Traveling with kids is a very different experience when compared to youthful solo adventures or romantic getaways with a partner. However, there is still plenty of potential for family fun if you plan well and adjust your expectations accordingly. Here are seven fantastic tips for the best kid-friendly trips.
1. Plan for a Slower Pace
When you’re planning a kid-friendly weekend getaway, consider the needs of your little traveling companions first. When drawing up the itinerary for a short break, or even a longer vacation, remember that everything is going to take a little more time. Kids need to take naps, they get cranky on long car journeys, they always want to stop for ice cream, and their little legs mean even short walks have the potential to take a long time.
2. Take a Road Trip
The thought of touring the Pacific Coast Highway with kids in the back constantly asking, “Are we there yet?” may fill you with dread. However, a family road trip doesn’t have to be an ordeal. Consider these simple ideas for getting from point A to B without going by air or sea:
- Pack toys and activity packs
- Install a DVD player in the car
- Take frequent breaks
- Bring plenty of water and snacks
- Get your car serviced before you go
3. Kid-Friendly Hotels
Kids are demanding, and it’s great to stay somewhere that has all the essential amenities. Research a hotel carefully before you book, checking for things like easy access for a stroller, kids menus in restaurants, and complimentary cribs. Some of the best fun hotels for kids, according to U.S. News, include:
4. Involve the Kids in the Planning
If you have slightly older children, get them involved when you’re planning your vacation. You have your ideas about what to do, and so do they. They may not be too keen on touring Boston’s historic sites, and may not have the energy for hiking the Grand Canyon’s Bright Angel Trail. If you give them an opportunity to make suggestions and then incorporate some of those ideas in your plans, you create a special family vacation that suits everybody.
5. Pack the Essentials
It’s easy to forget the simple, everyday things in the rush before you leave, so make a list and pack well in advance. Depending on the age of your children, essential items may include:
- Feeding bottles
- A bedtime storybook
In addition to the obvious things, think carefully about what you need to ensure your children have a great time. For example, if they get nervous sleeping in new places, pack plush toys to help them feel safe.
6. Keep Costs Down
The cost for a family vacation has the potential to get out of control if you don’t fix your budget at the start. Fortunately, wherever you go there are plenty of free ways to have fun with the family in order to have the best kid- friendly trip:
- Go for a picnic: If you’re in New York, dine alfresco in the beautiful expanse of Central Park
- Visit the beach: If you’re heading to Tahiti or the Bahamas, you probably don’t need to be told twice to take your beach towel.
- Go to a museum: Many museums are free to enter, from the National Gallery in London to the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, DC.
7. Book Early
Traveling with kids often means taking your vacation during peak season, when school’s out. Prices increase, and all the best places fill up quickly. To make sure you have a fantastic time, it pays to plan in advance and make reservations early for the places and experiences you simply can’t miss. Visit Reservations.com to find fantastic family deals to help you plan the best kid-friendly trips at the best price.