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Do you love to travel? Do you need family travel tips? I have some that I have gathered from my travels over the years.
I love to travel. My family and I tend to go to the same places repeatedly. My most favorite place to visit is Pigeon Forge, TN. Before the shutdown, we went there 3-4 times a year. I can get you around the streets there almost as well as I can get you around my hometown.
The first time I traveled by airplane was during my sophomore year of high school. I was part of the Concord High School band, and we went to Killarney, Ireland as ambassadors during the sister cities ceremonies.
We were there during St. Patrick’s Day. We participated in several St. Patrick’s Day events, but we marched in the parade through Dublin. That is the only time I have been out of the United States, so far. The one travel tip I remember from that trip is to always carry extra copies of your passport and state issued identification in every bag. I left those copies in my suitcase until I got married and changed my name.
I live in North Carolina. It’s beautiful here. We have mountains and beaches, and I go to both ends of the state when I can.
I have traveled to Washington state and Texas on planes, and I loved those places as well. I do prefer road trip travel though.
From my travels, I have family travel tips to share. Typically, when I travel, I have my parents, husband, and daughter with me. It’s a van-full of people and stuff no matter where we go. I have traveled with adults, children, and both.
Are you ready for the tips?
Family Travel Tips #1: Don’t be in a hurry
This is advice for daily life as well, but when traveling, it’s extremely important.
Leave yourself plenty of time to get to where you are going. Plan for traffic and crowds. Traveling is a game of hurry up and wait. You hurry to make sure you are on-time, then you have to wait for the location or other people.
Plan for extra time in all your activities because everything takes longer than planned or expected. A 30-minute tour will take 45 minutes. Traffic will cause a 10-minute drive to take an hour. Always leave as much extra time as possible when you are traveling.
Family Travel Tips #2: Pack essentials
Don’t overpack just because you think you are going to need something. If you aren’t planning a fancy dinner one night, you don’t need the little black dress or the high heels.
There is no need to take everything you own on a trip. It’s a vacation. You are trying to get away from things. You can leave some of those things at home and have them there when you get back.
Extra items are extra weight. This can also mean an extra cost.
Pack only the necessities, and if you forget something, you can probably purchase it at your destination. They probably have stores that carry toothbrushes and toothpaste.
Also, you can use the soap and shampoos from the hotel. You don’t need to pack your own.
Take pants, shoes, hats, and pajamas that you can wear more than once on the trip. This will save room in the suitcase.
Family Travel Tips #3: Pre-book everything that you can
First, you know you will need to have lodging. If you want, you can book the first 1-2 nights at a hotel. Upon arrival, you can, typically, decide if you want to remain at the same place for the rest of the trip or move to another location. This tip can be tricky during times when your destination is completely booked during your stay.
Call ahead or book online for any tours, shows, or meals that you can. This will assist in the planning, but it will also help you to skip long wait times to buy tickets at the location.
Family Travel Tips #4: Pack snacks
Know what non-messy, easy snacks you can pack for the day. If you already have a purse, backpack, or diaper bag, these should fit into this without adding a lot of bulk or weight.
Again, everything takes longer than planned. Hungry family members, especially children, are not fun to travel with.
Family Travel Tips #5: Ask for available discounts
In many travel destinations, you can get discounts for different things. Ask if there are discounts for children, seniors, students (with ID), military, birthday, and groups.
These discounts can be for admission tickets, tours, restaurants, shows/movies, and transportation.
Some places do not advertise the discounts, but they will apply them to your price when you request them.
So, ask. What’s the worst they can say? No? Well, you were planning to pay full price anyway.
Family Travel Tips #6: Know things will go wrong
This pairs well with everything takes longer than you plan.
If it can go wrong, it might, and probably will. Isn’t that Murphy’s Law or something?
When you are traveling, have a backup plan because restaurants will close, for many reasons. Weather will not cooperate, and people will disappoint you.
Know what you can/will do if your plans fall through. Just because it rains and you can’t go swimming, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do something else. Check the weather, maybe tomorrow is going to be sunny. Do tomorrow’s indoor plans today, if possible, and just switch the days.
Family Travel Tips #7: Have identification documents
As I stated earlier, I kept a copy of my license and passport in my suitcase from 10th grade until I got married, when I was 23. They were both out-of-date, but I just never removed them.
Make sure you have a copy of license, birth certificates, passports, and military IDs. If you are traveling with a child that is not your own, be sure you have a notarized letter from the parent/guardian (if he/she is not with you) that you have the right to travel with this child. It also needs to say that you can get medical attention for the child. If you are traveling outside of the US, you need to have this letter in English and the language of the destination.
Family Travel Tips #8: Consider renting a condo, apartment, cabin, or house
There are a few benefits to this. First, you typically have more amenities (kitchen, more bathrooms, more TVs). Sometimes, you have more privacy. Often there are outdoor spaces you can use. You can also be a little louder with the family because you aren’t necessarily sharing a wall with someone else.
Here are a few places you can check out for renting something other than a hotel:
Family Travel Tips #9: Consider the abilities of all traveling
My family travels with my parents a lot. My dad is on a walker, and my mom is walking a little slower these days. We have to be sure that we have accommodations for both of them when we go into places.
Check for ramps and elevators. Be sure that everyone can do the activities you have planned.
Toddlers will get tired and want you to carry them. Babies will need to be pushed in a stroller, carried, or worn.
Are the activities and locations accessible to everyone in your party? Is there a way for people to rest if they need to?
Family Travel Tips #10: Pray
This is one of the first things that you should do. It is something you should do often, too.
Pray for blessings and safety on the trip.
Traveling with family can be fun. Plan ahead. Go through these tips and make sure you do all the things you need to do in order to have an exciting and safe adventure.
What other tips do you have for traveling with family? These are just a few of my family travel tips.
Enjoy your travels.