As we find safer ways to travel, more and more people are seeking to see the world again. And that includes families. By implementing a few old and new tricks, parents everywhere can breathe easy when planning and traveling with children.
Mareshia Henderson, 29, has been traveling with her oldest daughter since she was 4 years old. Now a mom of two, she’s learned one of the easiest ways to avoid stress while traveling with children is to pack light.
“I’d recommend traveling light,” Henderson said. “It’s a hassle when you’ve got so many bags, stroller, suitcases and trying to get through TSA and trying to get on the aircraft. It’s a lot.”
Like Henderson, Roniece Clower, 30, and her daughter also travel light when vacationing together. Depending on the time you’re traveling, she also suggests modifying your kid’s sleep schedule, so they can sleep during the commute. This means keeping them up late if you have a red-eye flight, or putting them down for a late nap if you are hitting the road in the evening.
“Keeping my daughter up late on some nights made a lot of our early morning flights a breeze,” Clower said. “She sleeps and wakes up in a different destination.”
Clower and her daughter have been traveling together since she was a little girl. A traveling duo, the pair have made it a point to incorporate family trips into their annual plans.
“Traveling has taught my kid and me so many things that parenting nor a school could have taught us,” Clower said. “Wandering the world teaches you so much about life, who you are, and what you want.”
Henderson also believes traveling is a vital part of her children’s upbringing and continues to find new out-of-town adventures on a budget.
“There are a lot of things that you can do to travel as a family without it being expensive,” Henderson said.
She recommends sitting down with your kids and creating a list of activities you both enjoy. From there you can build an itinerary that includes those things. She also says to reach out to attractions and check out restaurant menus in advance to accurately estimate how much money is needed while on vacation.
“I think that’s where a lot of parents come into snags or come into situations where things are more expensive or they think it’s one price and it’s another,” Henderson said.
When planning an excursion for your family, don’t be afraid to step outside the states and explore internationally. Shanea Crosby, 32, almost canceled her mother-daughter trip to Dubai out of fear of the unknown. But after some thought, she realized it was the best decision she could’ve made.
“Traveling to Dubai allowed me to face my fears of traveling out of the country by plane with my daughter alone,” Crosby said. “I almost canceled my time because I developed anxiety, thinking of everything that could go wrong. After praying constantly, I decided we were going, and it was the best trip I have ever taken, and the fact that I got to go with my daughter makes it even more special.”
Whether you’re traveling abroad or domestic, there are endless resources available to help you plan your trip and get the best deals for your family. Sites like Tripadvisor are great for finding activities, while a basic Google search of your destination can yield a plethora of potential itinerary ideas. Other sites like Expedia, Booking.com, and Cheap Caribbean are good for finding flight and hotel bundles for a reasonable price.
“Cheap Caribbean is the website where I booked my cruise and a lot of my international flights,” Henderson said. “They have a bundle for the flight and resort, and it’s cheaper going through them instead of a Carnival or Royal Cruise when taking a cruise out of the country.”
Even though some may say traveling with children is a hassle, it doesn’t have to be. By being innovative and resourceful when planning, a trip with your kids can not only be rewarding but can create memories that impact them for a lifetime.
“Through these travel experiences, I am teaching her to have self-discipline, love all people, and that if you dream it, you can achieve it,” Crosby said.