Updated: Jul 23, 2020
Travelling with the whole family for the first time can be overwhelming. Even if you think it gets easier the more you travel, each trip comes with its own new different set of challenges. Two things to keep in mind to make your travel more smoother, is to be as prepared as possible and know what you’re going into. We’ve put together tidbits of useful and easy-to-implement information to help you save a little time, money, and stress on your next family trip!
1. Pre-book as much as you can
When you’re travelling in a large pack, it’s important to pre-book as many activities as you can. This means going beyond just your flights. You no longer have the luxury of going to a place, getting a feel of the town, and then deciding where to stay - this just doesn’t work with kids! After hours of long transit, the best thing is to go straight to your lodging, drop your bags, and let the kids relax if needed. Having a pre-decided place to go to once you land also means you have one less thing to be stressed about while keeping your family fed, amused and happy on the trip.
Finding the perfect place for your family to stay is a crucial decision and one of the most important one you’ll make in trip planning. You’re probably looking for a hotel that's kid-friendly, with flexible rooms, 24/7 room service for emergencies, but also not too far from all the places on your itinerary. Through Port, you can get a live preview of the city you’re planning to visit (explained below) AND have the chance to speak with a knowledgeable local guide who is best-trusted to answer all your pressing questions, as well as provide you with the most efficient and cost-economical resources to check out!
2. Come well equipped with snacks
There is a fine line between kids can cross from being happy and content, to cranky and annoyed - this line is hunger. It’s hard to anticipate when time between meals can get extended, whether it’s from a delayed flight, or a show that ran overtime. There is also the likely possibility that your kids aren’t as adventurous as you to trying a new cuisine at a local restaurant. At all times, it’s crucial to be well equipped with sufficient snacks. Once your kids cross over to the dark side, it’ll be quite challenging to bring them back.
At the same time, to avoid too much unhealthy eating on the move, I’d highly recommend Smash Your Food. The game is a fun way to promote healthy food choices, and kids really love watching the smash videos.
3. Maximise discounts on the go
Travelling as a family of 4-6 people is going to be one of your more bigger expenditures in a year. It’s good to set a reasonable budget in advance during your trip-planning phase. However, you should also keep an eye out for child discounts on museums, amusement parks, and tourist attractions. It can help you cut down on a significant portion of your budget, and allow you to spend more on other activities. Whether you’re travelling with 1 kid or 4, taking a little time to do some research on these discounts can go a long way in your travels.
4. Avoid over packing
As parents, we have a natural tendency to want to prepare for every situation possible. This means you might be tempted to pack everything the kids use at home, just to make sure you have everything you could need. However, chances are that by the end of day, you’ll be expecting to carry one of your children, and it won’t help having to lug around unnecessarily heavy luggage at the same time. The key is to pack as little as possible, and if you really think something is needed on the trip, you can always buy it at your destination.
Before embarking on our family trips, we use our pocket travel packing assistant, Packing Pro to make sure we’ve packed just and only what we need. This app provides extensive packing lists for the entire family, including children, babies, adults, and even pets.
5. Explain to the kids what they’re going into
Uncomfortable kids are unhappy kids, and they’re being introduced to too many new things in one go, they tend to become very uncomfortable. It may seem silly, but try to include them in the trip-planning phase and explain as much of the trip to them as you can. This includes how much you’ll be on the move, the change in food and culture, as well as setting expectations of behaviour from them. A useful tool to help them better acclimate to the destination is to expose them to the city beforehand through a virtual tour. Port offers a variety of kid-friendly tours that are suited to help kids understand what kind of city they’re going to visit. Since it may be their first time travelling, they can also ask a local guide endless questions about the city to put them at ease. Port is a useful tool to incorporate in your trip planning, so reach out to us so we can curate a special tour for your loved ones.
6. Things WILL go wrong
Go on this adventure accepting that it's likely and okay if things go wrong once in a while. Maybe your kid has a little bathroom accident, or you miss an important train, or your kid drops your phone. Mistakes WILL happen and the sooner you accept the inevitable, the less stressed you’ll get when it happens. But for when times get tough, Calm is a great resource to help you with sleep, meditation, and relaxation.