Adding kids to your travel plans can make things more complicated but with a little forethought and these tips for smooth journeys, traveling with kids can be fun and memorable! Bob Diener is a travel industry expert with over 25 years of experience and a great source on all things travel. Diener is also the President and Co-Founder of the newest online travel site getaroom.com, specializing in offering travelers the best rooms at the best values. Today he shares with us his top tips for traveling with kids.
Tips For Traveling with Kids
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 younger. 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 from $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 Getaroom.com features “unpublished rates” through its call center which allow parents to save even more.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. When booking online hotel reservations make sure to request the crib or roll out cot in advance.
• 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 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.
Tips To Ensure A More Enjoyable 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 convenience 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.
• Be prepared with some games and activities for traveling.
• 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.
• 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.
Tips 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. Bring a lightweight portable car seat.
• 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.
• 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 kids. What are your tips for traveling with children?