Top Tips for Planning Vacations with Kids
If you are ready to plan a vacation with kids, you might get a little stressed out. Where should you go? Will your kids be happy? Will you be able to afford the kind of vacation you desire? Don’t fret. You can plan an amazing vacation that will make your whole family happy. Here are our top tips for planning vacations with kids.
Choose the Right Location
Since you are vacationing with kids, you are probably vacationing during breaks from school. Guess what? Everyone else with kids is vacationing at the same time. Fear not! You can avoid crowds by choosing vacation destinations that are a little off the radar.
You can go somewhere that can be just as fun without the overcrowding. We love to travel with our kids at Daily Mom. One location we recently explored is Gulf County Florida. It is amazing for families, yet quiet at the same time. For more family activities that you can do in one trip, you have to check out Chattanooga.
For tips about traveling during the school year, check out these School-Year Vacation Planning Tips.
Scout out Restaurants Ahead of Time
You don’t want to get stuck with hangry toddlers while on vacation. Don’t wing it when it comes to meals and snacks. Pack plenty of healthy snacks that are easy to eat on the go. For meals, find restaurants that will work for your family’s dietary habits near your vacation activities. If you are renting a suite with a kitchen or a vacation home, scout out grocery stores ahead of time. Some remote locations don’t have large grocery stores nearby. You may need to shop for your trip on the way there.
Book Your Trip at the Right Time
Timing matters when you book a vacation. A new study shows that the best time to book airline tickets is 54 days before you leave. However, the window for booking flights at a good price is somewhere between 112 to 21 days before your trip. Do not book less than 21 days before you are leaving if you can avoid it. Sign up at airfarewatchdog to make sure the cost of your flight does not go down. If it does, you may be able to get the airline to reimburse you. You can book a lot of hotels that are refundable if your plans change. If you do choose a very popular destination, you should book hotels and make reservations for meals and activities as early as possible.
To book a trip on a cruise ship, either take advantage of early bird specials or snag a last minute deal. Cruise prices change based on demand. Early bird prices can save you 25% to 50%. Last minute deals can be great because the cruise company is trying to book empty staterooms. Also, ask cruise lines about other sales. Sometimes kids cruise free or you can get a cabin upgrade or credits to pay for things while onboard.
When packing for your kids, keep things organized and simple for them.
- Pack the clothing needed for each day in a ziplock bag.
- Write the name of the child and the day on each bag.
- Each kid can grab their bag everyday and your whole family can be dressed and ready without a lot of fuss and mess.
- Dirty clothes can go right back in the bag they came out of for an easy way to keep clean and dirty clothing separated.
If you are staying at a house and will do laundry, pack powdered detergent or laundry pods in ziplock bags. This will keep your suitcase light and help you avoid having to go to the store for detergent while vacationing.
Think Outside the Hotel
When traveling with a large group, like extended family, a hotel may not be your best option. Renting a vacation home is more comfortable and you can save a ton of money. Beach destinations offer lots of options for homes to rent. Homeaway is a great site for finding rental homes.
Even if you are visiting a big city, you can find non-hotel options through a website like airbnb or BnBfinder. Your family can all stay together. You won’t be in separate hotel rooms. You can cook your own food because you will have a kitchen. That makes it easier to eat healthy while on the go and save money by not going out for every meal.
Find Age Appropriate and Enriching Activities
No matter where you travel, you can find things that your kids will love. With each new experience, your child learns new things and broadens his world view. Make the most of a vacation with activities that your child will love. If you have a little daredevil, go rock climbing at a climbing gym. If you have a little musician, find a concert or performance to attend. If your child has been fascinated by studying the Revolutionary War in school this year, why not plan a trip to some Revolutionary War historical sites? Take what your kids are interested in and expand on it!
If you do want a little kid-free time, many resorts, hotels and cruise ships have childcare centers or baby sitters that can be booked ahead of time.
You’ve got the tips. You’re ready to go. Plan your perfect vacation with kids and make some memories that will last a lifetime. Travel with your family as much as possible, even if it is just a short road trip near your home. Get out and see the world with your family!
If the vacation you are planning is a road trip, check out 10 Tips for a Toddler Friendly Road Trip.
This is a sponsored conversation written by us on behalf of Disney. The opinions and text are all ours.
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Elena is the managing editor for Daily Mom. She enjoys traveling, spending time with her daughter, running several businesses, working on Daily Mom, playing volleyball, going to the gym, photographing and reading. You can contact her via email.