Some people like to have everything planned out when they travel, while others prefer to go with the flow. Whichever type you are, traveling with kids is a whole different ball game, which is why we suggest finding a nice middle ground. These are a few of the best ways to find that sweet spot - the balance between planning and letting go that will lower your stress and increase the fun for everyone.
If you’re a Type A planner, feel free to nail down as many details as you want. However, all parents should plan at least these top details with careful consideration.
Location and Accommodations: Some trips are obviously family-friendly, such as a beach resort or theme park, but that doesn’t mean your family travel days are limited to characters and roller coasters. Other family-friendly destinations might include cities that are full of culture and history, or national parks to explore the outdoors.
Instead of dealing with long flights and a time-consuming road trip, you may want to consider staying near home and taking your vacation in the LA area. As Turnkey explains, there’s something in LA for everyone, whether you want to hit the beaches and pier of Santa Monica, visit Paramount Studios, or take a hike in Griffith Park.
As the travel experts at REI explain, the most important thing when planning accommodations is to consider your family’s needs. If you’re visiting a big city, you may want a hotel that has plenty of amenities, like cribs and high chairs for little ones or a pool and recreation center for bigger kids. If you’re going for any length of time, you may want to consider renting a place instead so that everyone has space to settle in and enjoy their home away from home.
Securing Your Home: Getting these travel details nailed down is essential for a successful family trip, but part of your planning should also include making sure your home will be secure while you’re gone. Kids feed off of a grownup’s stress, so if you’re worried about your house or pets, your kids will sense that nervousness. We suggest looking into having a home security system installed so that your home is one less thing to worry about. With a quick online search, it’s easy to find the best home security companies in LA.
Ban Boredom On the Road (Or in the Air)
For kids of all ages, getting to your destination is likely the most stressful part, especially if you don’t have a plan. Perhaps the number one travel rule with kids is to always allow plenty of time, whether that means getting to the airport extra early or planning on making extra stops on a road trip.
Along with having plenty of time built into your schedule, the other main thing to plan is how to keep kids entertained. At times, this will mean taking along a kid-friendly tablet so they can stream music, movies, and games. We also recommend getting creative with other travel activities so you don’t have to rely on screen time entirely. KiwiCo has some fun activity ideas for young children, including a DIY Tic Tac Toe set and a dry erase travel book.
Make the Most of Every Moment
When it comes to planning activities at your destination, balance is the name of the game here, too. To find this balance, research your options ahead of time and pick wisely based on your children’s ages and interests. Consider setting a rough itinerary with a few bucket list activities at the top, but schedule plenty of downtime, too. One way to make the trip even more special is to surprise kids with a travel gift they can use, like binoculars if you’ll be spending time in nature or a camera so they can take their own pictures.
The best thing about family travel is that it gives kids the chance to have all kinds of new experiences. We know that traveling with kids can be stressful, too. Thankfully, with the right amount of planning (and a willingness to let things go!), there’s no reason not to hit the road and start making memories.
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