Family Trips: How We Do Low-Key Travel with Kids

Getting ready to travel with your kids this year? See how you can have less stress and more fun with your next family vacation!

How to Low Key Travel with Kids

Travel with kids is an interesting experience.

If you’re a parent I think you understand that dichotomy of those magical moments where you feel like you’re connecting with your kids, seeing something incredible for the first time together, or they’ve discovered something and it gives you a fresh perspective on something you may have looked over.

And then there’s the car fights, cranky and exhausted airport, and schedule overload.

I want to share five ways you can have more fun and less stress on your next family vacation!

How Fill Your Family Trip with Fun

Let’s start of with planning out your trip because it’s so easy to go over budget and overschedule when you’re trying to keep everyone happy.

I recently had the pleasure of chatting with Everyday Bucket List author Karen Cordaway about how families can have more meaningful and fun experiences. In her book, she has a ton of ideas and systems that you can use and one of my favorties is step seven about how to FILL Your time with fun.

Karen offers a way to plan your trips so you’re still having and enjoying unique experiences and keeping to your financial goals.


What’s better than free?

Obviously going for some free options definitely helps with the vacation budget, but something else to consider is the example we set with our kids. I think it’s wonderful to show them that you don’t always have to spend money to do something fun.

Besides the usual parks and beach options, you may be surprised to see that are some wonderful ways to hang out together. Check out to see if local museums have free days or tours.

Depending on where you are, walking tour of historical areas or exploring architecture can be fun. While I was in a conference for work in Chicago, my husband Rob did a self guided tour with our firstborn checking out the location inspirations for the Dark Knight movies.


You’ve seen those lists online, 10 things to do when you’re at___, 72 hours in___, and so on.

While those lists can sometimes include tourist traps or crazy-expensive options, there are usually a gem or two in there that may grab your attention.

This is more of personal preference, which I think makes it a more meaningful trip. You could for example do a half day tour of consignment shops or local zoo.

Our oldest is a huge fan of red pandas so whenever we’re in Asheville, we take her to the Western North Carolina Nature Center.


Here’s where you really need to talk to a local or friends who have been there. What special festivals or features do they have in town?

Recently we went to Burnsville, NC in the fall to enjoy the changing of the leaves. There’s something amazing about being in the mountains where you can see waves of autumn colors.

It’s a really popular thing and yes, it was busy. We had originally planned to be at Mt Mitchel on Saturday, but it was full even before lunch. (We went the next day.)

Another feature of the town is it has a Dark Sky Observatory. Not having the light pollution of a big city meant you can get incredible views of the stars.

Heads up, tickets go fast, which found out the hard way. Thankfully we had an AirBnb near there and brought our telescope. An amazing evening for us and the kids.


Everyone is different, but one of my favorite things to do when scouting is see if there are any local spots that have cheap deals on certain days.

This includes food. We’ve found that that happy hour of 4-6pm can be a sweet spot for deals. We grab a bite with the kids and head out for a little more exploring.

Don’t Overload Your Schedule

As for planning, my final tip would be avoid over-scheduling your itinerary, and let everyone choose an activity.

If you’re doing a long weekend or day trip, pare it down.

Double Up with Your Family Trip

Finally, another way to enjoy our family trips more is by sharing a space with friends.

  • Sharing costs, you can reduce your costs significantly.
  • Depending on their age, kids can hangout and entertain themselves for a bit for those times you want to relax.

Now something you want to talk about with the other family is what activities you want to do together and which ones you’ll split up.

Having a clear idea of what to expect makes it easier for you to schedule.

Your Family Travel Plans

As you can see, there are some fantastic ways you can spend time together as a family on your vacation. I hope these help you have a memorable and meaningful time as family.

I'd love to hear from you! What trips are planning this year?

Photo Credit: Tatiana Syrikova

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