Essential Travel Tips for Parents with Young Kids

Traveling as a family can be a fantastic way to connect and experience new things together. We're sharing travel tips and hacks that parents can use to make things less stressful and still snag a great deal on your next family trip!

Taking a Trip with Children

Are you guys planning to travel this season? We are. 

These past few years, we’ve developed a rhythm where we travel to catch the changing of the leaves. 

With the girls now 11 and 7, trips are much more fun. We get to have some great conversations in the car. We explore new places to eat or hike together. My kids have gotten good at recording pictures and videos of our trips. 

Now rewind a few years, and things felt different. We still enjoyed traveling when they were babies and toddlers – I got the pics to prove it – but it was a little challenging.

Vacations were a bit of work at that stage, and maybe you feel the same. The good news is that different tricks can make family vacations more enjoyable. 

We’re about to enter a busy travel season, so today, I want to help you save money and have fun together as a family. 

In this episode, we’ll get into:

  • Travel tips if you have young kids to make it less stressful
  • Snagging last-minute deals
  • Some ideas on affordable and fun family trips this season

Alright, let’s get started! 

Resources for Affordable Family Vacations

Looking for ways to save on your next family getaway? Here are some fantastic resources to check out:

If you want to chat more about creating better money habits, questions, or share your own tips, please join us at Thriving Families on Facebook.

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Travel Hacks for Parents

Traveling with young kids can be rewarding, fulfilling, and at the same time, tiring. You want to enjoy the trip, but for some kids, it’s a tough experience. 

If you’re visiting friends and family you may also have to deal with so many people wanting to hang with you and it may not be realistic; at least at this stage. 

However, there are ways you can relieve a bit of the stress and make the trip easier on all of you.  

  • Time your trips. 
  • Build travel into the routine. Day trips and weekend outings can be a way to unwind and start getting your kids into the habit of travel. 
  • Snack wisely. Go for snacks high in protein instead of sugary ones. Water is also a go-to drink of ours. If you’re flying, give them something for when the plane takes off. 
  • Pack the essentials for travel. Besides snacks, make sure you have sanitizer, wipes, pull-ups, and diapers.
  • Bring a book. Whether it’s coloring, activity, sketching, or one to read, books are an easy way to occupy their minds and make the trip seem shorter. 
  • Games are fantastic for car rides. 
  • Take a break by a playground. Depending on the length of the trip, you may find that grabbing lunch at a local playground or park can help your kids to get some energy out while you rest up a bit. 
  • Grab an app. GeoTouch can help kids keep tabs on the trip and learn about the area. 
  • Bring one (small) comfort item. Kids like to have some consistency, so a stuffed animal or blanket can help them adjust and be a handy pillow. 
  • Consider an AirBnb.
  • Have them come to you. A small but important help when traveling to see family and friends is not driving everywhere in town to see everyone. It’s exhausting for you and a recipe for disaster with the kids. Instead, create a simple plan for when people can meet up with you. 

Snag a Deal on Your Last Minute Trips

Last-minute travel doesn’t have to mean breaking your budget. Depending on where you going and the time of year, you may be able to find a deal still. You can improve your chances by trying out some of these tips! 

Shop around with your travel

Just like your regular bills, comparing prices can help you save a significant amount of money.

Use Flight Trackers to Watch Fares Drop

If you’re planning on flying for your trip, go ahead now and start tracking prices. 

  • Google Flights: You get alerts sent to your inbox so you quickly see how the prices are moving. 
  • Hopper: If you like to double-check the deals on flights, Hopper is great. The app analyzes tons of flight prices and can suggest when it's an excellent time to purchase a ticket.
  • AirefareWatchdog
  • Yep, there’s actually a site named that. 

Time Your Trips to Leave Mid-Week

Most of us schedule our trips on weekends or Mondays, but if you’re willing to go against the grain, you may be able to get a great deal on flights. 

Live and Eat Like a Local

Skip the touristy parts of town and find those hole-in-the-wall spots that are local favorites. 

Travel Hacking to Save

If you are a family who loves to travel far and wide, something you may want to look into is traveling hacking. 

I have a few shows on the ins and outs of how it works, which I’ll include in the show notes. 

You can use tools and resources like Travel Freely, which pulls in the best deals and bonuses cards are offering. 

Better with a Bundle

Surprisingly you may find that you can get a great deal last minute with a travel bundle.

Easy, Fun, (and Affordable) Family Trips for the Fall

I mentioned earlier in the episode, one thing that you can do is make your future family trips more enjoyable is getting your kids into the habit with travel and you can do a lot of easy, fun and affordable family trips near you.

  • National and State Park Getaways
  • Zoo and Animal Parks
  • Camping

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