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1st Choice Vacation PropertiesSaturday, January 19, 2013

Seven Tips for Traveling with Children
(and Keeping Your Sanity!)

Traveling with children on vacation can be one of the most rewarding, memory-building family activities you will ever undertake. Or it can drive you insane! Below are seven author-tested and time-honored travel tips to help make traveling with children a truly special, and memorable experience.

1. Is junior a fickle eater at home? Even if he isn’t, don’t plan on him eating airline snacks. Pack his favorite treats for in-flight entertainment and distraction. Chewy fruit snacks, or gum if he’s old enough, are helpful at takeoff and landing to keep his ears in equilibrium and comfort. On our last family vacation to Hawaii we packed baby-bottles, bottled water (with sport caps), fruit rollups, and jerky (ok, the last item was for the big kid, me).

2. Book your air travel at non-peak times. This offers two distinct advantages. First, you won’t have to fight crowds and long lines at security with children, luggage and teddy bears in tow. And second, because the plane is less likely to be full, you’ll be able to spread out into vacant seats. During a recent vacation, we departed very, very early in the morning, and our 13 month old slept through most of the five-hour flight sprawled across two vacant seats.

3. Consider renting a home or condominium instead of staying in a hotel. Beyond saving money, this type of accommodation, with separate bedrooms and kitchen facilities, more closely resembles your home atmosphere and can help reduce travel stress on both children and parents. Our Hawaiian vacation condominium had two bedrooms, so our little guy didn’t miss his regularly scheduled naps while mom and dad enjoyed the tropical breeze from the lanai.

4. Sufficient praise can never be given to baby wipes. They clean dirty hands, dirty faces, remove ice cream from shirts, and much more. Basically, they’re almost as useful as duct tape. Regardless of the age of your children, make sure you include wipes in your travel bags, and keep them close at hand when out and about. We’re fond of the ones that come in slender re-sealable, plastic bags or pouches.

5. Are you hesitant to turn over your brand new 8 mega pixel digital camera to junior so he can shoot photos like dad? Consider buying disposable cameras for the kids. Last summer, during a family vacation to a resort community, we gave our daughter and niece cameras so they could record their favorite memories. If you’ll be spending time beach-side or at water parks, consider spending a little more money and upgrading to water proof cameras. It is well worth the modest cost, and your children will love it.

6. If you are renting a home or condominium during your vacation, you can make it a little more home-like by stocking up on some basic supplies like bottled water and soda, and keeping easy to prepare snacks or meals on hand. During our last trip to Maui, our first stop after renting a car was Costco. Having snacks, light meals and beverages in our condo made the trip more enjoyable for the entire family, and we ended up saving money.

7. This final tip is probably the most important one I can give you. In case your child wanders off, make sure you have a recent photo of him in your wallet. Also, write a note and safety pin it into his pocket. The note should read “I’m lost, please call my parents” and include your cell phone number, and the address of where you are staying. Talk with your children about the importance of not wandering off, and about who is safe to approach if your child becomes lost. An excellent online resource for safety information is www.lostchildren.org.

Have a great vacation!

Scott - 1st Choice Travel Expert

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