Family travel can make for wonderful memories. It can also be a series of stressful situations experienced one after the other. When traveling with a family, you have several people’s needs and interests to account for. The following will explore a few things you can do to plan a memorable trip with the whole family.
Planning a Memorable Trip with Family
Book Tickets In Advance
Whenever possible, you want to look at the option of buying tickets for main attractions in advance. Something like buying a Vatican ticket ahead of time can save you hours in lineups. Buying tickets in advance can also help you avoid arriving at a site to find it is sold out for the day—this is especially important if you’re traveling during the busy season when venues can become swamped.
Finally, buying tickets in advance can sometimes land you some pretty stellar deals. Some cities and locations have passes that allow you access to several sites at a fraction of the cost of paying for tickets to each venue individually. In really wonderful cases, these passes can also include public transit.
It doesn’t matter how beautiful your surroundings are; if you’re lugging around bags that make your back ache or have straps cutting into your shoulders, you’re going to have a lot less fun than you would if you were moving around freely. Beyond this, hopping between locations is a lot harder when you have a ton of bags that need to be packed.
Aim for a carry-on bag and a smaller, daily-use bag for each person if you really want to speed up the trip (and avoid having to deal with lost luggage that somehow got put on the wrong plane). If everyone in your group can move comfortably while carrying their luggage, you’ve set yourself up for a smooth trip.
Give Yourself Space
When planning out your itinerary, it can be tempting to squish as much as possible into your days. You can do this occasionally, but for every really busy day, you want at least two more relaxed days. Make time to leisurely stroll around a charming neighborhood or go out to dinner with some fellow travelers you met and clicked with. Stay at a site if it moves you and runs to the bathroom or to a convenience store without worrying that you’re siphoning away the precious time you have. Schedule things with lots of space in between so that the magic spontaneity of your trip can unfold as it wants to. This can also help you from missing out on too much if you happen to miss a bus or struggle to find a taxi on a busy afternoon.
This tip is especially important if you’re traveling with younger children. Children get tired. They get hungry. They become enthralled with the shape of shells on the seashore. Ensuring that you have adequate time for children to rest and become engaged with their surroundings can help ensure that they have the time they need to connect with where they are.
Bring Snacks Everywhere
When you’re traveling with a group, guaranteed someone is going to be hungry at any given moment. Snacks available for purchase in crowded touristy areas tend to be insanely overpriced and are often bought after a long wait in a lineup. Minimize hours with hangry people and save money and time by bringing snacks with you everywhere you go. Look for healthy options like raw nuts (peanuts aren’t actually nuts, and they’re not healthy), fruit and vegetables, as well as high protein, low sugar options. Visit a local grocery store if you need to. If you want a pleasant trip, snacks should provide energy to everyone, not sugar crashes and mood swings.
Consider Apartment Rentals
Depending on where you’re going, it might be easier (and cheaper) to book an apartment for your stay using an app like Airbnb or Homeaway than it is to book a hotel. When you have lots of people, hotels can become expensive. Apartment rentals often provide you with several rooms (everyone in the family needs to have some alone time every day) and kitchens where you can cook some of your meals and prepare snacks.
The above information should help you plan a smooth trip for yourself and your family. Of course, every family is different, so be honest with the needs of your loved ones when making plans. It’s always best to aim for accomplishing less than more, as a stressed family running to catch their next flight isn’t one that’s having any fun. It would be better to see a few sights and really enjoy them than visit several famous locations, in short, rushed bursts.