This month I’ve joined with some of my fellow family travel bloggers on a blog hop. Each blogger has provided her top family travel tips so that you can jump from blog to blog and read all of our expert advice. Not only will you become a family travel pro, while you are at it you can enter to win a family travel prize package that will make the whole family happy!
Family Travel Prize Package
The family travel prize package includes a Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition tablet, Knomo Saxby 15” messenger bag, and a $25 Amazon gift card. The Kindle Fire HD Kids Edition tablet ($150 retail value) is a Kindle Fire HD 6 or 7 tablet, with one year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited with access to 5,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps and games, and a durable kid-proof case. The Kindle will fit easily in the Knomo Saxby 15” messenger bag in Army, which accommodates up to a 15” laptop with plenty of room to spare. Made from highly durable waxed coated canvas, Saxby is water resistant and offers elastic and zipped compartments for all your belongings ($199 retail value).
And now, I present to you….
1. Don’t plan too much. It’s tempting to try to cram in as much as possible, especially for those with limited vacation time. But, as most parents already know, when little kids are involved, plans tend to change. Families can outline the most spectacular itinerary for a trip but one meltdown or one earache can throw everything off. Instead, focus on a loose itinerary, factoring in extra time for naps and the aforementioned meltdown.
2. Opt for self-catering properties. Not to begrudge any of the marvelous family resorts and hotels we’ve visited, but I am a big fan of rental properties when traveling with children. Such accommodations usually allow for every member of the family to have personal space and it’s much easier to put the little ones down for a nap in a separate bedroom as opposed to a communal hotel room. The most valued feature for me is the option to make our own meals, especially breakfast. My kids want to eat and have their milk as soon as they wake up. I can roll out of bed and prepare something in my pajamas, instead of rushing to get myself and the kids dressed and out the door in search of sustenance. Plus, it’s more economical than dining out three times a day. In larger cities of the world, an apartment stay in a more residential area gives us a better chance to live like the locals. It provides a more authentic travel experience, and that’s really why we travel with our kids, isn’t it? To teach them about our world through real-life, first-hand educational experiences?
3. Prepare for medical setbacks. Especially when traveling to foreign countries, do some research ahead of time to become familiar with the location of hospitals or medical centers at your destination(s). Furthermore, take time to learn some medical terminology in the language(s) spoken at your destination(s). I speak from experience on this one. We were at the end of a three-week family trip to Italy, spending the last few days in Rome. My then-two-year-old daughter just stopped eating, ran a high fever, and was constipated. This went on for several days. I began to get extremely concerned because the fever was not breaking. I went to a local chemist (pharmacy) and did my best to explain to the chemist in Italian (he spoke no English) what was wrong with my daughter. I studied Italian and heard it spoken at home while I was growing up, but I’m pretty sure I never learned the word for “constipated”. It took some creative explanations and body language for him to understand, and then he directed me to the proper remedies. The next day, my daughter still was running a 103-degree fever and I decided it was time to start thinking about bringing her to an emergency room. I called our pediatrician at home in Chicago, via Skype, and my instincts were confirmed. I spent the next hour or so frantically searching for the nearest pediatric, urgent/emergency medical center (thank God for reliable wifi at our hotel), and was about to call for a taxi. I figured I’d check her temperature one last time before heading out and, miraculously, the fever had broken. The fever didn’t return so we did not need to go to the hospital after all, but what a scary thought. I learned my lesson from this experience and am better prepared now.
4. Do not be afraid of technology. It took some time for me to embrace this notion. I resisted technology like GPS for as long as possible, believing that the old-fashioned exercise of reading maps made me a “real” traveler. I held this uppity opinion until we traveled to places where maps were useless and asking for directions was impossible because we didn’t know the local language. To prevent further spousal arguments and inevitable panic attacks, I broke down and agreed to begin using GPS when traveling by car in foreign countries. I’ve come to realize that GPS is invaluable. It’s nerve-wracking enough to be lost in an unfamiliar place, but even more so when you’ve got a couple of scared and crying kids in the backseat.
5. Make it multi-generational. Having a grandparent (or other beloved, extended family member) along on your travels is rewarding and enriching. It’s a meaningful way to make new memories in special places. It also provides the family with options for babysitting and adults-only activities. My mom usually travels with us and offers to watch the kids at least one night while we’re away so my husband and I can go out to dinner together. Plus, you can’t go wrong with having an additional adult present to help deal with those impending meltdowns.
So, the giveaway….
How To Win
Just enter your contact information in the widget below and leave a comment on this post with your best family travel tip, or the tip that was the most useful for your family. You can get additional entries by commenting on the other posts in the blog hop, and/or by following these bloggers on Pinterest.
- You must leave at least one comment on one of the participating blogs to enter. Additional entries via commenting on other blogs in the hop are available to you.
- You will receive additional entries via “following” the other bloggers in the hop on Pinterest.
- This means each person is eligible for 14 entries (because there are 7 participating bloggers, with two ways to enter to win each.)
- PRIZES ARE ONLY ELIGIBLE TO SHIP TO THE CONTINENTAL U.S.
- The giveaway runs through May 11, 2015 11:59 p.m. EDT.
- Winners will be notified via email.
Don’t forget to visit these blogs for more great tips!