We know for sure that you want to make this family vacation, a tour to remember. But, even after all the planning, you still can’t help but wonder if all will go well. To guarantee that it turns the way you want it, here are some unique family travel hacks that you might incorporate into your planning.
Family vacations are meant to be fun. You’ve planned this for too long to have it spoiled by some little avoidable mistakes.
While traveling with kids can be daunting, there are so many adjustments you can make in your planning that can turn your trip, into the most amazing adventure. Whether you’re traveling by air, rail, or road, these family travel hacks will surely save your day.
They might seem simple, but even the slightest mistake like forgetting to pack some chewing gum can turn rather an amazing moment into total horror.
Best Travel Hacks for Your Next Family Trip
Here is how to make it all work according to plan, check out these amazing family travel hacks:
1. Avoid a Carry-on Bag for Each Person
While it might be tempting to pack each person’s staff in a separate bag, this will just lead to extra baggage. Even worse, it might raise your trip’s entire cost. Instead, try packing the staff based on categories.
For instance, you should put all your clothes in one suitcase, electronic devices in one bag, and things like snacks in another. This will help to minimize the number of carry-ons you travel with, as well as enable you to locate something when you need it.
We recommend using packing cubes to stay efficient in packing your checked luggage and your carry-on bags. Packing cubes are basically handy organizers that you can use to categorize your items and compact them into your suitcase.
See Related: Best Day to Book Flights: Is Tuesday the Cheapest?
2. Choose the Ideal Suitcase
If you are traveling with your family, you need ample space to pack everyone’s staff. A sturdy, spacious suitcase will eliminate a lot of stress when it comes to packing. Look for one that meets all your packing needs, and leaves some room for carrying some souvenirs on your way back.
Some suitcases are more suited for this purpose than others. So, depending on your preferences, make a choice that fulfills your desires. An excellent example of such is the Rockland Fashion Softside Suitcase – you’ll have plenty of room for your staff.
3. Keep Everyone Comfortable
Although you might want to see your kids in their best outfits, this might not be the best time for that – especially on flights or long drives. Ensure that everyone wears their most comfy outfits.
Too warm clothes, tight, or that makes one itchy will be a nuisance for the entire period, no matter how smart they look. They might better be in their loose sweatshirts or even their comfy pajamas.
4. Pre-Plan for During-the-Trip Entertainment
Entertainment for the entire family should be planned for prior to the trip – 48hrs before. This gives you time to ensure everything is in order. You will need to download their favorite games, cartoons, and TV shows. Luckily Netflix has made everything accessible from tablets and mobile devices.
Also, ensure that you fully charge your electronics, to avoid the low-battery menace. An “Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger” would also come in handy for longer drives and off-grid adventures.
Also, remember that travel activities for families should always be pre-planned to ensure you have ultimate fun. You don’t want to spend half a day, every day, trying to figure out what to do for the day.
Check out these airplane activities for kids to ensure they stay busy and occupied during the flight.
See Related: Best Road Trip Books for Kids
5. Opt for a Multipurpose Backpack
This is especially ideal for families traveling with their jumpy young kids. You need to ensure that the kids are always within your reach, especially at busy airports, while still carrying everything you need. A backpack ensures that you have your staff on your back while you still have your two hands, free to hold your kids through the airport traffic.
The right backpack guarantees sufficient packing space, easy time carrying the luggage around, and frees your hands for other things like opening that candy pack for the kids.
So, if you don’t want the hassle of dragging a large suitcase everywhere, include a backpack in your list of things to buy – that is if you don’t already have one.
See Related: Best Websites for Cheap Flights and Hotels
6. Pack Extra Clothes for Everyone
Most often than never, parents get carried away in ensuring that their kids are all comfortable that they forget about themselves.
While you pack spare clothing for your kids, do the same for yourself. Ensure that everyone has enough to keep them fresh and clean for the entire trip.
7. Get a Pair of EarPlanes for Everyone
The abrupt change in cabin pressure during a plane’s take-off and landing can cause quite a discomfort in your ears.
While for adults, it might be bearable, it can become painful and depressing for your kids. That’s why you need a pair of EarPlanes.
These are earplugs that you insert into your ears, to minimize the effect caused by cabin pressure variations. The great thing is that there are both EarPlanes for adults, as well as for small children. This is one family airplane hack that can make the entire flight enjoyable.
See Related: Best Travel Coolers for Vacations
8. Pack Gums or Candy
If you want to cut the cost of buying some earplugs for everyone, gums and candy can also do the trick. Chewing gum or candy during take-off and landing will help balance the cabin pressure and the pressure in your ears, especially if you are traveling with younger children.
Although some adults might blush at the effect, it might be excruciating for the young ones. Therefore, make sure that they are chewing something during these two flight phases for their comfort.
In fact, you’ll be hitting two birds with a single stone – as the kids enjoy the candy, they’ll also be tackling the pressure issue. Grab a bulk pack of chewing gum now to save money and always be in stock.
9. Airports Services Are There for You, Take Advantage
Traveling alone can be stressful, especially when you have several kids with you. It might prove challenging to manage everything while still taking care of the kids.
If you didn’t know, you could seek some help from the airport attendants. Many airlines offer such services, and you shouldn’t fear using them. They will provide escort service, and sometimes even give you a ride to get you around.
See Related: Mistakes to Avoid to Have the Best Road Trip with Kids
10. Remember to Carry Some Empty Water Bottles
This is a great way to deal with airport security, as well as the cost of buying bottled water. When you pack some empty water bottles, you are sure to meet the airport’s no-drinks policy, which makes it easy for security checks.
In addition, you can refill the bottles after the security checks to handle your kids’ nagging urge for water. Sometimes the water is even not for your kids. You might be the thirsty one on this trip. It is always good to be fully prepared. This is one of the best airport hacks for families that you should never ignore.
11. A Mini Duffle Bag
Sometimes, the suitcase or backpack is just too full to carry anything else. When this is the case, a mini duffle bag will come in handy. This will be ideal, especially when you are out of your hotel suite, and don’t want to carry a large backpack or carry-on with you.
With a small duffle bag, you can easily walk around with it and even put in some souvenirs or anything else that you buy during the trip. One tip, though, ensures that you don’t buy things that can be flagged by airport security. One great piece of such a duffle bag is the “PUMA Evercat Dispatch Duffel.”
See Related: Best Portable Strollers for Travel
12. Contact Your Cell Provider to Get Fair International Options
When taking international trips, it might be crucial to contact your cell provider. Some international calls and texts can significantly raise your bill, which is not the best welcoming thing when you’re back from a vacation.
Some roaming charges are excessive, and thus you need a reasonable deal that won’t overburden your pockets.
However, some providers offer fair plans for international travelers that allow you to call text, or browse using your domestic rates. But before you subscribe to any plan, ensure that it’s supported in the region you plan to travel to.
See Related: Best Practical Gifts for International Travel
13 Pack Some Anti-bacterial Wipes or Sanitizer
One thing you can be sure of is that your kids will touch everything they see and still put those hands on their faces or mouths. With germs everywhere, you don’t want some simple mistake to spoil your entire trip when the kids can’t stop complaining of stomachaches.
Anti-bacterial wipes are quite crucial in ensuring that you keep their hands disinfected every time. Also, following the pandemic, hand sanitizer should always be on that list. These two are unique mom hacks for travel that ensure safety for their kids.
This way you can prevent infections through contaminated surfaces around the airport or train station. When you are dealing with children, you can never be too careful. Take every measure to ensure your family vacation remains blissful.
See Related: Cheap Places to Travel [Ultimate Guide]
14. Get a Baby Bassinet for the Flight
For long-haul flights, you might need that baby bassinet for your young champ to sleep in. While most airlines will offer such, you need to confirm with them well in advance, to avoid any mishaps.
A baby bassinet ensures that your child is comfortable all through the flight and eliminates the chances of them becoming a headache. You don’t want the stress of your baby crying the entire flight.
Confirming with the airline in advance will also help you learn any guidelines set for the use of the bassinet. This way, you can adequately prepare. This and more travel hacks for kids reduce the stress of family travels.
See Related: Best Portable Car Seats for Travel
15. Carry Dry Healthy Snacks for Your Kids
While you might not be allowed to carry drinks for your kids, most snacks are permitted. This means that your child doesn’t have to go hungry, especially during a long flight.
And although you might pick some at the airport, packing your own snacks is most advisable. Airport snacks aren’t that amazing, and they might also cost you more. Pick snacks that your kids love, and pack them in advance. Some of the airport-accepted snacks include candy, cereal, cookies, crackers, cooked meats, granola bars, dried fruits, etc.
See Related: Best Family Vacations in Minnesota
16. Rethink Restaurants
When on a family vacation, the first instinct when you’re hungry is to dine in a restaurant. However, this is not always ideal when you have kids with you. And although restaurants will still find somewhere in your mealtime, try something more.
One way of travel hacking as a family is by cooking your own fresh food when possible. For instance, if you are in an RV, a rented condo, or a vacation home with a kitchen, you can easily make delicious homemade meals for your family.
Also, you can try out something like the open-air market and find something unique to eat. Better still, if that fails, you can always use a local delivery app to bring you some food right to your hotel room.
See Related: How to Plan a Family Trip to Washington D.C.
17. Get Your Kids’ Bracelets With Your Contacts
Sometimes when you’re in a new and crowded place, you might lose sight of your little ones. If this happens, you need to be sure that they can contact you. A bracelet with your contacts on it is a perfect gift for them during the trip.
Not only will they love wearing the cute bracelets, but you’ll also be arming them with your contacts if they ever need to use them. Beaded bracelets with number beads that correspond to your contacts are simple, safe family travel hacks you can easily come up with. These phone number bracelets are top picks for family vacations with young kids.
18. Car Seatbelt Lock
If you’ve planned a road trip on your minivan, this is one of the simplest but essential minivan travel hacks you need. It’s quite common for kids to play with their seatbelts or even yours during the ride.
And to make sure that they can’t unlock the seat belts, a seatbelt lock becomes quite essential. It’s a safety measure that looks simple, but that can prevent unimaginable dangers.
19. Boulevard ClickTight Convertible Car Seat
There are numerous road trip hacks for families that can save your day. For instance, if you are traveling with your toddler, it’s quite hard to keep them glued to the seat, or hold them the entire time.
For this reason, before you embark on that trip, ensure that you have a ClickTight Car Seat for your kid. This way, you don’t have to worry about in-car baby movements all the time. Also, you are sure that your baby is safe in that back seat.
If you do end up bringing a car seat on your next trip, be sure to use a car seat travel bag that can help protect the car seat from being damaged during the stowing process.
20. Carry a Socket Extension
If you are traveling with a big family, an extra pair of sockets comes in handy, especially if everyone will be on their devices. It’s one of the simple hotel hacks for families, but it is also quite essential. With a good socket extension, you don’t have to worry about any of your devices running low on batteries.
And although the hotel rooms have several sockets, sometimes you might need more. The “SUPERDANNY 15A Surge Protector Power Strip Flat Plug” is a perfect fit for this task.
See Related: Best Travel Toothbrushes
21. Adapter Plug Socket
While on a road trip, an adapter plug socket can be quite useful. It comes in handy when you want an extension of the cigarette lighter adapter, to reach your devices, or even for the tire inflator.
This means that if you have a flat tire, or someone wants to charge their devices from the back seat, they are all sorted. It’s one of the vital family road trip hacks that can save you from sleeping in the woods.
See Related: Best Theme Parks in Europe for Families
22. Consider renting baby equipment
Consider renting baby equipment for your next family vacation instead of packing the stroller! Baby gear rental companies offer a wide variety of options for parents traveling with young children, such as car seats, strollers, play yards, and bathtubs.
Renting baby travel gear makes it much easier to care for your brood while away from home and is a great alternative to bringing all the necessary items yourself. Most rental companies provide a lot of flexibility on where to drop off and pick up the equipment, making the process stress-free. With all these advantages, baby equipment rental is a no-brainer for any family on the go.
23. Build excitement at the airport
Traveling with children can be a great way to boost their development and make them more empathetic. To make the experience more enjoyable for both parents and kids, research your destination so you can build excitement and anticipation before you even leave home. Once you arrive at the airport, use the extra time to your advantage by playing games or doing activities together.
This can help keep the children occupied and make the airport a fun place rather than a daunting one. Don’t forget to take breaks throughout the journey so that everyone can relax and enjoy the experience.
24. Sign up for an airline loyalty program
Traveling as a family can be made easier and more rewarding when joining an airline loyalty program. You will receive points for every flight taken which can be used for flight upgrades or even free flights in the future.
The loyalty program makes it easier to follow the same airline’s usual practices, making the whole travel experience smoother, more convenient, and enjoyable.
Family vacations should always be fun and adventurous. However, some simple mistakes or oversights might significantly impact your travel.
That’s why we have compiled this list of the best family travel hacks, well-researched and supported by first-hand experiences, to make your next trip all smooth and memorable.
There are numerous ways to travel hack as a family, and some of these hacks might just be what you’ve been looking for.
How can I make my family vacation special?
When traveling as a family, it is important to plan ahead and pre-book as much as possible to avoid any stress or anxiety. For example, if you are planning a trip, be sure to book the flights, hotels, and car rentals in advance.
It is also wise to bring snacks and drinks along for the journey. Investing in top-notch camping gear will make the experience more enjoyable, and it can be beneficial to ask about kids’ discounts wherever possible. Despite the best preparation, there may be times when things don’t go according to plan, but it is important to remain calm and friendly in such situations.
How do you make traveling easier with kids?
Traveling with kids can be a challenge, but there are ways to make it easier for the whole family. One of the best ways to make the journey manageable is to plan ahead. Research your destination and gather information on kid-friendly activities.
Pack snacks and activities for the kids to keep them busy and entertained.
Make sure to bring any necessary items like a stroller or car seat. Consider different transportation options such as taking a train or bus to reduce stress. Make sure you bring items to make the journey more comfortable, such as pillows and headphones. By taking the time to plan and prepare, families can ensure that their journey is comfortable and enjoyable for all.
- Best Things to do in Ravello
- Best Minimalist Travel Backpacks
- Best Travel Credit Cards
- Best Gifts For Couples Who Love To Travel
Lock In Your Travel Now
Find Cheap Flights
Use Skyscanner to find flight deals. As my personal favorite flight search engine, Skyscanner scours websites and airlines across the globe, leaving no stone unturned to help you find the best deal possible. And if you really want to take your savings to new heights, pair Skyscanner with Going (Formerly Scott's Cheap Flights). With access to exclusive mistake fares delivered straight to your inbox, you'll be packing your bags and jetting off on your next adventure before you know it.
Travel insurance is a low cost way to ensure your travel plans go smooth no matter what's thrown at it. Cover yourself against illness, injury and theft, and protect the arrangements you've made with our flexible travel cancellation insurance. My favorite options for travel insurance are:
Book Your Accommodation
In order to capture the widest selection of properties and the best price, use Booking.com as they have the cheapest rates for guesthouses, hotels, luxury condos, B&Bs and so much more.
Want More Destination Ideas Direct to Your Inbox?
Be sure to join the ViaTravelers Newsletter for expert tips, tricks and inspiration for your next travel journey!
Discover the Best Travel Tools
Be sure to visit our page on our favorite travel resources to learn how you too can visit over 10 countries in year.