By the time he was 3 months old, my youngest son had traveled to 5 states and had been to another country. My 2-year-old has been to an additional 5 states in his short lifetime. While that amount of travel is certainly not typical for the average family with young children, you don’t need to limit your travel possibilities just because your kids are small.
If you’re currently a Sundance Vacations traveler, you’re already getting awesome savings to help put vacationing back in the family budget, but what about the other difficulties that young families face while traveling? We’ve compiled a list of sanity-saving tips to help you travel stress-free with your littlest jet-setters!
Know your vacation buddies
Before you even choose a destination, take a minute to think about your little globetrotters and what would make their travel experience AMAZING! (Trust me, the happier they are, the easier your trip will be.) Is your son an animal-lover? Maybe a trip to the zoo is in order. Does your daughter take a 3-hour nap every afternoon? That would be an awesome time to hop in the car and take a long scenic drive! If your kids are high energy, you won’t want to spend every day visiting a museum; you’ll have a better time at an amusement park. If you’re having trouble choosing the location that is best suited to your family, let our Sundance Vacations travel experts help you plan your dream trip! Keep in mind that you don’t need to limit your traveling to “family friendly” destinations; just make sure your destination is appropriate to your family’s interests. Hiking in a national park can be great fun for the adventurous toddler, and the theater doesn’t need to be off-limits if you are blessed with a quiet baby.
Ask for help
Many airlines, hotels and attractions have policies in place to make families’ travel experiences easier and more memorable. Airlines are often very willing to board families with small children before letting anyone else on the plane. They can also check your car seats and/or strollers to your final destination for free, in most cases! Hotels will often provide cribs for free if you are travelling with a child under 2. Ask restaurant staff to bring out some crayons or a bread basket to keep little ones entertained while you wait for your meals. If there’s something else you need to make your vacation easier, it never hurts to ask!
I cannot stress this enough. A little snack can make a world of difference when everybody starts to get a little cranky, but it’s too early for dinner. You never know where you might be at 3:00 PM, so be prepared. Pack snacks for your kids, pack snacks for yourself, pack snacks for your partner. Maybe even pack snacks for the crabby lady sitting 3 rows in front of you who is (loudly) complaining that your kids are making too much noise.
Don’t worry so much about everyone else
Speaking of that cranky lady sitting near your family, don’t let her ruin your vacation vibes. Many parents spend so much time on vacation stressing over how their children are acting, they forget to enjoy themselves! In my experience, most people love kids and don’t mind them being a little over-excited, if they are being safe and respectful. I’ve seen plenty of adults behave badly while traveling, and they are old enough to know better. You don’t need to follow the trend of passing out earplugs and treat bags on the plane just because you’re traveling with little ones. You don’t owe anyone an apology for being on vacation with your family. Relax, and focus on making sure your kids are having a great time, instead of stressing about the comfort of your fellow travelers. This is your vacation, after all.
Take your time
Don’t rush it. This time with your family is precious, so enjoy every minute. Plan some extra time for each attraction you visit, to allow for accidents and emergencies, but don’t forget to the let little ones take their time to explore. If you find you have some extra time, use it to simply enjoy your family before you rush off to your next activity. Before you know it, your dream vacation will be a beautiful memory, so stay in the moment and make the most of it.