Traveling with children has brought many of our favorite family vacation memories. Pair those wonderful memories with the many we have of feeling unprepared while traveling with children. Sometimes those make for the best memories too but with so much 2017 travel planned, our family goal is to tackle all we can to be prepared when traveling with our children so we have plenty of opportunities to enjoy every moment away.
DON’T: Plan activities for everyday.
DO: Plan half day activities or purchase tickets with flexibility.
You never know when your sweet toddler is going to show off their best behavior with smiles and “thank you” or throw you a major curve ball and refuse to participate in any of your planned activities for the day. Sometimes a couple of hours at the resort playground is just what your children need most. In addition to the awesome pools, the activity centers and playgrounds offer activities for your children to run and play.
DON’T: Avoid the beach in the winter.
DO: Explore even when it doesn’t feel seasonally appropriate.
We visit Southern California frequently and Carlsbad is our very favorite beach town to visit. Wind advisories and cooler temperatures do not deter us from an afternoon on the beach because our daughters love to feel the cool sand under their feet. Just last weekend, we spent the entire day on the beach watching our seven year old daughter do cartwheels in the water.
DON’T: Over pack with toys from home.
DO: Bring a favorite car activity and stuffed toy for sleeping.
Children appreciate familiarity at bedtime so our toddler’s “horsie” goes everywhere with us. But even the most careful family can accidentally leave loved toys behind. Instead of coloring books and a case full of crayons, place a notebook and colored pencils in their backpack instead. When your children are asking for an activity during a long car ride, ask them to write about or draw pictures of their favorite stops of the trip. Keep their travel journals to revisit memories as they grow.
DON’T: Spend your full vacation budget on dining out every meal.
DO: Find a local grocery store and purchase items to make a few meals during your stay.
While it’s not always an option, most of our stays at ResorTime properties have included rooms with a full kitchen and refrigerator. Our first stop upon arrival is a nearby grocery store. Save time and create the grocery list before your trip to avoid overspending on unnecessary snacks. When planning more than just a few days away we incorporate a few nights dining out, some nights in and always leave wiggle room for your schedule. That time we stumbled on the Annual Italian Festival in San Diego’s Little Italy – that was not part of our planned dining schedule. And if you’re traveling to Hawaii, make sure your dining budget incorporates more than one stop at Jo Jo’s Shaved Ice.
DON’T: Pack your luggage completely full.
DO: Leave extra room for souvenirs or bring an empty bag to bring home your purchases.
With the rising cost of overweight luggage on airlines, it’s best to check an extra bag and avoid the overage. This month my suitcase weighed 57 pounds which is just 7 over the airline limit. The fee to check the 57 pound bag was $100 but the fee to add another bag was just $25. It might just be a new sweatshirt but when traveling with children you can count on coming home with something extra.
DON’T: Forget chargers or memory cards.
DO: Preload your digital camera with a high capacity memory card.
Moswt importantly, enjoy the time you have with your children because they are only little once. Don’t hesitate to take an excessive amount of photos on family vacations. After all, you never know how many times you’ll try to get that perfect Santa photo!