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Family vacations require tons of planning, budgeting, and patience. For many of us, they wind up being the best week of the whole year and an amazing opportunity to connect with our loved ones. But let’s be real, family vacations are also stressful.
When traveling with kids, an avoidable mistake can lead to sour moods for the whole day or even the entire trip. Today, I’m sharing some of my top family travel hacks so your family vacations will be filled with awesome adventures that turn into cherished memories. These travel hacks for families are bound to make a huge difference!
Top 15 Family Travel Hacks
Here are the top 15 family travel hacks you need to know about:
Family Travel Hacks: Packing Tips
1) Packing cubes are a necessity.
Don’t think you can fit everything you need into the trunk of your car? Think again. With the right packing cubes, anything is possible!
2) Group similar items together.
There’s nothing worse than embarking on long-haul travel with kids and having to pull over because you can’t find their tablet or favorite snack. Avoid this nightmare by grouping things like snacks and electronics in the same bags and keeping them close.
3) Make sure everyone travels in their comfiest outfit.
Long family car rides can get uncomfortable fast. In addition to having a pillow and blanket handy, make sure that everyone in the group wears their comfiest outfit for the drive.
4) Add an extra change of clothes to each kid’s backpack.
Accidents happen, and they usually happen when you’re not prepared. You might be surprised by how an extra change of clothes can save your trip before it even begins!
5) Check (and triple-check) your luggage.
Start with a family packing list. Once you’ve got everything laid out, go through it all with your list in hand so you can check things off as you pack them. This helps to ensure that nothing important gets left behind.
Family Travel Hacks: Food and Drinks
6) Bring reusable water bottles.
You can fill up at rest stops, gas stations, and convenience stores along the way.
7) Pack filling snacks.
Bring healthy snacks like fruit, crackers, nuts, and cheese sticks that will keep everyone feeling satisfied during the long trip.
8) Don’t forget the gum.
During long car rides with kids, chewing gum can help distract them from how long you’ve been driving and save you from hearing the dreaded “are we there yet” for the umpteenth time. It’s also super helpful for balancing the cabin pressure during flight take-off and avoiding that pesky ear popping!
9) Bring anti-bacterial wipes.
When your kids are done chowing down on their favorite snacks, they’ll need something to wipe up the crumbs and stickiness with.
10) Bring home-cooked meals if you can.
If you’re traveling with kids by car, try to bring a cooler with quick and easy meals like sandwiches. You’ll save a ton of money by avoiding restaurants, which is especially helpful if the kids are feeling cranky and not up for a public outing.
Family Travel Hacks: Entertainment Tips
11) Download games and movies ahead of time.
Kids aren’t exactly known for being the most patient human beings. Plan ahead of time by downloading their favorite games and movies for the journey.
12) Take turns entertaining the kids.
If you take anything away from this blog post, let it be this. Taking turns entertaining the kids is the key to maintaining your sanity on a long trip. One parent can entertain the kids with snacks and games, while the other parent naps or relaxes or reads a book.
13) Don’t underestimate the power of bringing grandma.
…And if all else fails, grandma to the rescue! Trust me, no one knows how to keep the kids in line quite as grandma does. If your mother, mother-in-law, family member or trusted friend is up for the trip, bring him or her along for an even more exciting family adventure. I love bringing my mom along to enjoy our family adventures.
14) Research fun car games.
Sure, we all know the license game. But that can only keep the kids entertained for so long. Do a little research before the trip to come up with some fun new car games that will keep the kids entertained in the car for hours on end.
15) Pack a multi-port electric charger.
In today’s day and age, everyone has lots of electronic devices that they bring along with them on family vacations. From phones and laptops to tablets and portable gaming devices, there are plenty of items that will need charging time. A multi-port electric charger can be hugely beneficial in making sure everyone’s devices stay charged.
I hope these family travel hacks help to ease the planning process for your next family vacation! These tips for traveling with kids have helped my family more times than I can count, so I have no doubt in my mind that they can do the same for you. Happy travels!
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