Top 20 Travel Tips For a Family Vacation
It is that time of the year again, when you are off on your annual family vacation. A much needed break from the humdrum of routine life and an opportunity for some great family bonding experiences.
But wait! Do you have everything in order to ensure you return with happy memories of great times spent together? Or, are their irritating experiences waiting to happen just around the corner which would leave a bitter taste whenever your remembered the vacation?
Here are 20 tips to make your Family Vacation an unforgettable experience for you and your kids, an experience the kids would cherish and remember even when they are grown up and you are no longer with them.
- Back up your documents Make sure you have all required documents handy and in a place which is quickly accessible. Also ensure that you have copies kept in different bags, to ensure that you have a back up set of copies in case you lose the originals. This would include everything, from photos to passports, driving licenses, birth certificates, health insurance cards, Credit and Debit cards, important contact numbers, etc. Also make sure you keep both digital and physical copies of passports, all documents on your laptop or phone or on a cloud server which can be accessed easily if required.
- Be Open minded Travel Broadens the mind, so go with an open mind, ready to experience and learn new cultures and customs. Do not look at other culture with a myopic vision and do not be judgmental. Remember you have kids with you and this is a great opportunity to expose them to new cultures and show them that there is a whole new world beyond the confines of your own home, City or Country.
- Buy Travel Insurance Do not forget to ensure that you have Travel/Health insurance. You do not want to run up huge expenses on medical treatment in case of an emergency in a foreign land.
- Carry City map Always ensure you have a map of the City you are in, if you have GPS on your mobile then all the better. Research the place that you are visiting, transport options and the locality that your hotel is in well before you embark on your vacation.
- Carry extra cash Carry a contingency fund in cash to take care of sudden emergencies. You may be in a situation where you need to pay by cash and your card is not accepted. Or you may be in a situation where you lose your wallet. Keep the extra cash in different bags.
- Carry extra kids’ clothes If you are traveling with kids, pack in those extra sets of clothes as kids will be kids and get their clothes dirty at a supersonic speed.
- Enjoy the view and also take photos Do not forget to ENJOY the whole experience, after all you are there to relax and enjoy, so do not get bogged down by the nitty gritty of the travel and forget the very purpose for which you are there. Do not forget to enjoy the beautiful view with your family/kids. Take plenty of photographs, these will become a treasure trove of memories in later years.
- Get vaccinated Check out the health requirements of the Country you are visiting and get your family, including the kids vaccinated as required.
- Keep a journal Record your experiences by jotting down notes at the end of each day when the kids have retired to bed, you can use these notes later to write a more detailed account of your travel experiences.
- Keep your kids busy and happy Kids need to be kept engaged and happy so that they do not ruin the experience by throwing tantrums now and then. Explain to them about the trip beforehand so that they are aware of what is coming. Pack in their favourite toys or games so that they have something that keeps them occupied, especially on those long flights or bus or train journeys. Buy them their favorite snack / ice creams too.
- Know local laws While in Rome, be a Roman. Wherever you go, ensure you are aware of the local laws and ensure that you abide by them. You do not want to be caught in a legal wrangle just because of your ignorance.
- Plan your trip Do not leave everything to chance and just pack your bags and leave for your vacation. Remember you are not a solo backpacker who can go wherever your whims and fancies take you. You are traveling with a family and kids and need to ensure that you have a foolproof plan ready with you before you step out of your house.
- Rise early & avoid crowd Relax during your vacation but do not be lazy, get up early and maybe catch that beautiful sunrise. You can also avoid crowds by starting early and visiting few places before the rush hour starts.
- Slow travel Do not whiz past destinations on a whirlwind tour, go for a slow travel experience and savor each and every moment of the experience. This pace would be suitable for the kids too who could otherwise get stressed out.
- Stay healthy Ensure family’s health during the vacation by being careful about what and where you eat or drink. Ensure that you include a couple of physical activities each day for the entire family in the form of a trek or a walk along the beach or a park. Eat well but do not binge, eat healthily and ensure your kids do the same. Travel can transform you and science have proved that there are health benefits of travel.
- Stay in touch with family and friends Do not shut yourself out during the vacation, be reachable by people back home so that in case they are trying to reach you, they can.
- Travel light Do not burden yourself by lugging huge pieces of baggage, try to optimize your baggage and eliminate things that are not adding value.
- Try local food Try to immerse yourselves in the local culture and cuisine, use this as an opportunity to expose the kids to these experiences which would have a deep impact on them and ensure that they grow up into adults with a broader vision of the world.
- Try something new Every vacation do try out something new with the family, something that you have not done before, of course do ensure that whatever you are planning to do is perfectly safe. It could be a simple thing like flying a kite or dancing to the beats of a drummer with local dancers or trying your hand at cooking some local delicacies.
- Wear your smile When in a Foreign land, no currency works better than a smile, so whatever you wear, do not forget to wear a smile, it will take you a long way.
Traveling with family and kids is on a different plane altogether, your enjoyment gets doubled as you share common experiences and spend time together. The farther you travel together, the closer you come to each other. Travel is a great catalyst for family bonding. So get ready, get set and go! Have a wonderful family vacation!
But do give some thought to the above tips to ensure that you have a dream family vacation.
You might find “50 Things every international travel should know” a post of our friend useful. Do check it out here.
Disclaimer: The above mentioned tips are purely our tips which we have expressed here through our travel experiences and in no way are these tips comprehensive. Also they are not placed in order of importance as it will vary from person to person.
What is the one most important thing that you focus on while planning a family vacation or while traveling with kids? Do share your thoughts through our comments section.
Did you find the tips for family vacation useful? You may want to check out our other travel tips posts:
- Top 5 Tips for planning a perfect Family Trip (published on Huffington Post too)
- 7 Tips to Keep Oneself Fit and Healthy While Traveling
- Top Things to Pack in Your Travel Health Kit
- Top packing tips while traveling with kids