Family Travel Tips

Tired of hearing 99 bottles of beer on the wall for the umpteenth time? Plan before you lock that front door and you can have a ton of fun with those little ones. Seeing the world through their eyes will help make your adventure even more special.
Get them involved
Kids love to be in the know. Of course, it is always a lot of fun to surprise them with that trip to Disney World but even then you can get them involved. What kind of food would they like for dinner? What is the one thing that they absolutely have to do while away? Pull out the map and show them where they are going and tell them how long it will take to get there. This will help cut back on the are we there yet? statements.
Special rates for kids at a certain age
You can enjoy some great savings when traveling with the youngins. There is a growing trend in family-type restaurants who offer a kids eat free promotion, theme parks have great discounts for those under a certain age and even airlines are joining in on the money-saving train.
What to pack
It is hard enough to pack your suitcase but packing for junior can become quite stressful. I mean, you cant forget his or her favorite blanket and toy right? But there are some items you can leave behind. Many hotels provide playpens and theme parks do have strollers for rent. To ensure that you havent forgotten anything critical pack a few weeks beforehand and see if you can get through a couple of days living out of the suitcase.
Passports and consent
It is absolutely critical that you have a passport for each of your children, especially when crossing the borders. You might be able to get away with a birth certificate traveling within the boarders but it is always best to be as prepared as you can be. If possible, it is important to have a letter from the other parent stating that they are fine with you and your child traveling alone.
Traveling by car
If your method of transportation is road-based make sure you have an up to date map and carve out enough time for bathroom breaks. Beyond that though it is important to take the time to stop and smell the roses, or enjoy the view. Also, you can save some moola by bringing your own snacks for the trip. This also allows you to stand guard for their sugar intake, which is extremely important when your tikes are stuck in the car for a while.
Flying is a great way to travel with kids for the sole reason of it getting you to your destination more quickly. However, you dont have the luxury of stopping for breaks or getting distracted by the sites. By planning ahead you can ensure you and the other passengers enjoy the flight. Pack some of your kids favorite games and activities. Consider purchasing or borrowing a portable DVD player and make sure you have their favorite blankie along. Also important to mention are their little ears. The cabin pressure change can really be annoying for them so bring those sugar-free candies and gum along.
Choosing the right time to explore
Know your childs schedule and respect it. Dont go exploring during naptime or when they are hungry. Sure, theyre excited to be on a trip but they also need to get refueled. Your entire family will have a better time when everyone is feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. Not everyone on the same sleeping pattern? The littlest ones tend to be able to sleep anywhere, especially when someone is pushing them in a stroller.
Choosing the best place to eat
You and your spouse may want a five-star deluxe restaurant but they may not want you and your four kids. Besides, mealtime is a great time to recap what the day has held and whats all in store. This can get a little loud, and rightly so this is an exciting time for everyone. Cherish these moments your kids will be grown up and out of the house soon enough leaving you years to enjoy those five star establishments.
A growing trend is families bringing their own helper. Although you are paying for the extra airfare, meals and/or room, a pair of reassuring hands that you know can help you enjoy your trip as well. However, there are hotels that specialize in providing a kid-friendly atmosphere and have the help you need. Do whatever you feel the most comfortable with and what you feel your children will enjoy the most.
Eye spy with my little eye
You are not on your own turf when traveling with your family. The dangers that you have eliminated at home are no longer at bay. When you enter your hotel room make sure you spot the hazards and act accordingly. If you cant change whats wrong, get another room. Also, kids can easily get distracted and wander off on their own so keep a close eye on them.

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