My Top Five Family Travel Tips + Giveaway

This month I’ve teamed up with a group of fantastic family travel bloggers to share our top five family travel tips as part of a blog hop. You are in for a treat because not only are you going to get advice from some very experienced family travelers when you hop from blog to blog and read their expert advice, but you’ll also have a chance to win a great family travel prize package to keep kids entertained on the road.

But first, here are my tips.

My Top Five Family Travel Tips

1. Plan Ahead — I know some people like to just play it by ear but my experience shows that a little planning goes a long, long way. Knowing when things are open prevents disappointments. Booking in advance helps secure early bird pricing or the widest selection of options. Reading blogs helps you get tips from other travelers. Mapping things out means you won’t be walking from one part of town to another and back, tiring out little legs. Researching restaurants helps avoid the “Where do you want to eats” and makes sure you’ll have an option that suits your family. Planning takes time, but I’d rather do it at home then try to work it all out while poring over my phone on a street corner with a whining, tired, hungry kid clinging to me.

My Top 5 Family Travel Tips

2. Prepare Kids in Advance — Your kids will get a lot more out of the trip if you involve them with the planning and prepare them in advance for what they will see. It helps to flip through guide books together, look at pictures, and talk about the sites you will see. After everyone has had a chance to learn about our destination, we usually ask everyone their “must dos” and “want to dos” so that we can come up with an itinerary that has something for everyone. A trip to the library will turn up some books about the area you will visit or fiction books set in your planned destination. For young kids, books like The Magic Tree House Series, Dear America, or the National Park Mysteries are helpful for providing a bit of background or history. For more ideas, see my post on Preparing for Vacation with Kids and 10 Tips for Taking Kids to Europe.

My Top 5 Family Travel Tips

3. Schedule Downtime — Nothing ruins a family trip faster than overtired kids (or grown ups). When you are on a trip it is so tempting to want to see everything. Trust me, I’ve had to swallow back many disappointments on things we didn’t get to do or see, but you need to listen to your family and not push too hard. Plan museums or “harder” attractions for early in the day when everyone is fresh. Save something on their list for the afternoon to keep them motivated. And don’t underestimate the power of play. Everyone can enjoy a stop at a park or playground and just relaxing for a while. I truly believe that one trick to raising a good traveler is building a foundation of successful experiences to shape kids that are open to new adventures. If they think back to that time they went to New York City and were miserable, they are going to be less excited about going to Washington D.C. (for example, we loved both.) Plus, if you don’t listen to your kids, they’ll end up like this by dinnertime.

My Top 5 Family travel tips

4. Spring for Extra Space — Some people may disagree, but I think it is worth spending a little extra on some extra space. I’ve spent many a night sitting in a hotel bathroom waiting for my daughter to go to sleep or trying to read or work by the light of my glowing screen while she sleeps in the bed just a couple of feet away. We make it work, especially for short trips were we won’t be spending a lot of time at the hotel. But for longer trips, especially trips where we will be spending a lot of time touring and want to relax at the end of the day, we prefer to rent an apartment or vacation home using Home Away or Airbnb. Many times, it is actually cheaper than a hotel, but with so much more space! Not only do we get multiple bedrooms plus a lounge, but we also get a full kitchen and sometimes even laundry facilities (so we can pack less!)

I find eating out three meals a day so tiring. You have to figure out where to go, find something everyone wants to eat, wait (and wait) for the food to come…it takes time, energy and a lot of money. It is so much easier to stock the kitchen with breakfast basics, snacks and drinks and whip up a fast breakfast on our own schedule before we head out for the day. And at the end of the day is nice to have some snacks and drinks on hand while we are relaxing and preparing for dinner. Check out my post for tips on using Airbnb or

Family travel tips: renting an apartment on AIrbnb or Homeaway

The view from our apartment rental in Positano

5. Be Prepared — This is pretty much a no-brainer for most parents that are used to toting around a bag or tricks, but when you are on the road, especially if you are overseas, it isn’t always as easy to find what you might need so it is best to bring it along. I’ve written about ideas for what to bring on an airplanewhat to pack in your day bag (don’t forget the snacks!), and what to pack for a road trip. Another suggestion I’d make is to bring along an emergency kit with bandaids, pain reliever, antibiotic cream, saline mist, cold medicine, a thermometer, and, of course, plenty of sanitizer!

These days another good way to be prepared is to load up your smartphone with apps that you might need for road trips, international travel, finding a restaurant, or city specific apps. Take pictures of your passports and other documents and store them in the Cloud using apps like Google Drive, Evernote or iCloud. Save your itinerary with confirmation numbers and other necessary information on your phone and in the Cloud (in case you lose your phone.) Call your credit card company in advance to make sure they know you are traveling and don’t flag your card for possible fraud (and while you’re at it, bring a back up card tucked away somewhere besides your wallet.)

There are lots of ways to be prepared. Another is to bring along some family entertainment and we have a family travel prize package to help with that.

Family Travel Prize Package

Top 5 Family Travel Tips from Family Travel Bloggers. Join in on a blog hop and get advice from family travel experts plus a chance to win a family travel prize package with a Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet.

The family travel prize package includes a Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition tablet, Knomo Saxby 15” messenger bag, and a $25 Amazon gift card. The Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition tablet ($150 retail value) is a Kindle Fire HD 6 or 7 tablet, with one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited with access to 5,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps and games, and a durable kid-proof case. The Kindle will fit easily in the Knomo Saxby 15” messenger bag in Army, which accommodates up to a 15” laptop with plenty of room to spare. Made from highly durable waxed coated canvas, Saxby is water resistant and offers elastic and zipped compartments for all your belongings ($199 retail value.)

How it Works

To enter to win, just enter your contact information in the widget below and leave a comment on this post with your best family travel tip, or the tip that was the most useful for your family. You can get additional entries by commenting on the other posts in the blog hop, or by following these bloggers on Pinterest.

The Rules

  1. You must leave at least one comment on one of the participating blogs to enter. Additional entries via commenting on other blogs in the hop are available to you.
  2. You will receive additional entries via “following” the other bloggers in the hop on Pinterest.
  3. This means each person is eligible for 14 entries (because there are 7 participating bloggers, with two ways to enter to win each.)
  5. The giveaway runs through May 11, 2015 11:59 p.m. EDT.
  6. The winner will be selected at random and notified via email.

Don’t forget to visit these blogs for more great tips:


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Top 5 Family Travel Tips from Family Travel Bloggers. Join in on a blog hop and get advice from family travel experts plus a chance to win a family travel prize package with a Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet.What tip would you share?

194 Comments on “My Top Five Family Travel Tips + Giveaway

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  1. Awesome tips! While you don’t necessarily need to plan everything, researching and planning some things in advance is a great way to ensure you and your family get to experience all the things you want to. Thanks for sharing!

    My best tip is to bring plenty of snacks, and things to keep the kids occupied. Those are often key to avoiding meltdowns!

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