Travelling with your children is an amazing experience; the chance to experience new cultures and make fantastic memories as a family. However, just like life is with children, travelling with kids can be unpredictable! To help you start planning your trip today, check out these top family travel tips for travelling with kids to make things go as smooth as possible.
1 . Get super organised
If you’re planning a travelling trip with your children it’s a good idea to get super organised. Travelling with kids can be lots of fun, but you’ll definitely want to avoid any setbacks. The best way to ensure a smooth trip is to plan everything way in advance when possible.
Besides booking your flights, accommodation and transfers you’ll also need to arrange travel insurance, health insurance, and visas, (depending on where you are travelling too). For instance, if you’re travelling to the USA you’ll need to obtain an ESTA, for more info, visit https://official-esta.co.uk/.
When travelling on your own, or with other adults, you may prefer to wing it slightly and book things as you go, or even find accommodation whilst on the road. Whilst this is fun and exciting travelling as adults, it would be the opposite if travelling with kids. You don’t want to risk not being able to find accommodation when you have children in tow, so make sure you book everything in advance so you have peace-of-mind you have somewhere to stay and transport sorted for your trip.
2. Do plenty of research
To plan the trip of your dreams ensure that you perform lots of research. You need to find out which destinations are the most suitable for a family friendly holiday. According to Oliver Travels, Santori in Greece is one of the best destinations for ‘adventure seeking families’, with plenty of exciting boat tours and swimming spots on offer. Another exciting destination for families is Mexico, there are plenty of fun water parks along the Riviera Maya, and interesting museums to explore.
It will of course also depend on your childrens ages to the activities you can take part in and which location will be most suitable. The US has plenty of family holiday options, whether you’re keen to hit Disney Land or take a camping trip in the beautiful YellowStone National Park. Whether you’re visiting the US or jetting off to Europe it’s important to do lots of research to ensure the place is right for your family and needs.
3. Involve your kids
If your kids are a little older it can be fun (and useful) to involve them in the research process. Have a Google session together, look at plenty of pictures and watch a few YouTube videos. Of course, your kid’s won’t be able to help with much of the actual planning! But it’s still nice to include them where you can and let them have a say in the type of place they want to visit or activities they wish to do. This will also help them to get as excited about the trip as you are!
It's important they get to do some kid friendly activities so they can make the most of the holiday, such as visiting parks with animals like Tehidy Country Park in Cornwall where the kids get to see squirrels up close, feed ducks and explore the woods.
4. Write an itinerary
Once you’ve figured out where you’d like to travel, it's time to create an itinerary. Taking kids on a travelling trip can be pretty fast-paced, (it’s unlikely you’ll have much planning time when you’ve arrived)! Create an approximate schedule of what you’ll do each day, from beach days to boat trips, museums, National Parks, or festivals.
If you have the opportunity to book activities in advance, this can save time and help you get prepared. To help you prepare an itinerary try using the TripIt app, this application will help you to keep all your reservations in one place, sync with your calendar, and plan your schedule.
As much as you plan activities, be sure to add in moments for rest or sporadic plans. Keep an afternoon, morning or even a whole day free every now and then so you can choose to have a lie-in, use the hotel facilities, lounge on a beach, or mill about the general area. It doesn’t have to be go-go-go all the time and the kids will appreciate a little downtime every now and then.
5. Prep for the flights
If you’re travelling with younger kids, or kids who are scared of flying, it’s vital to get prepared. To help you out, here are a few top tips to prep for a flight with kids:
Talk about their fears: If your child is scared of flying, ask them what it is about flying that makes them feel scared. Understanding the reason behind their fear will help you to ease their anxieties.
Bring distractions: The first rule of bringing kids on a plane is to bring lots of distractions! Bring any flight appropriate toys, games, books or teddies that will keep them happy.
Kids snacks: When all else fails, snacks are a great way to keep children occupied. Let them pick out some extra special sweets or snacks before you board the flight.
6. It’s all in the packing
Before you jet off on your travels you’ll want to ensure that you’ve packed everything you need. The best thing to do is to write a checklist of all the things your child might need while they are away. If you’re struggling to get started, take a look at a family holiday checklist.
For a stress-free packing experience apps like Pack Point can be useful. It’s an app that tells you exactly what to bring based on family members, the weather, activities, and trip duration.
You could even write your own checklist and then re-use it for every trip you have. Be sure to mark important items that are easily forgotten at the top, such as chargers for your phones and devices!
7. Ensure rest days
I mentioned this above, but I actually think it deserves its own mention as it’s pretty important, especially on holiday with kids. If you’re off on an action-packed holiday you’ll be keen to make the most of your time away. However, it’s important to ensure that you plan rest days so that your kids don’t get too tired. Grumpy and sleepy kids are the last thing you want when you’re travelling! When you’re writing up your itinerary, ensure that you balance busy days with lazy days at the beach.
8. Road trip tips
Perhaps you and your family are off on a road trip? Family road trips can be plenty of fun but you’ll also need to put in the planning time. Here are a few key tips for planning a family road trip.
Use apps like Roadtrippers & Waze to plan your route, get tips and traffic updates.
Ensure that you have your car serviced before you hit the roads.
Pack an emergency kit in your car to support you in tricky situations.
Make sure that you bring activities to keep your kids entertained in the car, (audiobooks or car-friendly games).
Check the rules of the road for where you travel. Different countries have different speed limits for example. Some countries require you to have certain items on-board or even country stickers on your car or headlamp stickers if you need to drive on the other side of the road. Research well in advance so you are prepared and know what to do.
9. Group trips
If you have other friends who have children it can be fun to plan a group trip altogether. It’s nice for your kids to play with their friends on holiday, plus it’s helpful to have other adults to help you plan the trip. You can come up with new ideas together, share researching activities and have some support when things don’t go to plan! It can also make things more affordable if you can split the cost of accommodation or transport between more people. Going on holiday with the right friends can be a lot of fun!
10. Sources of inspiration
Last up, when you’re organising a travelling trip with kids it can be helpful to get a little inspiration. These podcasts are a great place to find family travel advice:
City Travel With Kids
The City Travel With Kids show is hosted by Marta Correale, Marianna Rogerson and Keri Hedrick. During these episodes you’ll get lots of tips on family destinations, to help you plan your dream trip.
The Family Travel Podcast
The Family Travel Podcast is a fantastic resource to help you plan your next trip. Here you’ll learn that you don’t need to spend lots of money to plan the holiday of your dreams. Tune in to get lots of inspirational stories about travelling the world with your family.
This travelling with kids blog covers lots of destinations and ideas that a family of four have experienced, as well as kid-free travel, travel tips and advice and bucket-list destination ideas.
Planning your adventure with kids will ensure that you find the best activities, get the best prices, and keep everyone happy on holiday.
Got a weekend without the kids? Here are some cheap places to visit in UK as a couple!