Friday, May 25, 2012

Tips for Traveling with Young Children!

Summer is here...and it's time to start thinking about your next Summer Vacation! If you have children, then you are no doubt looking for some family-friendly places that will not only be fun for you, but ideal for entertaining the kiddies! Before you go away, I wanted to offer some helpful and useful tips that have helped me so much. Planning and preparation is key, so that you can enjoy as close to a "hassle-free" vacation as you can for you and your little ones. Here are my Top Tips for Traveling with Young Children!

  • Drive to your favorite destination. So many great vacation destinations are within 1-2 hours away from you home, while others are 3-5 hours, such as Vermont, New York and Montreal, Canada. I have friends who make the 8 hour drive to Washington, DC each year, or some crazier (haha!) friends who plan cross-country family vacations to Yosemite National Park or the Grand Canyon in a big RV or Winnebago.  
  • Driving is not only budget-concious, but convenient. You have the freedom to come and go as you please and you can pack your car to the rim with all of your luggage, baby gear, food and supplies. It's a great feeling to have all of your belongings at your finger tips. (Just be sure to lock all of your luggage and valuables in the trunk when parking, as to not attract thieves.)
  • Day Trips are great fun! And, they are a quick and inexpensive way to get out of town for the day.
  • Fly Non-Stop to your destination. Fly direct whenever will save your sanity! 
  • Try to book seats close to the bathroom to avoid long trips to the bathroom. 
  • Pack your carry-on bags with some of your child's favorite toys, a mini DVD player, snacks, bottles of milk or formula, extra diapers, baby pain reliever, and anything else you can think of to keep your little guy/gal entertained!
  • Get through security faster. Most TSA agents will let families with young children move to the front of the security about VIP Service! 
  • Once you are at the gate, families often can board ahead of the other passengers as well. So, be sure to take advantage of these great perks while you can! 
  • Also, they typically don't charge you to check your car seat and/or strollers at the gate, which is a good plus.
  • Book a Rental Car when traveling to another city. That way you will be in control of where and when you go, and you can secure your child safely in the car. With young children, it would be very tricky or even unsafe to travel in a taxi cab, as you can't properly secure your car seat.
  • Reserve car seats and/or booster seats for your rental car. That way, you don't have to lug your heavy car or booster seats with you. (If you have an infant, then you will most likely carry her in the remember to pack the base as well.)
  • Check AAAOrbitzHertzExpedia or your favorite travel site for the best rental car deals.

  • Always Do Your Research to find a family-friendly hotel or resort. You don't want to travel all the way to your vacation, only to find out it's an "adults only" hotel (which many boutique hotels are these days), or there are no amenities for children. 
  • Reserve a crib or pack 'n' play for your baby, cots or rollaway beds for your young children, at the time of your booking. And, always follow up with a phone call a few days before you arrive, to be sure it will be in your room when you arrive. 
  • Find out if there are any Kids Eat Free or other specials for the children's meals.
  • See if there are Kids Clubs or babysitting services at your hotel or resort, if you are interested.
  • Check ExpediaOrbitzTripAdvisor or your favorite travel sites for the best recommendations for family-friendly hotels.
  • I have always enjoyed renting a cottage or condo when on vacation. That way, you have privacy, more space and freedom on your vacation. And, it is usually quite a bit cheaper than staying at a resort or hotel. We've rented cottages in Cape Cod, Florida, Maine and even an apartment in Amsterdam...just do your homework, rent from an owner that you trust, read reviews and read the contracts very carefully before signing and paying your deposit.
  • Cottages are wonderful, as you have all the amenities of home, you can cook your own meals, have a porch or yard, walk to the beach, or even your own hot tub or swimming pool. 
  • You will have multiple bedrooms, so you, the kids, grandparents or friends can all vacation together.
  • Save money by cooking at home, BBQing or having a lobster boil in your own backyard. Buying your own groceries, alcohol and other snacks to eat at your leisure is so convenient.
  • Visit VRBOHomeAway or any other popular vacation rental sites to book your vacation. Be sure the condo or cottage allows children and/or pets, if bringing along the family dog. 

Most of all, no matter where you go...near or far...just remember to enjoy this special time with your family on your vacation! Just spending time together is is the most important thing...time is precious, enjoy every moment...and have a wonderful time! Here are some of our most recent, and most successful vacations!

Bon Voyage!
Mel :)

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