By Leslie Campos
One of the most rewarding parts of being a parent is getting to experience the world through the fresh eyes of your child. Family travel together is a wonderful way to make the most of this.
If you have very young children, you might think travel is “wasted” on them, but this isn’t the case: Even toddlers can benefit from the experience, which will mold them into more flexible and adaptable individuals.
Planning a family trip isn’t easy, however, and you want to make the experience as stress-free and cost-efficient as possible. Follow these tips for success.
Use Travel Alert Websites
If you are going on a trip that requires flying, create a travel alert on a budget website like CheapTickets. You will get notifications delivered to your inbox when cheap prices pop up for your intended destination.
These platforms also let you save money by booking multiple parts of your trip in a single package, such as the flight, hotel, and rental car. If possible, save money by booking air travel for the middle of the week instead of the weekends.
When choosing an airline, flying with a family-friendly carrier can make a big difference in terms of stress for all involved with family travel. Working Mother provides a handy ranking of the best airlines for families. Lufthansa is highlighted for its children’s menus, which have actually been taste-tested by little ones, for example.
Meanwhile, Emirates is renowned for its world-class in-flight entertainment: Kids receive their own activity kit and even get special child-sized headphones so they can easily watch the vast collection of family-friendly movies.
Opt for a Family Travel Road Trip
If the thought of dealing with airport security and flying is too daunting, take the kids on a road trip instead. Make sure you have an age-appropriate car seat for little ones to keep them safe; odds are, your baby will sleep the entire way if they’re comfortable! Just make sure to bring along the diaper bag of usual supplies, such as extra diapers, changing pad, and wet wipes. For older kids, it’s wise to have snacks and drinks on hand.
Before you head off, make sure your cell phone is charged and you know which emergency services numbers to call, such as AAA, if you break down out-of-state. If you do run into trouble, AAA has an auto repair facility locator online.
It’s also wise to make sure your auto insurance is up-to-date and comprehensive. Use this opportunity to look for ways to save. For instance, some providers will give you a discount if you install an anti-theft device in your car or have a clean driving record. Compare rates from a few providers.
Turn to Technology for Affordable Entertainment
Whether you choose to fly or drive, there will be times during your family trip that test your children’s patience. Waiting is part of the travel experience, especially when you are getting there. So, keep kids amused by investing in an affordable tablet you can take on the go. Load it up with some of their favorite movies and television shows, and bring headphones so they can watch wherever, whenever, without disturbing other people in the vicinity. This can also be useful for evening entertainment before bedtime.
With these tips, you should be able to arrange a family-friendly vacation that is fun for kids and parents alike. Your journey can bond you and will create wonderful memories. The benefits of travel go well beyond this, however; it’s even been shown that just a three-day trip will leave people feeling more relaxed and in a better mood for weeks afterward. So even if you can only afford a short getaway, the effort will be well worth it.
Learn how to travel on a budget in one of the most expensive cities in the United States check out Plain Jane Lifestyle’s post on How to Visit San Francisco on a Budget.
A special thanks to Leslie Campos for her article submission. Leslie runs the blog Well Parents where she writes helpful articles on how to stay healthy with a busy family lifestyle. To contact Leslie, email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.