I’m excited to share Sleeping is for Sissies’ first guest post! Kendra Thornton is a former Orbitz Director of Communications and travel expert who has been to 28 countries in 6 continents. (Wow!) She is also a wife and mom of three.
So who better to share some tips on traveling with kiddos – and perfect timing for anyone planning a last-minute getaway before school starts back up! Thanks, Kendra!
Easy Tips for Family Trips
a guest post by Kendra Thornton
It may be late in the season, but there is still time to plan a fun-filled family vacation! In order for your trip to be relaxing and enjoyable for all the family, there must be strategic planning ahead of time. Take the time to prepare yourself and your whole family for the trip, and it will pay off in leaps and bounds in the end.
Tip #1: Happy Little Travelers
It may sound crazy, but a road trip with the kids can be fun, especially if the destinations are exciting! I know traveling with little ones can be difficult, but there are ways to sooth them and make the time fly! As the hours of travel start to build up, make sure you have things to do to keep your children occupied. Consider investing in a portable DVD player and bring some favorite movies along for the trip. Also, try out something different by purchasing an audiobook for your kids to listen to.
Tip #2: Get Directional!
If your kids are old enough to read a map, scope out the route before you leave. Use highlighters on maps to emphasize the roads to travel during your trip. This is very educational, and a tremendous tool for your kids to learn. It is easy to just listen to the GPS tell us where to go, but actually looking at a map and understanding where you are traveling is a unique, fun thing to teach your children.
Tip #3: Create a Travel Pack
When traveling for extended periods of time, issues may arise where certain items may be needed at a moment’s notice. This can be true for serious items like a child’s medication or a new diaper, and for less serious issues like snacks or a change of clothes. I like to include other items like wetnaps, a favorite toy, and a phone charger. Bring whatever items you deem fit for your travel pack.
Tip #4: Picking a Hotel
When traveling with the whole family, it can be tempting to simply choose the hotel with the lowest price tag. However, picking out a family friendly hotel that has all the amenities you want will more than pay for itself. So what constitutes “family friendly”? Read user reviews to see if the staff is helpful and if there are quiet hours at night. Look online to find out if there are kid’s menus in the hotel restaurant, if the pool has a shallow end, if the hotel offers rollaway beds to the rooms free of charge, and anything else you might be interested in. Gogobot is an online hotel review site, and I have used it when traveling to Disney World to stay at a family friendly hotel in or near Disney. Check out different options until finding a viable one for your family.
Tip #5: Speed Through the Airport
The airport can be a drawn out, difficult experience if you show up unprepared. While some unexpected circumstances can still put a damper on things, showing up prepared can minimize the effects. Print your tickets out two nights in advance (don’t do this too early to avoid misplacing them), and make all the kids wear slip on shoes or sandals. Going through security, everyone will have to take off his or her shoes, so make the process a bit quicker in this regard. Also, always double check what can and can’t be brought through airport security in your carry-on luggage.
Your family vacation can be awesome this summer, but it will take some planning ahead! Take some of these tips into consideration, and remember that being prepared always pays off!
I love these tips, especially the one about teaching your kiddos some basic map skills while involving them in the trip planning process. Brilliant! You can follow Kendra on Twitter @KendraThornton.
And if you are planning to take young kids on a trip in the near future, you may want to check out my traveling-with-tots packing checklist and maybe even make a handy-dandy nap mat to bring along for the ride! (We have used ours in many a hotel.) Happy traveling!