airport 3 hours before.  We were very surprised at how long the lines were and just made it to our gate 30 minutes before our flight.

Snacks

Regardless of if you are going on a cruise, visiting a resort, or planning to explore a new country bring the snacks your kids like at home. There will always be a time when you are away from the hotel amenities and these familiar items will tide them over.   This will also save some money as convenient items like chips, and crackers are often available but normally double what you paid at home.  

I still do this with my teen as he is fussy and we can’t just grab what he likes when we are out.  

Packing Cubes

I love packing cubes!  My boys share a suitcase so it’s a great way to know where everything is.  We break the 4 cubes into; shorts/bathing suits, tops, underwear/socks, and dress clothes. I do the roll technique to reduce the space further and the suitcase is completely organized.  As we wear the clothes 2 cubes transfer to be laundry cubes(whites and darks), and I just pull them out of the suitcase and throw them right in the washer. 

The cubes go in the lower half of the suitcase, which leaves the top portion for shoes, snacks, and extras like beach bags.

Underpack clothes

We always think we need more than we do. On our last vacation, I didn’t wear HALF of what I brought. I love choice but I realized vacations are more basic than we think. Pack items that can be used many times like black, taupe, or navy shorts. Pair them with tees for the day or dressy shirts for dinner. This goes for parents and kids. We brought three pairs of evening bottoms for the kids on our last cruise and they just rotated their golf/button-down shirts for dinner.  I did 4 bathing suits for each kid and 3 swim tops they could pair with anything.  They wore their pj’s 2 nights so I packed 3 pairs of those in total. 

Pack something for one nicely dressed evening and then you won’t have to stress about 3 different outfits a day. 

Overpack the Basics

travel first aid kit

For little ones estimate 1.5 of the diapers you usually use and the same goes for sleepers and formula if you are bringing it. Bring every medication you have ever thought you might need and ALL the sunscreen. Tylenol, Advil, teething medication, ear/eye drops, Benadryl, antibacterial wipes, 3 sizes of bandaids, a thermometer, nasal aspirator,  and Neosporin. Keep these in a pencil case in your backpack/beach bag at all times. You want to ensure you have items you are familiar with for dosing and side effects. 

After sun or aloe is also a must just in case your sunscreen isn’t strong enough and the family needs relief. I can’t tell you how many times we have paid $30 for after sun at the resort boutique because we didn’t bring it.

Reduce Your Expectations

family vacation

When we go on vacation we want to do all the things. Sometimes kids just want to do nothing but play in the water all day. On our last trip, I planned one excursion. This gave us the freedom to do as much or as little as we wanted.  Our trip was very chill, everyone did what they wanted and it was fun. 

We caught a couple of shows (but not on purpose) and we just enjoyed not having to be anywhere. 

Trying to keep kids on a schedule in a different county can be tough so go with the flow and it will reduce the stress.

New Digital Entertainment

child ipad airplane

Wipe the iPad before you go and install new apps and tv shows your kids have never seen. You can save your current setup and revert it when you get back if they need some of those shows as part of their daily routine.

This saved us on an 18-hour drive home from Atlanta a few years ago and during many flight delays.  Poll your friends for new, engaging apps and shows before your trip, and don’t add the new content until the day before. Download ALL the episodes and games.  Add a few to your device too just in case the iPad dies.. 

Bonus – Add a transportation app to your phone.  We aren’t normally ‘Uber’ or ‘Lyft” people but we needed to use them during our most recent trip as our hotel was outside the taxi zone. It was also the easiest way to get to the airport.  

About the author

Lisa Arneill

Mom of 2 boys and founder of GrowingYourBaby.com and World Traveled Family. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

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