*I did not write this entire piece but contributed many of the tips. Happy travels!
You never know how easy solo travel is until you have kids. Family travel numbers are lower than you would expect considering all the great benefits to traveling with children. The top reasons why families aren’t traveling with their children are the cost and not feeling comfortable and confident. This collection of 82 tips will help travelers be prepared and confident to take their children on a vacation regardless of their age.
But traveling with kids doesn’t have to be as overwhelming as you’re imagining right now, and travel can be extremely beneficialfor your kids. In fact, there are families — with kids as young as infants and as old as grumpy teenagers — traveling around the world every day. These 82 tips are compiled from travel bloggers and parents that have become experts on the topic of traveling with children, and they’re guaranteed to improve your family travel experience.
The snow reminds me that Mother Nature has not completely forgotten to give us water.
The fresh air reminds me to breathe.
The cozy cabin reminds me to bond.
And the fireplace reminds me to drink something hot and sweet (with Baileys in it?).
My family travels to Mammoth Mountain many times a year, taking a grateful sigh of relief when we see the jagged outline of the Minarets, looming behind Mammoth Mountain — our welcoming committee.
Ten minutes later, we turn off the highway and cruise into the chic, yet cozy, Mammoth Lakes village.
The town is intentionally kept quaint, but has an obvious layer of modern influences and a thriving youth culture.
Warm water, magenta sunsets, giant plates of nachos, and monkeys (loud free-roaming monkeys that don’t mess with your stuff)- me thinks I found heaven in Costa Rica.
You know this place is incredible if I can call it heaven after traveling seventeen hours, via airplanes and cars, with a baby. Yes, I had the support of my partner, parents, and brothers, but I’m the mom with the boobs full of milk.
The magic of Costa Rica made every ounce of anxiety-ridden travel worth it. I even plan to eventually follow in my wanderlust cousin’s footsteps and move my family to this eco-friendly paradise for six-ish months.
If you have the desire to explore the gem of Central America (and why not?) with your baby, here are a few words of guidance from one parent to another.
The magic of Mickey is not just for the three to ten crowd. I believe the true magic of Disney is that it helps all ages return to that delicious space of wonder we all lived in as children.
I had forgotten about that lighthearted goodness until Disney kindly invited my husband, toddler, mother-in-law, and myself on a #DisneyGrandAdventure.
Before we flew across the country (from Ojai, CA to Orlando, FL in not-fun turbulence) I spent three hours exploring the My Disney Experience website where the little (sometimes neurotic) planner in me was in heaven.
First off, I got to choose characters to represent myself, and each of my guests. I was Sleeping Beauty, the hubs Buzz Lightyear, the toddler a little squishy alien from Toy Story, and the mother-in-law Mrs. Incredible.
Next, I was able to pre-schedule our Fast Passes, which familiarized me with the rides and attractions at the four parks, reminding me that they really did have something for everyone. Roller coasters for husband (and sometimes me), flying elephants and rocket ships for my son, themed boat and pirate ship rides for myself, and all of the above for my mother-in-law (she’s a versatile grandma.)
My Disney Experience served as my one-stop-shop trip planner.
Navigating this site got me totally hyped up for the trip. I used to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of a Disney vacation because there was so much to plan- I never knew where to start. This site allowed me to suss everything out pre-touchdown, so I could spend my vacation enjoying instead of planning.
My level of neurotic-planner-excitement bumped up a level when I realized the My Disney Experience had a phone app! Whoop whoop!
The app included all the information listed above, plus GPS enabled maps of all the parks (including an insta-Restroom locator), the ability to make dining reservations or find restaurants in close proximity, locate the home of your favorite characters, and access up-to-date wait times for rides. Let me repeat that, instead of walking all over a park trying to find the shortest line, you can pop into your app for the approximate time you’ll have to wait. #GameChanger
If you choose to pay a little extra, you receive access to the Memory Maker feature which allows you to have unlimited professional photos taken at all the photo stops in the parks, including the always-attractive photos taken on select rides.
Expert Tip: Don’t forget to check out the strangers in your photos from the roller coasters- their facial expressions are often classic.
Just like Disney World, the site and app were colorful, easy to navigate, and fun.
Let’s break it down.
6 Months Before Vacation
- Register for a My Disney Experience account
- Check back in to this here blog for insider tips and suggestions. Just do a #DisneyGrandAdventure search on the site- and BAM.
- Reserve your resort reservations
- Purchase your park tickets
- Reserve your plane tickets (if needed)
3 Months Before
- Reserve your Fast Passes on the My Disney Experience site. (You can reserve up to three each day. Reserve them for earlier in the day, because once you’ve used them all you can obtain more at designated kiosks in the parks.)
- Download the My Disney Experience app on your phone and familiarize yourself with all the goodies.
- Decide where you would like to eat your meals in the resorts, parks, or Disney Springs, and make your reservations via the My Disney Experience site or app.
- Explore the different dinner shows (like the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Review!) and make reservations for those that tickle your fancy.
One Week Before
- Double check all reservations to make sure everything is in place.
- Go over your travel itinerary with all family members to ensure everyone is on the same page, or even better, the same paragraph.
- Check the weather in Orlando and pack accordingly. Make sure to pack comfortable shoes as you’ll likely walk many miles each day. And pack layers as the temperature fluctuates from morning to evening. (And some of the parks stay open late into the night!)
- Watch your favorite Disney movies to pump yourself up!
My next #DisneyGrandAdventure post will explore the different personalities of five of Disney World’s best resorts. They’re all full of adventure, thoughtful detail, and sass. Lots of sass.
It used to be so easy for me to fly that I could fall into such a deep state of sleep, I’d wake up drooling on the kind yet disgusted stranger next to me. I’m now the one being drooled on, as I have a series of hidden panic attacks with every jiggle of the plane (and non-jiggles, because it means a big one is coming).
What changed? I had a baby.
Mortality wasn’t a big topic in my inner dialogue until I became a mom. Control has always been a headline in my life — I like control. My need for control, coupled with my newfound preoccupation with mortality, has equaled mayhem when flying in a metal death trap.
Before arriving at the airport, I now take screenshots of statistics to assure me the metal death trap I drive in is much more dangerous than the one I fly in. But I have control over the car. I obsess over those screenshots until my conscious mind is convinced that flying is safe, statistically.