When traveling with kids, the destination — no matter how exciting — won’t be enough to keep your kids occupied. To make traveling easier and more enjoyable when you are on the road with children, you’re going to need a few things. Here’s what you need to know.
It’s hard to blame kids for their difficulties when traveling. With so few years under their belt, every little bump in the road has much more gravitas. Three hours on the road to you isn’t the same as three hours on the road to them — it feels much, much longer. Plus, kids tend to do well with a routine. For some little ones, being in an unfamiliar environment is very stressful.
Figuring Out Where to Go
Finding a place you think everyone in your family will enjoy is tough. You want to find a place that everyone loves, but you have to keep your destination within your budget. This can prove problematic when each member of your family has a different idea of the perfect vacation. So, sit down with your loved ones and hammer out a plan. That way, everyone feels involved in the process, which will decrease the chance of disappointment.
While your first choices might include beaches and theme parks, don’t forget there are plenty of places to consider in your own backyard. For example, as Turnkey reminds, Austin has plenty to offer families who need a break from their daily lives, including several beautiful lakes (Lake Austin and Lake Travis, for example) that are perfect for swimming and boating, as well as restaurants that will appeal to whatever you crave. You can easily rent a vacation property near these locations so you’re never far away from the activities you want to explore.
Preparations When Traveling with Kids
Planning in the most powerful tool you have at your disposal. The more you plan your trip details and itinerary, the better. For one thing, if you look into all the kid-friendly options at your disposal when you are on the road, you can save time, money and make sure your children are enjoying themselves as much as possible. Secondly, if you have an itinerary that keeps you on track, it’s easier to bounce back in case there is a bit of a hiccup throughout your day.
When you were younger sans kids, you probably had more than one experience where you waited until the last minute to head to the airport and ran through the corridors trying to make your flight in time. With kids, that simply is not an option. Whether you are trying to catch a flight or simply driving from your hotel to a restaurant, it is going to take longer with children in tow. Leave at least 10 to 20 minutes early when you have kids with you. If you are flying, make sure there is plenty of time between connections to get from gate to gate.
Overpacking only makes it easier to lose things and get overwhelmed. When packing for your children, plan each day’s outfit and bundle them together in their suitcase. Consider adopting a travel capsule wardrobe for yourself to save room. In addition, you can always buy more of kid essentials including diapers when you get to your destination.
A lot of people don’t travel with infants because they don’t know what to do when it comes to sleeping arrangements. Having a small travel crib can greatly increase the ability to travel with ease when kids are too small to sleep in a bed on their own. Travel cribs are portable, easy to use and fit in hotel rooms even when space is at a premium.
Discount sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial are practically made for traveling families. You can use the available kid-friendly events and activities to plan your itinerary while saving money on them at the same time. Most of the time, you can save a lot of money when buying items such as tickets and rental cars in advance through these services.
Kids tend to get frustrated with traveling, but you can make it easier on them by staying on top of your planning. Wherever you have to go, always leave at least 10 minutes earlier when you are traveling with children. Pack lightly and buy extra essential items such as diapers when you arrive at your destination. If you are traveling with an infant, bring a travel crib that makes good use of even the tightest spaces. Finally, use a discount site to both plan your itinerary and help you save big bucks while traveling with children.