There’s no need to dread travelling with kids when you’re armed with expert advice and top travel tools. Keep reading to discover ways to make your next family vacation the best one yet.
Travelling with kids is an exciting experience, but yes, it can be stressful if you’re not well prepared. Of course, there are many ways to reduce that stress so your vacation with your kids will be a relaxing, cheerful, and memorable time for everyone involved.
We’ve sourced some top tips that will make travelling with kids less stressful and more fun. Find cheap flights, hotel, car rentals, and more tips and inspiration right here at Skyscanner Canada.
Top Tips for Travelling with Kids
Choosing the best vacation spot to take the kids
Every family is different, therefore, every vacation wants and needs are different. The key is to choose a vacation destination that the whole family will enjoy. And what’s the best way to do that? Get them all involved. Of course, kids under five years may not be able to offer a lot of input but consider their needs in the planning process.
All-inclusive resorts almost always have a kids’ and teens’ club for children aged 4-16. Not only do these clubs offer a load of fun things for kids to do on vacation, but they also allow Mom and Dad a little adult-only time. These resorts are great for families who just want to get away for a week or two and don’t really care about traipsing the tourist trails.
A cruise is another great family vacation idea that is basically a floating all-inclusive resort with the option to go ashore in a different port every 2 or 3 days. There are lots of things to do for the whole family on a cruise ship.
If an all-inclusive isn’t your thing, base your trip around the activities you all want to do. Relax on a quiet island in the Caribbean or discover the noise of New York City? Trek through lush mountains of South America or hike the concrete jungles of Singapore? Hot beach escapes or cool snowy wonderlands?
The world is a big place full of so many unique experiences that will make travelling with kids an exciting and wonderful adventure.
Location, location, location
So, you’ve chosen your family vacation destination. Great! Now, something that will take a lot of pressure and stress off is choosing the best location within the destination. If you’re going for a cityscape, stay in the city. Smack bang in the middle of it all, or at least in a neighbourhood with lots of amenities within walking distance. If you plonk yourselves in the suburbs or near the airport, chances are you’ll have to drive everywhere or pay premium prices for a litre of milk and basic necessities.
Same goes for a beach vacay. Unless you’re after total seclusion with your kids, find a hotel or apartment within walking to the beach and local shops. This also makes it easy to pop back to your accommodation when the kids need a nap or a change of clothing.
Travelling with kids packing tips
Rule number one: when it comes to clothing, pack light. Travelling with children means packing lots of travel gear: strollers, baby carriers, toys, snacks, and self-soothing favourites so if you can limit the clothing, you can reduce your baggage size and weight.
Baggage tip: Get kids their own wheelie suitcase so they can take some of the load off.
Are you staying in accommodation with laundry facilities? If yes, great, pack three or four days of necessities and do washing in the evenings. Asian countries, such as Thailand and Vietnam often offer wash, dry and folding services for cheap, and most hotels will have laundry services, although they may be pricey.
If you’re on a long-haul flight, take comfy clothing, pyjamas, a special blanket or your child’s favourite soothing item, and anti-bacterial wipes to clean sticky hands after snacks and meals.
Bottom line: Don’t overthink it. Most things can be purchased at your vacation destination. The less you pack, the less you’ll have to carry.
Best kid-friendly airlines
Most airlines offer families with small children pre-boarding so you can get settled before the frantic rush to get seated happens. Canada’s national carriers, Air Canada and WestJet also offer free-of-charge stroller and car seat check, as well as, seat selection to ensure children are seated next to at least one parent.
Emirates is often regarded as the most kid-friendly airline for its family check-in counter, generous kids’ packs for young and older children alike, special kids’ meals, and an abundance of in-flight entertainment. They even have a kids’ air miles program. Air Transat also has a Kids’ Club for flyers 2-11 years old who are travelling to their family-friendly destinations.
More kid-centric airlines to love:
- EVA Air
- Singapore Airlines
- Air New Zealand
Flight advice for travelling with kids
Take advantage of airlines that allow you to pre-book seats so you can sit next to your child. This will save a lot of stress worrying about whether you’ll be next to each other or not. If you’re travelling with a baby, ask the airline if they have a bassinet and if so, book it! You really don’t want to hold the baby for an entire flight.
A great way to keep kids busy onboard is by eating. Bring a small supply of your favourite snacks and pre-order special meals so your family is amongst the first to eat.
If you’re a frequent flyer you may have noticed that planes aren’t the cleanest places. Anti-bacterial wipes are great for wiping hands, but they’re also perfect for sanitizing the tray tables and armrests before little hands pick up left-over grub from the last passenger.
Find free stuff to do on your family vacation
Let’s face it, travelling with kids can be expensive and that can cause some stress. In most places, you’ll find heaps of free things to do with kids. Look for parks, beaches, and playgrounds that will not only entertain everyone but also immerse you all into the local culture.
Museums and art galleries are often free too. And they’ll provide an excellent cultural and educational aspect to your family vacation. For instance, the National Gallery in London is free to browse. They also offer free guided tours daily and drawing classes, so check beforehand to pick the best day to visit London’s museums!
Have a plan, but be flexible too
Kids thrive on routine so it’s important to keep to a schedule as much as possible. But, we all know that travelling can disrupt even the most meticulously planned schedules.
Set out a list of things you all want to do and have a rough daily itinerary. Plan things around meals and naps or rest time so kids (and parents) don’t get overtired or hangry. Allow for white space in your travel plans to keep stress to a minimum. Focus on the fun, and forget about trying to “do it all”.
How much will it cost?
Sure, travelling with kids will be more expensive than your days of solo backpackers around Europe, but just how much depends on a few factors.
Where and when will naturally play a big part of the cost. Flights and hotel stays take the biggest chunk of your holiday budget but some destinations are naturally cheaper than others.
Thailand for instance. Return flights from Vancouver to Bangkok in May are as low as $557 per person – that’s less than $2300 for a family of four to vacation overseas. And Bangkok is cheap to stay and eat too. Good hotels are as little as $52 per night. Simple, but delicious food is found all over Bangkok from street vendors and food courts for $5 – $10 per adult, which makes Thailand an affordable destination.
If a vacation to Paris is your family’s dream, then costs will be very different. The cheapest month to visit Paris is November with flights from Toronto averaging $931 per person. Of course, there are summer seat sales to be had, so always take a look at all options. A basic Parisian hotel for a family can be found for around $150 per night. French food is certainly fancier here and dinner will average $30 per meal at a standard restaurant. Paris is one of the most visited and loved cities in the world, and some say worth every cent.
Excited About Travelling with Kids?
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