Family travel is fun and exciting but also can be stressful. With some planning and the help of these practical tips, you’ll be able to stay organized and be more relaxed.
Family travel is something I love to do. Exploring different cultures broadens our minds and can enrich you in so many ways. With my husband we have taken our kids countless times to Chile, Peru, and Mexico. A couple of years ago we even traveled to London and Israel, and still managed to keep our sanity. I’ve learned to streamline packing, what to pack onboard for long flights, how to keep kids entertained and how to find everybody’s stuff easily.
The thing is, you always learn something new. The travel pros from Adventures by Disney recently shared their top tips to keep you organized and stress-free. Click through to learn the top tips for stress-free family travel.
Top Tips for Stress-Free Family Travel 1 of 12
Travel like a pro, have more fun and less stress with these tips so you can enjoy your next family trip.
Take extra copies of your important documents 2 of 12
Before leaving, make copies of your family's passports and itineraries and put away in a different bag than were you will be storing the originals. It also helps to have a picture on your smartphone, but a hard copy will give you peace of mind and might come in handy in case of an emergency. It is also useful to have a copy of your child's birth certificate.
Better safe than sorry 3 of 12
Pack medications that might be hard to find in case you or your kids get sick. The Adventures by Disney Team recommends asking your doctor for an antibiotic prescription for "travelers tummy". When traveling with babies and young kids, my tip is to take ear drops. They were a lifesaver more than once when my kids were toddlers.
Don’t be caught with a dead battery 4 of 12
Smartphones are great because they do so much. However, that means battery life usually is shorter than we need it to be. The Adventures by Disney team recommend always having a cell phone battery extender. There are even special cases that double up as an extra charger.
Remember data roaming is expensive 5 of 12
Turn your smartphone's data off if you are traveling overseas. You can always wait to connect via WiFi to avoid costly roaming charges that can easily add up. This also applies to cruises to the Caribbean. If you need to stay connected, make sure to call your wireless provider before you travel and add an international data plan for the days you will be away.
Never leave valuables behind again 6 of 12
When you are fighting jetlag plus multitasking to keep your family organized, sometimes it becomes too easy to forget what you had put in your hotel safe. One great tip from the Adventures by Disney team is to put one of your favorite shoes in the safe every night. They say "you will never leave your valuable behind when checking out of a hotel."
Prepare a plane-friendly kids pack 7 of 12
Take non-perishable snacks and toys or activity books to keep each child entertained. Also consider taking some lollipops, chewing gum or gummy bears to give to your kids during takeoff and landing to help them avoid ear discomfort. Remember that you won't be able to rely on electronics during takeoff and landing, so make sure to have cards, stickers, coloring books or even puzzles to distract your kid. I love Crayola's Color Wonder line, since it doesn't stain clothing.
Take lots of zippered plastic bags 8 of 12
Plastic bags that can be sealed (such as ziplocs) can come extremely handy. Not only can you use them to dispose of trash and soiled diapers, but they can also help "waterproof" your camera or phone. You can also use them to store wet items, to make an emergency ice pack when you're on the go or to separate currency while visiting different countries. Always keep at least one plastic bag inside your purse or handbag.
Keep an extra change of clothes with you 9 of 12
Luggage does get lost sometimes or flights get delayed. How can you avoid stressing out about something you cannot control? By packing a set of extra clothes and underwear for each family member in your carryon. Friendly reminder: you should always take with you any medications you or your kids need on a regular basis, contact lenses, a small pack of disposable wipes and a spare toothbrush. You never know when they will come in handy!
Take a piece of home with you 10 of 12
Although most children are very adaptable, many can become irritable when faced with strange new places. Take something from home to help them comfort them during the trip. It can be a small stuffed animal, a blankie or a favorite toy. Just make sure to not lose it or your child will be miserable. Also, consider taking a small night light in case your child is scared of the dark.
Stay healthy 11 of 12
Getting sick is the last thing you want to do when traveling with your kids. Frequent hand washing is still the number one way to prevent illness. In a pinch, hand sanitizer works, but soap and water are the best option whenever possible. To avoid stomach viruses, avoid raw and unpeeled vegetable and fruits in places where you are unsure about food safety. Also, when traveling in the midst of summer, avoid any food that has creamy sauces or mayonnaise.
Sign your kids up for frequent traveler accounts 12 of 12
Even if you only travel once in a blue moon, miles add up over the years. As soon as you know you will be taking your child on a trip, sign him or her up for the airline's frequent flier program. Both my kids have had their Aadvantage numbers since they were a few months old. It's free, so it's a win win!
Do you have any tips for stress-free family travel? Please share!
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