Encourage Their Inner Explorer. Safety may always come first, but you're not traveling far and wide just to put the kibosh on adventure. FamilyTravel.com's O'Rourke Hayes recommends, "While invoking proper safety measures, encourage your young travelers to engage his or her natural curiosity, push their own boundaries, and take increasing responsibility. This is the best way for you and your child to maximize learning along the way." And learning is exactly what family travel is all about—for parent and child.
Pack Smart. Be choosy about what comes along, and remember
that sometimes the simplest thing is the biggest lifesaver; Dubrow
always brings blue painter's tape to use for everything from making a
track for toy cars to baby-proofing. Another one of her favorite items
is a CARES harness
(she owns two), which weighs just 1 pound and lets you buckle a young
child into an airplane seat without bringing along a bulky car seat.
Under-plan. Let "under-plan" be your family's one-word travel mantra. Candyce H. Stapen, a family-travel author and producer of the FamilyiTrips
series of mobile apps, says to forget about doing it all: "It's not how
much of a destination you see, but how much you and your kids enjoy the
sites together. That special museum won't engage your grade-schooler if
it's the fourth facility toured that day. Allow time for the
Mom-of-three Debbie Dubrow of DeliciousBaby.com
adds, "Sometimes it can be difficult to just let things unfold
naturally, but the time you spend in local playgrounds or at the market
picking up a snack often helps connect you more deeply to the place you
Get them involved. From planning to packing, your kids' participation is key, says Lynn O'Rourke Hayes, editor of FamilyTravel.com and family travel columnist with the Dallas Morning News.
The mom of three sons recommends encouraging children to help research
family-friendly activities, giving them a map so they get a sense of
where they're going, and creating a list from which they can pack their
own clothes and carry-on. "The more the kids are involved," she says,
"the deeper the memory."
Nothing passes time like a nap. There was recently an article on Budget Travel about tricks to help kids fall asleep.
Check in with your child's teacher.
One great part about traveling during the school year with young
children is that a week of missed preschool or kindergarten isn't going
to derail their academic careers. Still, communicate to the child what
your plans are, and find out if your child might do a special
show-and-tell presentation with a favorite souvenir when she returns.
If you're looking for more tips from experienced parents, check out this Blog.