Traveling with small children can sound daunting. I know just getting my 4-year-old and 2-year-old ready to go to the park can be a half hour long process by the time everyone uses the potty, diapers are changed, toys packed, water bottles filled, and sunscreen applied. Getting two kids in their car seats can be another 30 minutes! While small children do require a lot of patience and extra baggage, they are also great travel companions as they are up for adventure and benefit greatly from new experiences. There are a few myths about traveling with children that don’t have to be your reality.
Myth #1: It’s too expensive.
It is indisputable that traveling with your children means additional costs but with some planning and research, it can be affordable to make your dream family trip a reality. Remember for purchasing airplane tickets, your children fly free as a lap infant if they are under the age of 2 years old. Also, there are many credit card rewards programs that offer travel incentives and rewards that allow your daily expenses to get you closer to a free airline ticket for your next family adventure. My husband and I have an Alaska Airlines credit card that gives us 1 mile for every dollar spent on the card as well as a companion fare ticket every year which means we can buy one airplane ticket and get the other for only the cost of taxes for that ticket. That is just one example of how to make travel more affordable for your family. There are other ways you can save when planning and budgeting your trip as well as while on vacation.
Myth #2: It’s too dangerous.
With the pandemic not quite behind us, it can feel too risky to venture out too far from home but taking precautions can help you prevent getting sick at home and abroad. And while all travel to any location involves a certain level of risk, doing your own research regarding potential destinations or enlisting the help of a travel agent to understand more about what kind of trip you’re looking to take with your family and decide on safe routes and places for your family to enjoy your trip. A travel agent would also be able to help you find ways to save on your trip expenses as well.
Myth #3: It’s too difficult.
As mentioned before, taking small children anywhere is a challenge but being prepared is the solution to minimizing the hassle of traveling as a family. Here’s a few Tips for Traveling with Small Children. I have learned that the way to enjoy traveling with your small children is to keep them engaged, fed, hydrated, and well-rested, which is not unlike traveling with adults!
Myth #4: There’s too much baggage.
Children do not require as much stuff to be happy as parents may think. As a mom, I am guilty of over packing to be ready for any possible situation that may come up. After a few trips and relocating a couple of times as a family, I’ve learned to make a list of things we use daily, cross out everything we can buy at our destination or live without for the length of our trip, and am left with the essentials we need to pack. Also, keep in mind, that toys and clothes from your destination make good souvenirs. Click here for a packing list to help get you started.
Myth #5: There’s no time to relax.
While a family trip will never have the same vibe as a couples or solo trip, traveling as a family comes with its own perks and benefits. You can get creative finding ways to enjoy your children but also connect with your partner while traveling. For example, if staying in a hotel room, get a room with a balcony where you can enjoy some fresh air and spend time reflecting on your day without disturbing your sleeping children. Or if you have a vacation rental, it’s easy enough to grab the baby monitor and continue your vacation after tucking in the kids. There are also a variety of activities that parents and kids can do together that allow everyone to relax or have fun together like an art or cooking class or maybe a trip to a botanical garden, the zoo, a park, or the pub. Kids and families are everywhere you go, so simply ask other people in the area you’re visiting for family-friendly places or events. You may make some special and unique memories in unexpected ways.
Overall, traveling with your kids may change your activities and schedule but will also change your perspective and can be a very enriching experience. Do your research, make a plan that’s a good fit for your family, and budget accordingly and you would be surprised at how many fears or concerns that keep families from traveling together are simply myths.