Having kids changes your life in ways you never imagined—including the way you travel. Many couples stop traveling once they have kids because it becomes too much of a hassle. Of course, it won’t ever be like it was when you were in your early twenties, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an incredible vacation getaways with your family. If you feel like bringing the kids along on vacation, here are some tips to make it easier.
- Plan Ahead
Raising children can feel like pure chaos sometimes, that’s why organization is key. Once the flights are booked, make a checklist for each kid, yourself, and your spouse. Forgetting essential items like diapers and formula can create a myriad of problems. Check off each item on your list as you pack so nothing gets left behind.
- Bring the Baby Along!
Don’t feel like you can’t travel because you have a newborn baby—there are plenty of ways to bring them along! If the thought of leaving your newborn behind with Grandma doesn’t sit well, pick up a baby travel crib so your little one can sleep comfortably wherever you go! Strollers are a lifesaver when its nap time or the kids are too tired to walk—make sure you get one that will fit on the plane.
- Ask for a Baby Bed
If you plan to travel internationally, most international flights offer a baby bassinet that can attach to the wall. They’re free, but you have to reserve them in advance and remind the flight crew that you have one when you begin the boarding process. It might seem like a pain to get one, but your arms and your fellow passengers will thank you.
- In-flight Entertainment
If you’ve ever been on road trip with a kid that doesn’t have enough to keep them entertained, then you know what a nightmare it can be. Coloring books and small toys are great, but you can end up hauling around more than you want to. The best way to keep the kids entertained is to pick a fire tablet from Amazon. The kid’s addition comes loaded with tons of educational games and downloadable books. Best of all, these tablets have easy to use parental control settings, so your kids don’t stumble upon anything they aren’t supposed to.
- Pack Plenty of Snacks
Kids are constantly growing and therefore constantly hungry. Be sure to pack a few small Ziploc bags with goldfish, trail mix, and other healthy snacks. Food in airports and on the road can get expensive. If you’re taking a road trip, bring a small cooler along loaded with juice boxes and sandwiches from home.
- Carry Small Bills and Cash
Luggage carts, vending machines, and help from the bellman can add up. You may not think that you will need the extra help when you start unloading the car at your hotel but all those little suitcases can really add up.
- Airbnb over the Hotel
Booking two or three adjacent rooms in a hotel can be a pain—not to mention expensive. You can usually find an apartment or house to rent temporarily while you’re on vacation for the same or less than what you would spend on a hotel. Another benefit of Airbnb is that you can find kid-friendly places to stay that have toys and bunk beds that come with the apartment.
- Be Bold!
Even if you’re terrified of juggling three toddlers on a trip through Europe, do it anyways. Don’t limit yourself; you can pull off a lot more than you probably think. You might be surprised at a toddler’s ability to enjoy a contemporary art museum if you give it a try.
- Bring a Family Member!
Hiring a nanny to come along with you to Europe or Hawaii can cost a small fortune. One way to get an extra pair of hands and save money is to bring a family member along. You probably have a 17-year-old niece or cousin who would love to see Italy in exchange for helping out with the kids.
- Don’t Stress
Planning big trips and getting on a plane with a bunch of kids can take you well outside of your comfort zone. Don’t stress! Remember that people do this thing all the time and it’s never as bad or stressful as your imagination would have you think.
Use these tips and your family vacation is bound to be a success!