9 ways to make your family vacation stressfree.
Traveling with your children can be a wonderful and enriching experience, for you and the kids. Or it can into an expensive nightmare. We recently travelled to Europe with two kids under 8. Find out the top tips to surviving, thriving and saving when traveling with young children!
BYO snacks, meals & entertainment on flights
You need to be prepared for thirst, hunger, and boredom on flights, no matter how long it is! Always take 2-3 empty drink bottles and fill them up once you past thought security. Make sure you also pack dry snacks or liquids that are under the required 100ml (things like yogurt sticks). Some good dry items include savory biscuits, dried fruit, nuts or premade rolls. Security usually allows smaller ice packs to keep the dairy cool. Also pack spare underwear, clothing and a big pack of wipes!
Try to only hand out the toy, one at a time. Also ensure the iPad is well charged and stocked with games, appropriate TV shows and movies (don’t forget the headphones!)
Weight up staying in apartments, hotels or homes
Hotel and Apartment both have pros and cons. Hotels are usually closer to the sights of the city, so this means less moving around. However, you usually have less space, nowhere to prepare food or relax.
An apartment does let you have a bit of normalcy. You can cook dinner and do the washing with ease. To really cut down on costs, try house sitting, they were some options right in the city. These locations gave us a sense of community and central location. Reducing this cost also allowed us to stay longer in some places. This meant we weren’t rushing around from sight to sight and really got to enjoy the city.
Really think about your locations
Try to pick cities that have lots of activities within walking distance of your hotel of accommodation. The last thing you want to do after flying is to spend more time in taxis, trains or buses. Plus, you don’t need to worry about spending money on tickets. It can also help tire out the children, to ensure they adapt to the local time.
Eat like a king in the Mornings
Some say, eat like a king in the morning, queen for lunch and pauper for dinner. This is true when traveling. Try to opt for a hotel that includes breakfast or pop down to the local bakery and find some hearty and filling. Starting the day with good food will ensure that energy levels are up. It will also help reduce the costs of buying food while in touristic locations (which we can add up really quick!)
See when the free days are
Many tourist sites and museums offer free or discounted days. This is great if you have small children, the last thing you want is to spend on tickets to only last in the place 45 minutes. It relieves the pressure from you and the children.
Fly during the day
This works well if your children are active on the plane. If you can keep them entertained or stimulated the entire time, they will most likely be tired when you arrive. This means once you reach our destination for the evening, you are able to go straight to bed. This can help everyone in the family get over the jet lag quicker.
Invest in a travel stroller
If your children are strong walkers don’t worry about this. However, it can be a lifesaver if not. We thought our 4-year-old was done with strollers, but you need to remember, you might be walking miles and miles each day. Not only that, the children may be battling jet lag as well as being overwhelmed with the new environment. If you don’t want to deal with flying with it, just do yourself a favor and pick up a cheap one when you arrive.
You should try to pack lots of; lightweight tees, shorts, dresses, and pants. Light is best because you can wash them and have them dry overnight in the hotel. Also, pick up some detergent when you arrive. It’s easy to wash clothes in the hotel bathroom sink and it’s much better than lugging around 20kgs of clothes for each person!
Even if you are traveling in summer, pack a pair of closed-toed shoes along with a pair of sandals. Pick up anything else you need as you go. Always make sure you include a medical kit, its perfect for blisters, cut, scrapes. Make sure you include pain relief, antiseptic, band-aids, mosquito repellent and itchy cream in case of bites.
Make sure you leave the fancy shoes, clothing, and jewelry at home. The last thing you want is to lose it, have it broken in transit or ruined in a laundromat. This also makes it easier to dispose of things you don’t really need as you go. If it means less to you or was cheap, you will be less than likely to keep lugging it around and just bin it.
Talk to the locals
Try getting insider tips from locals. Good advice can go a long way. A good few questions to ask are; what is your favorite bakery? Where is your favorite park? What are your favorite sights here?
With just a bit of planning, you can reduce the stress of traveling with your children. Not only that it will help to also bring down your expenses! This may allow you to travel for longer and let you and your family experience the world together!