Motherhood

16 Ways to Travel With Kids (And Enjoy It)

Budapest with kids

When brainstorming family trips, I sometimes think of that funny Onion article, “Mom Spends Beach Vacation Assuming All Household Duties in Closer Proximity to Ocean.” So, how can you get a family vacation to feel like a true escape — not just for kids, but for grown-ups, too? Here, experienced mothers share their tried-and-true tips…

Northern California beaches

Grand Canyon

From Kendra Smoot, mother of three (aged 2, 5 and 10):

1. I start packing the week before we leave. I set out a suitcase or start a pile out of the way, and when I think of something (bug spray, sun hat, headphones), I just pack it up instead of scrambling right before we leave.

2. Ever since I heard that anticipation is half the fun, we involve the kids in the planning part — learning a bit of the history of where we are visiting, what things we want to do there.

3. We bring headlamps. They’re so handy and comforting for kids when they’re in a new space, or when you are all sharing a hotel room with a sleeping baby, etc.

4. Eating out for every meal with kids can sometimes feel like a drag, so we buy groceries and cook — and save eating out for a few special restaurants.

How to Travel With Kids (And Enjoy It)

How to Travel With Kids (And Enjoy It)

From Linsey Laidlaw, mother of three (aged 3, 6 and 9):

5. My best advice for easing plane travel is to keep your kids nice and deprived any time they aren’t flying so you can lord the prize of screen time and snacks over them as a bribe for good behavior. We don’t give them juice in our normal life, so the promise of their own little can of cranapple is tantalizing.

6. I love that exploring a new city as a family gives us a truer idea of what it’s like to live there. With kids, we experience grocery stores and neighborhood playgrounds and local spots that we’d probably miss if we were on a grown-up trip. We shape the itinerary so that everyone can choose one activity per day, and we alternate between adult and kid picks. The rule is you have to be supportive of other’s picks. So, if you keep it together on Mom’s walk through the museum, you won’t be cut short at the park — and also your chances for ice cream will increase exponentially.

How to Travel With Kids (And Enjoy It)

From Brooke Williams, mother of one (aged 9):

7. On car trips, we listen to podcasts. Hours fly by like minutes. Tumble is a great kid-friendly podcast about science, and NPR has a whole directory of family podcasts. Then there are my favorite books on tape. We devoured the D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, which is read by Harry Belafonte, Kathleen Turner, Mathew Broderick and Paul Newman and might just be the Best. Audiobook. Ever. We also loved Wonder and A Wrinkle in Time. Oh, and we probably listened to The Little House on the Prairie 1000 times. Maybe more.

8. We try to rent apartments when traveling — it makes the pacing feel more human, and you can have that downtime at home. I like Kid & Coe for family-friendly houses in cool places. Plus, that way we’ll eat a good breakfast before setting out for the day. If Daddy makes pancakes, we’re all good!

Switzerland

Iceland pools

From Amanda Jane Jones, mother of two (aged 1 and 3):

9. We carry a big (thin, so it can be easily folded) picnic blanket that can be used for picnics in case the kids are too rowdy for a restaurant. It also can be used for naps in transit.

10. We have the most success when we plan outdoor adventures in nature. The kids are always 10 times happier on some sort of hike or beach or lake, so we try to work that into our days.

11. “Hangry” fits happened so often at the beginning of our last summer vacation, I quickly learned my lesson. Now I’ll pack sandwiches — croissants with tomato, mozzarella and arugula (the kids eat it without the arugula). Or if we’re in a rush, peanut butter and jelly.

How to Travel With Kids (And Enjoy It)

From Liz Libré, mother of three (aged 9 months, 4 and 6):

12. We bring a few things for indoor play (for early mornings, downtime and rainy days): A Koosh ball is great for tossing around, especially at the airport; it doesn’t bounce away, which is key. Plus, the games Rush Hour and Spot It. Also, on a recent trip, my friend recommended Perler beads, which were a HUGE hit with the kids. We were on the most beautiful beach in the world, and my son wanted to go back to the room to do Perler!

13. We love being outside but don’t want to get burned, so we wear brimmed hats and hooded sun shirts. Kids are always exposing their backs and necks, digging in the sand or playing on the ground, and these help keep sun off them without being too hot.

Rio Grande with kids

Rio Grande with kids

From Erin Jang, mother of two (ages 1 and 5):

14. I always like to tell my son, “It’s an adventure!” My dad used to tell me that growing up. Energy is so infectious. If I am stressed, impatient and cranky, my kids feel it and it can sour the moment for everyone. But if I’m amped up, the day becomes that much more fun. As a parent, you can spin anything — even the mistakes, the detours, the forgotten diapers! — into an adventure.

15. On our last trip, I gave our five-year-old the very important job of being our family travel reporter. To my surprise, he took it very seriously! I brought a notebook, scissors, tape, a glue stick and markers. He collected bus and museum tickets, asked for business cards at restaurants, and sought out other ephemera. He documented the most important events (i.e., all sugary treats he ate) and it was a great activity when we were waiting at restaurants or on long train rides.

16. Lastly, packing cubes! They’re the best! It makes it so much easier to pack and unpack all the kid’s clothes, and keep things organized when we’re traveling.


Yosemite

Of course, tricky things still happen on family vacations, but it’s worth it for the great moments, right? “We’ve had tantrums and time-outs all over the world,” says Linsey Laidlaw. “For us, this is an acceptable cost of business, and we figure if we are gonna learn to master these behaviors somewhere, it may as well be on the go.” Also, I loved this mother’s Instagram comment on vacation mindfulness: “Repeat after me: ‘I’m on vacation and I don’t care!'”

Are you taking any vacations this summer? Any other tips? I’d love to hear…

P.S. How to entertain toddlers on a plane, and 10 tips for traveling with a baby.

(Top photo of a family trip to Budapest by Erin Jang.)

  1. Jennifer says...

    Super post. Thank you all for sharing! Have done so much intl travel w/2 kids now aged 5 and 9. I second many ideas above and am delighted by the number of new ideas I’ve collected from your comments!
    Just back from a France-Cornwall road trip and the most essential tools were a sharp paring knife and sandwich baggies. Despite the thrill of eating out (which we don’t do much of in normal life), we all get tired of non home cooked/heavy food by about Day 2. Sliced apples, carrot sticks and cucumbers kept us all going. Discovering Tesco and Waitrose en route was part of the adventure. Also removed all restrictions on potato chip and candy consumption. Delighted by the kids’ excitement over this small change in rules.
    We downloaded their fave songs onto an old phone. They rocked out in the back seat while husband and I conversed and concentrated on left-side driving.
    We gave them free reign of the old digital camera thus have approx 1000 random pics, many of the back of our heads in the car. Magic when our 5 yr old declared Stonehenge to be The Most Boring Place On Earth. Seems it is less so when you’re in charge of photographing it!
    We let them buy postcards wherever we stopped. 80 cents=so much excitement.
    When staying just 1 night here and 1 night there, we stick with v basic hotels. At these ages the hotel itself is still super exciting, probably thanks to all the TV they want and being allowed to take a really long hot shower without parents reminding them how much water costs.
    Last note: I make sure to have a few homemade meals in the freezer (soup, goulash, stew….) for when we arrive home since I have no mind to cook yet all we all want is home cooked food.
    Next trip: My small luxe will be grocery delivery morning after arrival.

  2. Great tips. Something our family found worked really well when visiting Disney ( or any busy place), is having a theme park buddy (idea stolen from Toy Story), who we all paired up with. It meant no one got lost or left behind. 😎

  3. Lynda says...

    Would you have any tips dealing with 1) introverted toddler on a international trip and 2) toddler jet lag?

  4. Hey Joanne,
    Thanks for this post. I’m hoping to be a dad soon and started looking at mommy blogs. I’d never heard of Kid & Coe but will be looking for places on there. We like the quite type of vacations. Your tips such as snacks to avoid being hangry goes a long way and being outdoors is always a winner! Looking forward to traveling as a family.
    Cheers,

  5. I totally agree with balancing museum time with playgrounds. Also I’d say go as far as you can with hyping up your vacation location before you get there: books, movies, music. Even just google image searches, kids like to be a bit prepared for what they’re going to see. We’re living in Germany right now and do lots of day trips – whichever parent isn’t driving reads out some intriguing history bits as we get close.

    And of course, don’t get too hung up on the intinerary – sometimes it all goes pear-shaped and you spend two hours trying to buy replacement socks… it’s fine. Sometimes that’s fun too. It’s an adventure, as someone said above!

  6. Love it! We travel frequently with our 3 year old and 6 month old. Best tip I’ve got is to pack minimally and bring a foldable laundry bag to do laundry on your trip. Most dry cleaners have a wash and fold service and it helps not weigh you down with all the other kid gear that traveling with kitties requires!

  7. Chrissie says...

    My number one tip for traveling with three kids (ages 10, 7, and 3) is, when you’re not seeing the sites, doing the vacation-y things let them do whatever they want! We recently went to Puerto Rico with the kids and it was incredible. We were so busy going to the beach, checking out the sites etc that when we did have downtime: I let them do whatever they want! Mostly watching tv or video games. It’s their vacation too! Plus how am I going to get to read a book or lay around if I’m constantly initiating craft projects or bugging them to read.
    Secondly, I think traveling with friends who have kids is the best. The kids have other people to play wit plus it’s more fun after the kids go to bed and it’s just you and your partner up. As much as I love sitting next to my husband watching Narcos we can do that at home! I don’t need to watch Narcos on vacation..

    • Michaela says...

      I second the idea of travelling with another family or 2. On a recent trip to Paris, one parent would stay home with all of the kids (ages 7, 6, 5, 3) for bedtime while the other adults went for a nice French meal. Going out this way felt so luxurious and fun. It was kind of a bummer to be the one to stay home, but there was an unexpected added bonus of alone time. Reading a book alone is sometimes amazing.

  8. Sarah says...

    We traveled to Alaska with our 2-year-old and did not want to lug around our BOB and umbrella stroller was impractical because of the varying activities. What we did was stopped at Target brought a $13 doll stroller and had her push it with her stuffed animal. It kept her focused and walking straight and she did not realize how much she was walking. The stroller collapsed and fit in a backpack when it was rocky or going on/off transportation. I literally tossed it in the trash at the airport – it took a beating and was the best money we spent.

  9. Number 15 is a brilliant idea and would suit my 4 year old perfectly. I’m definitely trying that when we head to Spain in June.

  10. Paula says...

    I just returned from a 6hr flight with a strong-willed 2yr old who likes to scream both when she’s unhappy and when she’s ecstatic (on this trip was also my husband but he got to sit next to our super mellow and well behaved 6.5 yr old) and all these tips are fantastic. I do have to say this to all the moms traveling (and dads, but it seems to always be the moms doing the *crap* jobs ;) YOU GOT THIS.

    I was stuck in the middle of the 4 seats on the plane with the above mentioned 2yr old, next to complete strangers on either side. The woman to my right was petrified of flying so anytime my 2yr old did something wilder (and trust me, I managed to shush away EVERY crying spell) she froze and grasped the seat, while the 40-something male next to our left hated my child (again, she did awesome on the flight) and loudly asked the stewardess to move him to a new seat away from me and “that kid” – his words. That created for a hostile trip but I kept telling myself, you have every right to be on this flight, fuck these people. Because sometimes you really have to talk to yourself like an asshole to deal with the assholes. YOU GOT this ladies!

  11. Rachel Chrisman says...

    Liz Libré
    The Koosh ball tip is on POINT. My son is obsessed with throwing a ball (he’s 2) but it always rolls away. Know what I’m taking with us this summer!

  12. justine says...

    Joanna, this is a great article and the comments, my goodness. I will remember to come back here before our next family trip. What a treasure trove of good info. Thanks everyone.

  13. Lisa says...

    We did a lot of trips with our infant son, and these are the things I learned. Take as many bodysuits for the baby as possible (which isn’t a problem for packing as they’re small!) and try schedule in some time (especially for long trips) when you can do laundry as everything will get messy with a baby. We drove the Garden Route in South Africa (and then on to Cape Town) which normally would be insane with a baby, but worked well as we timed long car journeys to coincide with his naps (so we had a quiet journey and he had very long naps – win win!) and stayed in each stop for a couple of days. Make sure you also plan for some downtime – pre kids our trips were insane (India in two weeks for eg) but with the baby we had a couple of days of just hanging out and relaxing throughout the trip to reduce stress.
    It’s so worth it! Listening to him laugh as he splashed around in the lagoon in Knysna or his amazement at seeing REAL zebras at one of our hotels, as well as meeting all my family was completely worth it

  14. Heather Faase says...

    OH MY GOSH! Packing cubes! I had never heard of this. This could not be more perfect for us because we have three girls and we are moving to Switzerland! This is going to make our weekend adventures in Europe a million times easier. Thank you!

  15. Lizzy says...

    We have 4 kids so exotic travel is limited, but my number 1 tip for beach vacations is: bring the freaking nanny (and her boyfriend!). They enjoy a free room and meals at a beach cottage, we pay her for just a couple hours of blessed relief a day, and they both pitch in during the chaos of meal prep and bedtimes. It is so worth the cost of an extra bedroom and a few bucks a day.

    • Laura says...

      Curious about this – do you pay your nanny the same weekly rate or do you pro-rate it a bit since you’d be expecting her to be “on” for fewer hours a day?

  16. Sally says...

    this was such a helpful article. thank you. I would love to know where Erin Jang’s tent came from. love the colors of it. thanks!

  17. Monica says...

    3 things I loved about this article:

    1 – Idea #15 is perfection!
    2 – These words “We’ve had tantrums and time-outs all over the world” made me LOL!
    3 – Wonderful mantra for parents: “Repeat after me: ‘I’m on vacation and I don’t care!’” And the word “vacation” can be swapped out for other words during the rest of the year!

  18. sansi says...

    traveling with my children, age 7 and 9 is the joy of my life :)
    so far we’ve been to Hawaii, Canada, mexico, costa rica, south korea, Cambodia, Thailand and turkey! And we are headed to London and morocco tomorrow!
    They’ve had a chaotic upbrining having a dad who travels a lot for work and a doctor mom so they’re great with rolling with the punches :)

    here are my tips:

    1) vary up your kids routine before you travel, I have some friends who treat their kids like little robots :) “Oh no it’s 6:14, 4 minutes past jimmy’s dinner time, we have to leave RIGHT NOW!” shit can get cray when you’re traveling and that’s part of the fun, but you can’t be too rigid with your schedule, it’ll make you crazy
    2) get a room with a living room area, or a white noise machine, you don’t want to sit in silence while your kiddos are asleep early :)
    3) forget going out for dinner, after a full day out kids are usually BEAT, and dinner out is a punishment :) eat at 5 pm, and order room service or get a to go box for yourselves
    4) I second the comment about depriving the kids of tablet time except on transit :)
    5) save some books to read for the way home! pack them in the suitcase and unveil on the way back
    6) for short flights don’t unpack all their stuff, bring an adult coloring book, get some great markers and color with them
    7) trip advisor EVERYTHING, make a list of 10 or 20 places/things you want to go to rather than sticking adamantly to a schedule of activities for the day, try to alternate between sitting down activities and running and walking around ones :)
    8) Buy a cheap digital camera and see the world through their eyes :) pricesless
    9) have them each learn a few phrases for the place your going and take turns reading aloud about the history of the place from your travel guide.
    10) my kids love tours so we go on lots of guided tours through palaces and ruins etc
    11) stop for snacks OFTEN
    12) Don’t stress about what they are eating etc, our rule is they just have to try it!
    13) Model good polite behavior, make sure your kids are extra polite (I tell them they are America’s representatives!)
    14) Pack clothing in a roll for each kid, rolled up pants, shirt, underwear and socks, that way they just grab their roll on the way to the bathroom!
    15) get the same souvenir EVERYWHERE. they have sooooo many key chains now its fun and cheap :)
    16) uber when tired, just do it
    17) get lost a little, it can be half the fun
    18) use the opportunity to talk to your kids like grown ups over cups of tea or hot chocolate, you’ll be amazed at their observations!
    19) save travel ‘scraps’ ticket stubs etc in a 12 x 12 x 2 mailer box, they stack nicely and the kids can open them and look back!
    20) write a post card to yourself!
    21) free breakfast at the hotel is PRICELESS, rounding up hungry kids in the morning is the worst.
    gosh so many more!

    • justine says...

      Wow – these are great tips, thanks for sharing!

  19. I travelled in South America for 5 months with an infant & 4 year old. A few things that helped me:

    1/ a diaper cover over the disposable diaper to prevent leaks (and worse) from wrecking her outfit and mine.
    2/ journals (half lined, half blank) for my 4 year old. we worked on journal entries together and our entire trip from Chile to Colombia is documented through his eyes in over 100 entries. it’s the most meaningful keepsake from our entire trip.
    3/ a shock proof, dust proof, water proof camera for my 4 year old. i could give him challenges like: take one picture for every colour in the rainbow, take 10 pictures of 10 different things that are blue, take 5 pictures of things that start with A, take a picture of the best / worst / weirdest thing in this room, take pictures of things we don’t see in Canada, etc.

    • Noreen says...

      I LOVE the camera idea….especially the challenges. We’re headed to St. Thomas with a 18 month old and a 4 1/2 year old…totally stealing this idea.

    • Geny says...

      Great ideas! Could I ask which camera and journal you had purchased specifically? Leaving for the Greek Islands with my 4 and 6 yo in June :-) Thanks!

    • hi there –

      The journal we travelled with: http://www.staples.ca/en/Hilroy-Exercise-Book-1-2-Interlined-1-2-Plain-9-1-8-x-7-1-8-72-Pages/product_739312_2-CA_1_20001

      We travelled with a few books. I originally thought we’d need 1 page per day but that was a slight over estimate.

      The camera: Fijifilm FinePix XP120. We put a carabiner on the lanyard so that it could clip to a life jacket easily for snorkelling and swimming. We also clipped it to the chest strap of his daypack for easy access on hikes, horseback rides, market days, etc.

    • justine says...

      Wow, awesome.

  20. Love all the tips! We take a lot of road trips and car camp. When we stop in a town to eat, go potty or get gas, I try to find a Dollar Store and take my 5 year old daughter. I give her $5 so she can choose 5 things to keep her distracted in the car. Last time she bought gel cling stickers and it kept her busy sticking them to the window while keeping my 18 month old very amused… We live in Montana so going anywhere is far but beautiful and we drive a volkswagen bus (speed is not an option…) So when the kids start to get bored we say: “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey…” ;)

  21. Susie says...

    We recently took our 5 and 2 year old to New Zealand. I was scared for the overnight flight. I found a review of these inflatable foot rest type things online. You inflate them and place them between the end of the seat and the seat back in front. It turned the row we were occupying into a little crib like area. Both kids were able to lay flat across the seats and inflated bed area once the arm rests were up. It worked great and the kids slept all night. I have told all my friends and they borrow the inflatables when they travel now too. Parent win!!

    • Stacey says...

      I’ve heard about these, great to hear from someone who has used them. I’m in the UK, will be doing a 14 hr flight alone with 2 and 5 yr old, siiiiiiiighhhhhh. Would you say it’s practical for one person to manage carrying them and everyone/thing else? It would be helpful to know what brand you bough, if you dont mind? Many thanks! x

    • Sally says...

      I need to know more. link??

    • It’s called the Fly Tot. I’ll be flying with a 6-month old baby, she won’t be able to use it, but I may get it for myself. I’m small and could probably fit in it! https://www.fly-tot.com/

  22. Ramona says...

    My favorite is to visit friends who have kids around the same age. I’m lucky to have a few close friends who live in interesting places and are generous about inviting us to stay in their houses with them. It’s the best…if you forget something for your kid they have it, their houses are already child-proofed and full of toys, they know all the good playgrounds and kid-friendly places, and after the kids go to bed the adults can all have fun together or can take turns staying with the kids so everyone can have a date night.

  23. Elle says...

    No tips for vacationing with kids from me, as I’m child-free, but I will share my philosophy about kids screaming their heads off on planes and in airports. I try to be grateful to that child for expressing everyone’s collective feelings about the misery of coach class and passport lines. I wish I could scream my head off, too, sometimes, but I’m married to an adult, so I can’t. But instead of being annoyed, I’m empathizing with that kid all the way.

    That “Onion” headline reminds me of my mother-in-law’s description of her summer vacations when her sons were small: “A change of sink.”

    • Paige says...

      I appreciate this so much, since my daughter screamed for our entire 3 hour flight last night. It’s a mortifying experience as a mother, to be unable to sooth my child and disrupt an entire aircraft of people. But, of course, children feel as stressed as we do on flights, without the capacity to understand the emotional exhaustion.

      Thank you for being an ally!

    • Mary says...

      Brilliant!

    • Leanne says...

      I second Paige’s thank you!!! Our 18-month old recently screamed during the entirety of an hour delay on the tarmac and another 2 hours in the air. Of course he finally conked out on my husband’s shoulder as we landed. Thankfully our 3 year old was an angel and the folks around us were super supportive. It’s stressful, and I’m always so grateful to people like you who make it a little less crummy-feeling.

  24. Capucine says...

    These tips feel really centered around the kids. If I may –

    – My husband and I structure timing so when camping we cook together and break down the tent together. TOGETHER. It’s easier and more efficient to divide and conquer, but – TOGETHER.

    – When camping, we keep out one mat so after the kids are asleep in the tent, we can have sex under the moonlight before turning in.

    – I get a window to be alone with a place; maybe after breakfast camping, maybe for a whole morning once a week in Europe.

    – In Europe, I get to clothes shop solo one afternoon while the kids go to cafes and kid stores in the neighborhood with my husband.

    – My husband gets a slot to take landscape photos, that we agree about, not spontaneously.

    – I keep the kids away during the aperitif hour at least twice per trip so my husband can talk to his parents uninterrupted.

    – Call it ‘traveling’ or a ‘trip’; avoid the word ‘vacation’, it conjures images of the trip you are not having.

    Those things help us feel like a loving team instead of – well, we all know what the alternative feels like!

    • justine says...

      Not using the word ‘vacation’ – wow. Never would have thought of that…. smart.

  25. Alexandra Marie says...

    This was pre-device era, of course, but my mom was a genius at packing my sister and I each a little backpack for the plane. We weren’t allowed to touch the contents until we were in the air, but there were always fun activity pads, stickers, a Wooly Willy, maybe a coloring book with a Color Wonder-esque marker that I thought was magical. It made me *so excited* to get on the plane and I was kept pretty busy. I realized recently that I still do this for myself, to an extent– I’ll treat myself to a magazine I want to read but I won’t open it until the plane takes off.

  26. I travel by plane about once a month with my 18-month-old daughter, and while I’ve learned a lot of tricks, nothing is more important than this: plane travel (or travel in general) is not the time to be a star parent. There are exceptions to every rule and they all happen on airplanes. If my kid has a meltdown at home, we have structure, discipline, dialogue…on a plane, she gets an iPad and treats. Transportation, especially public, shoves all ideals out the window. It becomes about (both of us) staying happy and calm and ALIVE.

    • Mila says...

      I wish more moms were like this. I appreciate they are screen-free family, but plane-rides should be an exception. It’s not just about the child, there are a lot of people cramped in a small space.

  27. LOVE the family travel reporter idea! And those packing cubes!

    In a couple of months we’ll be relocating and driving cross country, coast to coast with our 2 1/2 and soon to be 4 year old. I decided I’ll turn it into a “cross country treasure hunt” with new bags of goodies to be found at each stop with novelty items to help entertain them in the car, and maps to give them a sense of what we’re doing. (I’m really trying to use this opportunity to teach them a bit about geography. Right now they’re getting into a little puzzle of America and playing “drive to California” on their IKEA road rug.)

    In their first bag of goodies I plan on giving them kids digital cameras to document the trip and I can’t wait to look back at from their perspective! We are definitely also adopting the “adventure” attitude with this trip. Hoping they get hyped up on a sense of discovery 😊

  28. Ingrid says...

    We took our 7-month old on a trip to the South over the summer. It was soooo hot. Two things felt like the most incredible vacation hacks. First, we found the nice libraries. They are free air conditioned places with the best people! Sybil got to play and we got to chat grown-ups (so rare on a family vacation!) Of course local parents had the best recommendations for baby-friendly restaurants etc. Second, biergartens. I think babies are happiest and most calm outside. So, going to a biergarten was delicious and chill for us and super fun for her. Plus, I found a couple with misters. What better way to end a hot day?

    • Colleen says...

      Love these!

  29. Hannah B says...

    Some great ideas here that I will be incorporating! I especially love the idea of tasking a child with being family reporter – five year old me would have totally eaten that up!

  30. Emily says...

    I find the key to being a mom also enjoying vacation is staying at hotels, not in rented homes. When we vacation in rented homes, someone has to cook! And someone has to clean up…

    My advice as a seasoned work traveler and mom to a fairly seasoned 9 year old traveler is to make the getting there part fun. I pack special treats and snacks for on the plane. Headphones go in carry-ons and we try to fly Jet Blue — we don’t have cable at home and it’s fun to watch their channels! We also pick out a book at the airport to read on the airplane. I also find with kids-sometimes the most simple parts of a trip can be the most fun. My son LOVES hotel pools. In fact, he could spend half a day just hanging by the hotel pool. I always allow time for this. I’d be inclined to go, go, go-on every tour, eating at all the special restaurants I want to try or visiting unique shops. But traveling with him I have to slow down and give him time to just be in his natural state of wonder. We also plan our trip together, googling “things to do in x city with kids” and he spends some time exploring his options. He picks two or three activities and maybe one restaurant and then I pick a few. Next up for us is a week-long trip to Seattle. We can’t wait!

    • Kim says...

      I totally agree. When I go on vacation I want my meals prepared and I want maid service. Air BNBs, cottages, and cabins (no matter how scenic) are a not my idea of a vacation for this reason. Also agree about the hotel pool. They are most kids’ favorite part of the trip.

  31. Heather says...

    Love all these comments! A few more:
    (1) if you’re driving, Stories podcast is EXCELLENT.
    (2) wet bags for if your kid ruins an outfit while you’re out, or just for dirty laundry. I like these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00BZ7G3IA/ref=mp_s_a_1_16_a_it?ie=UTF8&qid=1491918377&sr=8-16&keywords=wet%2Bbags%2Bfor%2Bcloth%2Bdiapers&th=1&psc=1
    (3) have diapers delivered to your destination. We usually get an airbnb and then I’ll ask the owner if I can have something delivered there, and then I’ll order diapers and pouches to be there when we arrive. Saves a ton of packing space and a journey to the local target when you arrive. Last summer we even had a pack n play delivered to the airbnb bc they only had one (we have twins) and we didn’t want to deal with hauling a heavy pack n play along with everything else when a new one on Amazon prime is $40. We donated it to the airbnb when we left.

  32. marianne says...

    We recently went to Italy with our 9month old and didn’t bring a stroller. People thought we were crazy but it was the best decision ever. With a carrier such as an ergo, we got to see sooo much more and explore the country without any restrictions. Europe has narrow streets and lots of stairs.. we would of only had seen a third of everything with a stroller. Also booking an Airbnb and only packing​ a few outfits each allowed us to do laundry and travel light!

  33. Emily Hill says...

    Can you pls let us know the locations of these pics?

  34. Mayfly1983 says...

    We have a 3.5, 2, and 8 month old and have kept up a pretty routine travel regimen. Next month we are all heading to Belize. All of these tips are wonderful. But one that has been a game changer?

    Bringing Nana along.

    Soooo lucky to have a lovely, energetic MIL.

  35. 1. Go every year! Whatever you can afford. Then the glorious AND heinous moments become part of the lovely story of “our family vacations”. 2. Try staying in modest hotels/motels–that’s how mom and dad get an actual vacation!!! Worth Every Penny. 3. Ditto for restaurants and delis. Kids are allowed to eat whatever they want, even just bread and butter, white rice, plain noodles–no pressure to eat the rainbow or try something “scary”. Nobody ever starves. 4. Each one directs the itinerary of an entire day. If you don’t totally dig your brothers day at the pool followed by pjs, pizza delivery & movies in bed…good news! Tomorrow is your day to take us to the cactus garden and the hello kitty store. Mom gets the art museum & award winning bakery; Dad chooses a hike or the beach. Everybody’s happy eventually. It was so successful, my 30 yr old kids are adventurous travelers & eaters, and have shared our golden vacay system with their partners, even though they don’t have kids yet :-)

  36. Jen says...

    I don’t have kids but my parents raised my brother and I overseas and spent many long hours with us on transatlantic flights. My mom lives by these three travel tips:
    1) Bring wet wipes
    2) Every kid gets their own Walkman/CD player/iPad/whatever. Screw screen time limits. This is a 15 hour flight and that is not the cross you want to die on.
    3) Get a hotel with a pool. Kids love pools and it’s a great way to kill a few hours before bed.

  37. Pencils and notebooks always a hit when eating out and staying in an apartment always more relaxing. Kids can have breakfast as early as they like and no rush to get going. This way we don’t spend all day out sightseeing and tempers not fray!

  38. Elena says...

    I come originally from Budapest and can tell that the Széchenyi Bath (top photo) is truly amazing. It´s also open until quite late in the evening so you can sit in the pool when the lights go on around. It´s mesmerizing. But: I would not recommend going there with small children. Most of the locals go there with a doctor´s subsciption for a cure. So it´s for relaxing. There is no pool for children either to play in. It´s forbidden to jump in the water from the poolside. And most of the pools are very warm and you should not stay in the water longer than 20 minutes. You can get a circulatory collapse if you stay in there too long. So I don´t think it´s much fun for kids. But for adults it´s absolutely a must see!

  39. These are all excellent tips! I would also add that any vacation involving a road trip is great. The car acts like a large, roving stroller that you can put everything you might need into and have it with you all the time. It’s a safe place where you can strap the kids in and know they’ll be still and safe and will actually sleep and you can get a bit of rest and not worry. We took one very memorable trip with our 4 and 2 year old boys through Slovakia and Czech Republic and we drove from castle ruin to cute town, to our next AirBnB and it was marvelous. Now that we have 3, it’s still the way to go.

  40. Cindylouwho says...

    I’ve made a rule for kids (and husband) that I am not responsible for packing anything. Obviously this works for older children and self reliant husbands. I tell them that I’ll put something next to their luggage but not IN their luggage. That way I don’t have to hear “you forgot to pack my…” because it puts the responsibility in each person to make sure their favorite thing is packed.
    Another trick is that when everyone is tired and short tempered I make up outlandish stories about things we see in our travels. The more sleep deprived I am the crazier the yarns I tell. Then everyone starts adding bits to make the story crazier and we all end up laughing. It really breaks the tension and the stories end up being part of our memories of the trip.

    • Maya says...

      I love this! Thanks!

    • Summer says...

      This is the most genius thing I’ve ever read (not a mother, but was raised by one I continually like to blame stuff on :P).

  41. One of my biggest anxieties about having kids is the impact it may have on my travel. These tips definitely relieved some of it :)

  42. Sarah says...

    This is so encouraging! We’re on the verge of booking an overseas trip with our almost 2 year old who has just started having tantrums, so I’ve been wondering if we should really pull the trigger. We’ve done a few domestic trips with her and all have turned out amazing. She’s very active, so as long as we let her run around in parks, walk along streets with us, and move as much as possible she’s done really well on our trips. We do lunch picnics often, which is helpful. And yes to stickers. All the stickers. And as a last resort- Mickey or Frozen on the iPhone/iPad.

  43. Lisa says...

    Kids are very adaptable, so you can bring them everywhere! I’ve been traveling with my family since I was a year old, and now as a grown up I have talked to my parents about it a lot. My moms words: “of course there were tantrums and break downs, but most of the time it was just a nice holiday. Special rules were enforced for holidays, and rules from home were left at home. For example: an ice cream a day is a rule on holidays, junk food as sodas and chips were ok even if they were never allowed at home.” I also remember mom and dad preparing us slot before, talking about what we would do, if it’s going to be hot weather, is there a swimming pool? How many ice creams are we going to have? What language do they speak? Are we going to buy a new pair of sandals while away? A lot of things to be excited about!

  44. Laura says...

    My one (not terribly practical) tip is go somewhere where the people love babies & kids. We landed in Rome after an overnight flight–on which no one slept–with a 9 month-old, 2 year-old, and 5 year-old. The baby was crying, and they rushed us to the front of the passport line–like it was obvious that’s what should happen with people with babies. We also skipped some lines on our way out of the country, due to said baby. That would NEVER happen in the U.S. In Tuscany where we were staying, people always offered to hold the baby, or provided toys for the kids at restaurants, etc. That was great. One thing I didn’t think of until we encountered it was that some cultures are religious about mealtimes (like France), and when we were in Martinique, we literally could not eat lunch or dinner at any restaurant outside of the set hours for those meals. If you have kids who are used to eating dinner at 5 and going to bed at 7 and can’t adjust in a matter of days, that can be problematic.

  45. Susan M. says...

    On top of staying in an apartment, having it near some kind of playground is great for the younger crowd as they need sporadic exercise and don’t necessarily need a lengthy hike or outing. It was so great to have a playground across the street from us on two different trips to Holland (when kids were 3 and 6) and Vancouver (when kids were 1 and 4). We used the playgrounds several times a day, and it seemed that exercise just helped to get some of the fidgets over with when we had bigger outings to make by car or train. Bonus — the kids get to socialize with other kids, and if you have just one child on the playground, friendships can be created quickly. And you meet nice local parents quickly:) Love this post. I’ve picked up so many good tips, many of them useful for everyday life, too. I’m into as many audio suggestions as possible. Highly recommend the July Blume Fudge series, and her other series, The Pain and the Great One. Our kids were riveted. Now starting The Magic Treehouse series.

  46. Christine says...

    So many great comments here! We had little choice (well, I guess some) to travel with our newborn baby. My husband and I were both in out-of-state weddings, back-to-back, when our son was 5 weeks old. At first I was daunted by driving across the country with an infant, but I now realize that it was probably the easiest possible time to travel with him. Yes, we had to stop frequently to nurse and change diapers (and I pumped in the car), but babies that little just sleep. so. much. Like, 75% of the 13-hr drive. That was probably the easiest I’d ever have it traveling with an infant! Also, although it’s hard to know what impact those trips had, he seems (at 8 months now) hardier and more adaptable than other infants his age. And we have great pics and video of him (asleep) in front of Niagra Falls, our half-way/overnight stop.

  47. Andrea says...

    My husband and I have always loved to travel, so we made a deal to not let having kids stop us, and continue to make travel a priority. Our children are now 10 years and 8 years old, and we have been traveling with them since they were babies. It has been as simple as a weekend getaway an hour’s drive away, to several international trips to Asia and Europe.

    I agree with many of the tips here, and what works for us:

    – If possible, stay at a rental through Airbnb, Vrbo, etc. Having access to a kitchen allows us to prepare simple meals, and save money from eating out at every meal. We love shopping at the local market to try regional snacks and foods (an adventure in itself!). We also stock up on yogurt and cereal for breakfasts, and bread, cheese, and fruit for lunches and snacks.

    – In major cities, we also try to stay in places near public transportation and plan walking days to take our time and explore different neighborhoods.

    – When the kids were younger, we saw one big thing a day, or spread it out between a morning outing and an late afternoon/evening event. This pace allows time for rest, play/pool, and naps, and prevents melt-downs. We also made time for lots of local parks and gardens at this age.

    – Now that they are school age, we let them each choose one reasonable activity they would like to do during the trip. This gives them the responsibility to research cost, location, etc. We also let them lead the way as far as finding our flight gate at the airport and use maps once we reach our destination.

    – We try to instill the importance of being a visitor in a foreign country. We learn basic phases (hello, please, thank you), and attempt to adhere to cultural norms. The kids have fun practicing their new words with the locals and participating in their customs.

    – Things will happen unexpectedly, and we just try to make the most of it! We were delayed in London for 24 hours, so we tried afternoon tea and fish and chips. We had a flat tire en route to a beach in Puerto Rico, and the locals were kind and helpful. My daughter was sick during a weekend in Los Angeles, but we were grateful to have some down time.

    You will not get to see everything on your personal wish list, and you have to make a few adjustments depending on their age. You will, however, be rewarded with unexpected memories you would not have had otherwise, by slowing down and experiencing everything from your children’s point of view.

  48. Katherine says...

    I have a three year old and we love taking day trips. We live in Virginia near some Civil and Revolutionary War Sites. Many are located near bodies of water. We pack a lunch, walk along the shore, and ride the free trolleys that take visitors from one site to the next. My son loves riding the trolley and we love getting out of town for a short while as a family.

  49. Melinda says...

    Two-gallon ziplock bag packed with the child’s complete outfit for that day plus a small toy, sticker book, etc. This worked especially great for Daddy who took our daughter on her own trip with him to Glacier. An ace-in-the whole for appeasing hangry kids is tortillas and a jar of peanut butter. Easy to pack in mom’s backpack and quick protein. We also often travel with licorice and/or Oreos. A treat but won’t melt in backpack.

  50. Holly says...

    Packing cubes, yes! Beach vacay…just dig them a hole (first heard about the beach hole here…has been a success from Florida to Australia)!

  51. Claire says...

    TSA Precheck! It makes the security experience so much easier.
    Also, most people won’t remember (or even notice) someone else’s fussy kids on a plane. I remind myself that to allievate stressing about something beyond my control.

  52. Rebecca says...

    These photos are so good! Would you ever do a post about taking good vacation photos?

  53. Angela says...

    I’m still cackling over Linsey’s “keep the nice and deprived” comment. I’m traveling with my 3 year old son and 11 month old daughter on Wednesday and my son is amped to watch a show or three and have juice because apparently he is nice and deprived. Lol

  54. One of the best vacations of my life was taking my daughter, age 10, to Beijing for a week, just the two of us. My husband and son had an equally great time visiting family in Texas. While it seemed strange at first, to travel apart, we each had such a great time one-on-one with our kids. My daughter and I climbed along the Great Wall, ate Beijing duck, got lost in the hutongs and totally flopped in our hotel and ate a bag of Fritos. It was the trip of a lifetime, and while we missed our boys, it was real bliss just being us girls. In the end, travel with kids is exhausting and hard…but man is it worth it!

  55. Sheng-Ying Lin says...

    If possible, travel with friends whose kids are friends with your kids! This might work only for something like a summer camping trip or something domestic like that, but if you are really looking to just relax and enjoy (versus broadening your horizons, etc.), having friends around for everyone makes the vacation a true vacation. Bonus: if you and your partner want to spend some time together without kids, there is built-in childcare swapping.

  56. Eliza says...

    Fantastic post!

  57. Arwen says...

    Fantastic tips! Just bought the packing cubes on Amazon. We’re traveling to Austria from California with our disabled 6 year old and 2.5 year old in May. We’ve done Nicaragua, Maine and Arizona before now, but this will be our farthest with the two kids. I would say 1.) just go! and 2.) take what you need, but try not to pack too much and spring for an apartment where you can do laundry. Getting through the airport/train station/new city with a ton of luggage, strollers and the bane of all traveling parents, car seats, is absolutely exhausting. Try to do 1 big bag to check, a backpack for you and a backpack for you kiddos. Also, pack a small baby monitor. You can hang out in the yard, or, like we did in Nicaragua, on the beach outside the house while the kids are snoozing 10 yards away. Finally, for the littles, we’ve found the Mountain Buggy nano stroller to be absolutely AMAZING; super lightweight, holds my six year old, folds up small enough to be a carry on, reclines flat, etc. Can’t recommend it highly enough. Thanks for the wonderful content, as always.

    • Christy says...

      Wow did you say the stroller holds your 6 year old?! That’s an endorsement for traveling with tired kiddos! Going to look at it now..

  58. Amy says...

    We just came home from Punta Cana with a five-year-old and a nine-month-old. Our flight home was delayed about an hour, the plane was HOT, our baby was teething and had skipped a nap – the perfect storm for crying. And cry he did. He was totally inconsolable – red face, sweating, the whole nine. I was mortified at being *those people* with the screaming kid on the plane. But when I looked around, I realized everyone had headphones on. People were just watching movies, listening to music, whatever. Nobody was listening to our kid screaming except us. Eventually we all relaxed, he fell asleep, and I’m sure by the time we landed everyone had forgotten about our son’s wailing.

  59. kay says...

    Literally, my husband just came home and we started sharing concerns/hopes for our first vacation with our 14 month old (Greece next month, YES!) as I was opening my laptop to check out today’s blog post: this post is very timely! And WOW those photos :-)
    xx

  60. Tina L. says...

    Love and use a lot of these ideas regularly. I have three kids, ages 9, 11 and 22, currently. 2 of 3 children have motion sickness issues -definitely stock up on the airsick bags, and bring extra changes of clothing (we also don’t travel without Bonine/Dramamine). We always schedule outdoor time (especially soccer time for our son – so cool to see him playing soccer with kids from wherever we’re visiting. Not speaking the same language has no bearing on the play/game). We found one other trick worked especially well for us: Get a hotel or rental house with a pool or spa, if at all possible. Something about the promise of swimming or going in the spa at the end of a long day was really great for our kids. Sometimes we’d even take a dip in the middle of the day to break up the sightseeing or museums. Plus, kids sleep REALLY well after swimming :) Also, because of the gap in age with our kids, my husband and I would each get a day with our teenager alone. I would usually take her shopping -not always something we got to do alone, and my husband would do something more adventurous with her, like Ziplining.

  61. Elizabeth N. says...

    We just took the kids to the Big Island for a week. One thing I did differently with packing this go around was putting a days worth of clothes for each kid in individual freezer bags. They both had about 5 bags (youngest had a few extra because he is way more messy). There are bags out there that would take up less room but I happened to already have these and they are easily reusable. It really cut down on mismatched clothes and suitcase clutter.

    • Elizabeth N. says...

      One more tip. We once got a huge pack of sunscreen at Costco years ago that came in a nice reusable plastic bag. We took this on vacation filled with the adult sunscreen, the kids sunscreen, bug spray, and hand sanitizer. It keeps us from forgetting one of those items and keeps everything handy enough to quickly throw in whatever bag we are taking that day.

  62. Loved this post…audio books and packing cubes sound great :)

  63. Megan says...

    Totally boring tip, but ThinkBaby (also ThinkSport) makes the best sunscreen for little ones. Fun fact – the ThinkBaby and ThinkSport kids versions are exactly the same thing, they just changed the label because kids did not want to wear BABY sunscreen.

    (and no, I don’t work for them. We’ve just tried EVERYTHING on our sensitive kiddo.)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      thank you, megan! that’s really helpful.

    • Heather says...

      I agree! The best non-nano sunscreen and it smells so nice!

  64. Amy says...

    My advice is re-visit the places you went before you had kids. Pick your favorites, of course. It is a totally different experience seeing a place through your child’s perspective. We took our 7 year to Paris for 2 weeks last summer and it was amazing. There was no pressure to check off “must see” sites because we had been to Paris before! We visited parks, walked around the city, ate croissants every day. A second bit of advice: plan only one thing each day (museum, cathedral, monument, etc) and keep your schedule flexible.

  65. Deanna says...

    I have no children, but I’m a travel agent, and my best piece of advice is if you can afford to get your child under 2 their own seat, do it, especially for long flights. The bassinets go to the youngest children on the plane, and an 18 month old won’t fit anyways. Flights kind of suck to begin with, and it’s not more fun with 20 pounds of human squirming on your lap, or an infant you’re terrified to wake up. Get them a seat, and at least you can strap them into their car seat!

    • Katie says...

      My sister and her husband just did this with their 6 mo. old, and she was so happy that they did. It was a 4.5 hour flight, and worth the extra expense and room to them.

    • I do have kids and I absolutely agree with this comment. Mine are also far more likely to sleep in their own seat than on my lap.

    • Ciara says...

      For those (like us!) who can’t always afford to purchase a seat for under twos, my advice would be to ASK at check-in if they can block off a seat for your under two in the event that the flight isn’t fully booked. We frequently travel with our three children (6,4,2) and have had a free seat for an under two more often than not when the flight wasn’t full.

  66. Nathalie says...

    We just took our kids, 12 and 6, to the Italian Riviera. Awesome, right? But it’s a 10 hour car drive (one way) and our kids get car-sick. I’ve learned not to take snacks or books but we loaded up on music and travel sickness chewing gum. It went relatively well on the way there, but on the way back our youngest decided she hated the gum and would rather throw up. So she did.
    My tips: Every time I fly I take all the air-sickness bags I can for later use in the car – they always come in handy (unfortunately).
    Our kids have different taste in music and instead of insisting that we take turns, we now let them have their own mp3/cd players. So peaceful.
    Italy with kids was wonderful and I think it was largely due to the food. Pasta! Pizza! Gelato! There wasn’t one food-related complaint all week.

  67. Katie says...

    My #1 tip? When I was 19 I traveled for six weeks through Europe as a nanny to three kids aged 15, 7, and 3. I watched “The Sound of Music” before I left and read Shackleton’s “Endurance” to keep things in check. I knew I was no M.V.T.! Like Shackleton, I gave every kid a job for our survival, and it helped (Shoe Boss, Bathroom Spotter, Daily DJ, Food Critic, etc.). I still pick up that book or google it in airports when I’m starting to feel peeved by delays or the abundance of beige food. Travel can be tough, but it’s nothing compared to being marooned on the South Pole a hundred years ago.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha that’s amazing, katie.

    • I love your idea of giving every kid a job for survival! I’m going to remember that one!

  68. Sarah says...

    We have an 11 month old and another due in October and this article just makes me so excited. I sent it to my husband with the subject line ‘we can do this’

    ultimately i want to give this kind of travel to my children and i try to remember that when i think about the LONG LONG LONG flights to visit family in Perth.

    • Lisa says...

      Oh yes! We have one and a second on the way (we’ll have 2 under 2). Our oldest travelled a lot his first year – we have family in multiple countries and like travelling anyway so it was inevitable. He’s been to four continents already! But the thought of travelling with two is just terrifying! The last flight with my son was to take him to see his grandparents, and thanks to the combo of a cold, being tired and refusing to drink he screamed the last half hour of the flight (we were mortified and nothing helped). But – seeing his delight when his grandparents met him at arrivals made it all worth it. I’m sure we’ll feel the same travelling with 2

  69. Emma says...

    My husband, 3 month old, and me are still slogging through school so vacations are a dream right now, but my mom always says, “If you’re going to dream, dream big!” So basically we have some really amazing trips coming up (at least in my imagination!), and I have plenty of things to think of when I’m rocking my needy baby at all hours lol. :) Here’s to laying that ground work!

  70. Chelsea says...

    I agree with all these tips and would add one more. I flew to Dallas with my two year old daughter this past fall. We arrived and picked up some lunch at the airport food court. After eating she crawled into my lap and threw up all over me. I always pack extra clothes for my kids in our carry on but never thought to do the same for myself. Thankfully, Dallas was our final destination, so I went to baggage claim and changed clothes in the restroom. If it had been a layover, I would have spent $25 on a Dallas, Texas t-shirt.

    • Tanya says...

      I love this : ‘stretch them but don’t stress them’ !!!

  71. Bethanne says...

    We love traveling with our kids. Friends think we are nuts for choosing long-distance road trips with them over flying. We have seen so many amazing things across country with them by being on the road. We find it less stressful than trying to keep them quiet on a plane. Plus picnic lunches at our choice destination always becomes my most cherished road trip memory (that and my husband and I treating ourselves at night to travel-sized wine at the hotel ).

    • Totally with you on road trips. They’re the best and are always memorable and fun. It’s also nice to take it slow and see the scenery.

  72. Ruth says...

    Great post!!!

  73. Miranda says...

    I was trying to think of a fun vacation for this summer with our 18 month old. We’ve decided to do a farm stay in June and I can’t wait! We’ll stay at a working farm in our own cabin (owners live off the property somewhere else) where we can help ourselves to food from the garden and eggs from the chickens. There’s a small spring fed pool, hiking trails on tons of acres, a creek, farm animals (our daughter loves animals!), etc. it’s totally different than any vacation we’ve ever done, but I think it will be great for all of us to get away to the country and we don’t have to navigate a city or figure out how to get back to the hotel for naps. We can just explore and rest.

    • leela says...

      Would love to hear where this is! I’ve been looking for a farm stay near NYC for this summer, but haven’t turned up much.

    • Heather says...

      I’d love to hear how this goes. It sounds like a great idea. Maybe you can write a post for this blog after your trip.

    • Miranda says...

      Leela, it’s in Tennessee, about an hour and a half south of Nashville, where we live. I first looked on farm stay websites, but I didn’t have much luck. I found this place in Airbnb–I just started looking at the Airbnb map to see what came up in small towns in the country near us. Best of luck!

    • leela says...

      Thank you!

    • Erin says...

      Can you share the link to the airbnb?

  74. Shannon says...

    I don’t have kids, but this is a great post, and I absolutely love the beautiful photography — now I’m stalking all these contributors trying to figure out where they traveled to :)

  75. t says...

    so much great advice in this article and the comments! Our system is as follows:

    We do a family trip that is usually more outdoorsy for 5 nights (last summer we rented a funky house in the sierra nevadas and hiked, swam in lakes, checked out hot springs and adventured in a ghost town) and then we do a 5 night couple vacation where we plop down at a resort sans kids.

    This year our family trip is a beach house rental down in mexico. The family trips are a little more adventure, a lot less money and always within driving distance which allows us the ability to afford one trip and one vacation.

  76. Cait says...

    My husband is in school and our family is spread out, so we’ve never really been on ‘vacation,’ except for a three-day extended family trip to a little ‘German’ mountain town in my home state. Plane tickets for a whole family are pricey (too far to drive from NYC to WA with little ones!!), and the guilt of living far away makes me feel like we have to spend our whole two weeks there, seeing all the family in the area. I think in the future we will start taking short driving-distance getaways as a family, because we need that down time together, and I hope someday we can prioritize international travel with the kids (which I grew up doing a lot of). It’s true though, to truly get a break, staying with grandma is sometimes the way to go ;)

  77. Last summer we spent 4 weeks in France with our 4 kids (6mo, 2, 16 and 18), I feel like I could write a book on this topic! I think the most useful thing that we do is ALWAYS rent an apartment or house. Even when the teenagers aren’t with us, it’s just exponentially easier when you have a kitchen to cook in, and I can make coffee and oatmeal on demand when my baby wakes up at 5am (especially when you’re dealing with a time change!!) We also always plan our trips around walkable areas. If we cannot walk to 85% of what we want to do, we pick a different area. It makes the experience a fun, relaxing family one, verses a stressful one involving taxis, car seats, and waiting.

    Xoxo

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      great advice about walkability! you’re so right, that makes me want to rethink some plans we are making :)

  78. Amelia says...

    This is awesome – would LOOOOOVE to know where each of these pictures are from!! (Particularly the 3rd, 7th, and 8th) – is it possible to get references for any of them??

    • Amelia says...

      Oops, wait I think I meant the 4th, 8th, and 9th?? The one with the hobbit house and the one where they are swimming next to hills, particularly.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      for sure! hope this helps:

      kendra’s: nothern california, the grand canyon and yosemite (at the bottom)

      linsey: new zealand (hobbit house) and the prambanan temple in indonesia

      brooke: maine

      amanda: switzerland and iceland

      liz: turks & caicos

      erin: the rio grande and budapest

    • Rebecca says...

      Hobbit hills- New Zealand
      Swimming next to hills- Iceland

      Hope that helps! :)

    • Kelcey says...

      The Hobbit houses are seriously amazing. I went a few years ago, and it’s where they actually filmed the LOTR and Hobbit Movies! When I was there, they had just wrapped filming for the Hobbit, and everything was pristine. It’s pricey, but for nerdy travellers like myself, definitely worth is.

  79. Beth says...

    Can’t even with a vacation … I’m at a moment when I can barely get to the grocery store with a newborn and a 2 yr old! Trying to do what I can myself bc husband travels a lot. Gah.

    • Sarah says...

      Oh man. You have my utmost sympathy xxx You’re a champion!

    • Heather says...

      Beth, that sounds totally normal to me. When my friends and I had our second kids around the same time, some of my friends were like, This is so much easier! Whereas I, and plenty of others, were just trying to survive. It can be so hard! Hang in there and know that eventually you’ll be planning vacations, too!

  80. Vicki says...

    Oh, the D’Aulaire’s myth audiobook really is great! We also love Paddington (read by Michael Bond), the Narnia books, and Matilda (read by Kate Winslet, who is obviously a genius). And Ramona Forever, read by Stockard Channing.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i just got ramona and beezus for Toby yesterday! :)

  81. Lauren E. says...

    I don’t have kids and these tips mostly don’t apply to me, but holy cow, those PHOTOS. Absolutely stunning.

    • Cynthia says...

      The photos are so great. I saved the one of the baby sitting around the goats. So sweet.

  82. If you can’t stay in an apartment, definitely splurge for a suite in a hotel. Then you have space for yourself if you need it, and have someplace to hang after the littler ones go to bed.

    Get a library card and your library’s app. You can download EVERYTHING to your device. Books and audio books for you and the kids.

    Plan a daily treat – and a kid pick each day.

    Most important, plan LESS than you think. I think my worst memories are slogging around vacation places because my parents wanted to see/do as much as possible.

    • Katie says...

      Library card – genius! Also, public libraries abroad are a GREAT place to use the bathroom & enjoy some quiet for a bit. Not to mention the surreal experience of all those books in another language! THE BEST!

    • Liz says...

      we always check out the travel guide for our destination(s) from our library and we look for kids’ books about the place we are going as well – I love the library!

  83. Charli says...

    I don’t have kids yet but I can vouch for the suggestion on letting your kids help plan the vacation. Once my sister and I were in about third and fourth grades my parents would get out the (hard copy!) vacation guides and magazines for our destinations and we would read about the hotels and restaurants and museums and give our input. I remember how exciting that was to this day!

    • Ruth says...

      ❤️

  84. Katie says...

    My best tip for vacationing with kids: bring a grandparent. ;)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha :)

    • Julia says...

      That’s so true! :-)

    • Lisa says...

      Haha, best! My sister has kids, and as our families are living in different parts of the country (I actually live in another country) we usually go on holidays together instead of everyone going home to my parents house or similar. Everyone is happy as everyone is on a holiday, grandparents get to see their daughters and their grandkids, I’m happy to see my nephews and family, and my sister gets to see her family AND has three grown ups who can’t wait to “steal away” her kids. It’s also happens that the grand parents wake up very early and happily takes the kids so they can sleep in. Only wins in everyone’s book. And no one has to cook and clean!

  85. Cassidy says...

    When I was younger, my family would road trip to Florida every year (which was a 20 hour drive). My mom would make my brother and me special binders with printable coloring pages, word searches, blank paper, etc. She also bought brand new crayons for us, which made it feel very special, and made the trip fun

  86. annemarie says...

    I’ve found the key is to have absolutely the lowest expectations. That way, if it goes badly, you’re sort of prepared, and if it goes well, it’s awesome! Also, expect to eat what feels like 3x as much as at home. Neverending snacks.
    And from my own experience on trip with my parents, the vacation itself doesn’t always feel like it’s amazing and super fun – sometimes it sucks and you’re tired and the museums are boring and your feet hurt and you just wand some g-d time in your own bedroom (that was me in NYC on our trip of a lifetime) and now my memories are fantastic, and all those crappy times are part of the whole story of the wonderful trip.

  87. Lana says...

    This is SO off subject, but I just found out I’m pregnant with my third and I am freaking out. Not only because three kids officially means my husband and I are outnumbered, but because I thought the age gap was too huge. As I started reading this I noticed my kids will be spaced out EXACTLY the same was Kendra’s are and I was hoping she could share some pros and cons on having kids who a slightly spaced out on age. I was never worried going from one to two, but two to three almost has me in a constant state of anxiety. Online stories are terrible and say three is the worst number of kids you can have (scientifically proven!) and I’m feeling like I’m not going to give my two other daughters all of the extra love and goodies they are used to. Plus I want to ensure good sibling relationships and I worry it’s going to constantly be two against one. Someone talk me down from the ledge!

    • Rachael says...

      I have six kids and the gap between each of the first five is 2 years, and then almost 4 between 5 & 6. I will tell you this–my third was by far my easiest baby (I knew what I was doing and could actually enjoy it all!) and it is AMAZING having a baby when the next youngest is potty-trained and talking and able to do stuff for himself like get dressed or get a snack!! And the older kids love, love; love having a baby around–they are constantly playing with him or asking if they can change his clothes or push him on the swings. I thought having a newborn with kids in middle school and a big age gap would be terrible, but it’s really been amazing. Congratulations!!

    • Lana says...

      Thank you so much, Rachael! That makes me feel a little better. I just never was one of those moms that worried about how I would love a second child but now here I am worrying about if I’ll be able to love all three of them enough. Does that make sense? We read every night in bed and I’m just like, “Omg how on earth will we all fit in this bed for a night time story?!” Lol! Also, SIX?! You’re a rockstar.

    • Rose says...

      I’m a mom of three boys ages, 9, 11, and 19. The age gap between the first and second was a concern for me and then again going from two to three because they’d only be 22 months apart. I just want you to know it’s worked out beautifully. They are so good to each other and easy going. I used to worry about how weird the age gap would be (and people still ask about it all the time) but my oldest is finishing up his first year of college and my middle will start middle school in the fall. The younger two have benefited greatly from having a much older sibling. He’s been a like a scout and a guide for them. The best advice I can give you is it has a way of working itself out. Three kids is pretty awesome. It’s a wonderful circus.

    • D says...

      Take a deep breath, honey, it’s all gonna be alright. When we first started out with our third, I had an 8yo, 5yo, and newborn. At the grocery, the older ones would choose the cucumbers, potatoes, or eggs, and I walked with the baby in her Moby wrap. I’d pack snacks or books for them when it was time to feed the baby, or if it was a bottle, they loved to feed her too. Each of the olders had a way to quiet the baby, and they are all [pretty] good friends now that they are 6, almost 12, and 14. There are some major positives to having a couple of older ones when a baby comes. Worry Not! The best is ahead of you, girlfriend!

    • Lana, I totally get that! I know it sounds so cliched, but your heart really does expand for everyone (even if the space on the bed gets tighter!). I definitely feel like I’m a lot more stretched now in terms of giving everyone enough one-on-one time (that’s like my constant worry, hah!), but on the other hand, it’s pretty amazing to see how much they nurture each other. Like last Saturday my oldest taught her younger brother how to ride a bike–I was pruning bushes and I looked up and there the two of them were pedaling away. Totally took me by surprise and I got all choked up and started crying into my shrubbery! I feel like with everything I can give my children, one of the best gifts I have given them are each other. So even though your attention will be split three ways instead of two, they will also have two siblings to cherish and love instead of one. :-)

    • Robin says...

      I have two younger sisters (20 mo and then 2.5 y apart) and it was wonderful to be three. Two wouldn’t have been enough! We learned so much from each other. And my two younger sisters are super close (even though they are farther apart in age). We used to call them the puppies, for the way they would tumble together all over the place. And I now have a six month old and 3 3/4 y old and they are super sweet together. My oldest gets so excited about pushing his brother on the swing and can’t WAIT to teach him all the things he knows. You can do this!

    • Lana says...

      Thank you all so much for your sweet, supportive comments! I’m trying to tell myself to enjoy this and take it one day at a time, but it’s hard when you’re a naturally anxious person.
      Part of me feels a little selfish, too, because things were finally getting easier and I was getting back to own self again.
      Life has a funny way of keeping you on your toes, doesn’t it? :)

    • Heather says...

      Your concerns are so familiar to me. When we found out we were having twins and going from 1 to 3 I worried about so many of the same things. One day I was telling a coworker somewhat casually that I was worried about this and she put her hand on my arm and said, “It was always going to be this way. You were always going to have these three children, in this order.” I’m not sure I even believe that, but thinking about in that way actually helped me. My kids definitely fight and we are outnumbered and our attention is totally divided and it’s really hard sometimes, but the fact that we all belong to each other in exactly this formation is clear to me. And it will be to you, too. It will all fit in place perfectly.

    • Lana says...

      Heather, I love that story! I had a dream awhile ago that I was introducing my daughters to someone and said, ‘This is Grace, Cecilia, and Opal!”. I could see both my living girls clear as day, but Opal was faceless and younger, but still holding onto her sissies’ hands. When I woke up the next morning, for fun I looked up the meaning of Opal. The first was a biblical reference (I’m not religious) and it said, “And third in line there was an Opal”. The second was about the gem and it said something like, “”Shining and happy, like the spirit of a child” and the third one, (this one really got me because I had a miscarriage awhile ago) was “What was sent away from you will return”.
      I know it all sounds crazy, and I know some of my friends are going to think I’m a nut for having another. I wish I didn’t care what they thought, but I do. It’s just that everyone is getting to the point where their youngest is off to school, and here I am starting all over. It puts a distance between friends, sometimes.
      I also have been feeling like I drank 10 cups of espresso, so that’s not helping matters. LOL!

  88. Lisa says...

    Before each flight, my mom would pack our backpacks with a couple of new toys, colouring books, snacks, card games, and CDs for our diskmen (mine was purple and enormous). The rule was that we could only open them once the plane took off and was in the air. It was an incentive to behave well during all stages leading up to the flight, and it worked well. And whenever we saw other planes taking off, we would imagine other kids opening their backpacks, and wonder what their moms had put inside!

  89. Becca says...

    And I have a question – I have a super social five-year-old who doesn’t have siblings. Any tips from parents of single children on how to plan for a trip that includes opportunities to meet other kids?

    • Susan says...

      I have two kids, but when my kids were young we often planned our vacations with another family – either siblings or friends. Not only are the kids better behaved with other kids along – one kid’s enthusiasm seems to spread – you can take turns staying in the house/apartment rental to watch the kids while the other couple gets to go out for a nice dinner or outing during naptime. And we always go with the understanding that we don’t need to do everything together. If one family wants to hike and the other wants to chill at a park then that’s just fine.

    • Brianna says...

      I’m not an only child either, but from about ages 2-10, we never traveled without my best friend and her family. Some of my best vacation memories include switching families for a few hours. I’d go with my best friend and her parents and her brother would go with my brother and our parents. It saved everyone’s sanity and was just fun. Of course, this only works on road trips.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that’s really sweet, brianna!

    • Our daughter is an only child and we found that playgrounds, beaches and pools were great places to offer other little person time. Sometimes she found and made friends, sometimes not. We kept her busy with things that we knew she would like and it wasn’t really a problem. And now at 20 she has grown up to be a very independent world class traveller, happy to jump on a plane to anywhere. I think if you just provide lots of opportunities for fun and activity all will be good.

    • Brianna says...

      I miss those summer road trips so much. We went all over the west coast every summer, always ending with a week at Lake Tahoe. I ingested more sand than I did actual food during those weeks, I think, because we couldn’t stop playing long enough to eat – peanut butter and sand sandwiches, anyone? :)

    • Emily says...

      Becca,
      I’m an only child and my parents often brought one of my cousins or let me invite a friend on family trips. I had someone to play with, and it made both me and my friend a little bolder about meeting other kids at the beach or the pool, since we already had a buddy!

      My parents were also big proponents of summer camp for helping me meet make friends outside of my own school and town. We’d take a long weekend family vacation to the NC mountains, and at the end of the trip they’d drop me at summer camp (and get a whole month to themselves).

  90. Andrea says...

    A friend lets her tweens eat whatever crap they want to on vacation. As much sugary cereal, chips, soda, etc. The caveat is that these types of food are for vacations only and not everyday life. So, they have a house without that stuff, which seems like excellent leveraging to me.

    I also like the strategy of feeding the kids something and then everyone going out to a plaza or a bar near a playground. Grownups get to eat and drink and vaguely watch children. My favorite part of Spain.

    • Sheila says...

      Yep, that’s what we do. We have “vacation cereal” and there is always much discussion about which ones we will get on the next vacation. Also, no juice at our house. But it’s a Juice Extravaganza on the airplane! When we drive by SFO my almost 3 year old asks if they have juice on whichever plane she sees. Hahaha!

  91. Becca says...

    Great ideas. I travel a lot with my kids, and here’s another tip – when they have a pair of pajamas that are ripped/stained (i.e., not candidates for donation) and are getting a little too small, I put them in my suitcase. This is what they wear on the plane – after an international flight full of juice spills, if not worse (why do kids always have to pee during descents?), you can discard them – especially helpful if you’re not going to have access to a washing machine for a few days.

  92. Laura C. says...

    I would LOVE to hear podcast, if they only exist in my language. Sorry for being the pessimist part of the comments, but I think this year will be a complete unknown vacation for us. I would love to go to the beach and rent an apartment for a week, but no one rents an apartment for just one week in August, and sadly we can’t afford more than that.

  93. Jessica says...

    Any chance we could get locations on some of those pictures?? Especially that boardwalk into a grassy heaven? (Moved to the dessert and I. Miss. Grass.)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes! that photo is from turks & caicos.

  94. Kathleen says...

    Whether it is a plane ride or a car ride. I always pack a series of little gifts wrapped in tissue paper for the traveling portion of trip which makes things exciting when they start to get bored and cranky, it might be a new set of markers, a small toy, some stickers, a little snack, a new book, sunglasses if we’re going somewhere warm and or things like that. Even if it just calms them down for the 30 seconds they’re opening it sometimes that is enough.

  95. Whitney says...

    Erin’s tip is gold. With kids, everything is an adventure. Whenever I traveled with my family and something went awry and/or different from what was planned my dad would say, “we’re making memories!” I maintain that attitude when out or traveling with my kids, everything is an opportunity to make a memory. It keeps it light and reminds me that each experience is building our family’s story.

  96. CATHERINE says...

    How about tips for travelling with teenagers? Kids grow up, travelling gets different, not necessarily easier…. :)

    • Kathleen says...

      Yes, any tips from those with a bit older kids!

    • MA says...

      CRYING! Oh man, that de young museum with a 12 yo is just hilarious. I love how she just embraces her daughter’s lack of interest.

    • Rachael says...

      Yes!! My oldest is 12 and still likes family vacations, but I vividly remember being 17 and doing my best to make my parents regret dragging me to Europe when I wanted to be back in Michigan with my boyfriend…facepalm!

    • Alexandra says...

      Absolutely agree – one tip I have is to split up into groups with different interests if you have bigger kids (not always, but sometimes), for example: my husband and 12-year old are more into World War II history etc., and my 9 year-old daughter and I prefer cool art and architecture (sounds so high-flying, but we both are very visual and simply like to look at beautiful things), so we go our separate ways occasionally and then meet up somewhere, so everyone is happy. Also, let the kids decide sometimes, and bribe them with ice cream etc., let them read the travel guide or have them make a list of things they want to see or do at the chosen location. Screen time in exchange for something they might not totally love also works for us.

  97. MA says...

    I love reading tips like this. We car-camp a lot in the summer and one thing I’ve learned to do is pack one tote bag full of rain gear and warm layers for everyone in the family. That way, when weather conditions change quickly or catch us by surprise, we just grab the big red tote bag and we’re all good. We also keep the headlamps in that bag.
    My other tip: pack a jump rope or two. We traveled to Paris last April with our 9 and 6 year old kids and walked miles per day. My kids could be dead tired from walking, but always wanted to take the jump rope out to practice their cross-over, backwards, or speed jumping skills on our way to someplace new or just waiting for the train. I swear that piece of rope saved us.

  98. Yes to the deprivation! Not only is it great for your parenting arsenal, it’s also a fun memory for your kids. My dad is 63 and he still talks about how he could drink as much Coke as he wanted on vacation when he was a kid! We don’t let our kids eat sugary cereals, so if we’re staying somewhere with a refrigerator we stop at a store for milk and the sugar laden cereal of their choice. Breakfast is a breeze, but they think it’s a treat!

    My best tip for traveling with kids is to travel with kids. The more they do it, they better they get at it. We do a lot of road trips, and my kids are great at it, because they’re used to it.

    My final tip: bring plastic bags. You never know when someone is going to have an accident, or spill their drink on their clothes, or get car sick, or if you’re just going to have some garbage to deal with. Plastic bags are your friend.

    • “MY best tip for traveling with kids is to travel with kids.”
      Meltown, you are so right! My husband and I use the phrase “pushing the comfort envelope” whenever we head out on a family vacation because we have found that each trip makes the next, bigger, more adventurous trip feel possible.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      yes, love that!

  99. Mariah says...

    With children, you go on a “trip,” not a “vacation.” :)

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahaha

    • Laura C. says...

      Nailed it :)

  100. Kate says...

    This came at such a perfect time. We’re leaving for a three-week stay in Denmark with our 6-, 4-, and 1-year-olds soon, and now I have so many excellent ideas in my arsenal. (And many packing cubes and Koosh balls in my Amazon cart.) Thank you!

  101. Jenna says...

    Packing cubes are a great tip. I take it one step further and bought a bunch of cheap self-sealing vacuum bags. You can fit so much in and keep them organized by weather or by person. It really reduces the amount of luggage! Another useful item I bought for travelling with a kid that doesn’t need a stroller but still gets tired is a foldable wheely cart to attach your car seat to. You can use it like a stroller in the airport, and check it at the gate. I just bought one used for luggage, and the seat attaches using the bungie cords. It works great!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      great tip, thank you, jenna!

  102. I love this post- and the beautiful pictures. The hardest part of traveling with kids for us so far is being nap trapped in the hotel room… you get the worst fomo! Renting an apartment definitely helps that aspect!

    xo, brittany
    http://www.notablob.com

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg YES! and with a rental apartment, you get hang out in the living room at nighttime, too. it definitely beats watching a show in the bathroom, ha!

  103. Thank you so much for this post. The first half of my 18mo old’s life I was so wracked with anxiety about taking her ANYWHERE. Recently I took a mini 1.5hour road trip with her, and she was FINE. We project our worries and anxieties onto our kids; I’m trying to move past that. I can’t wait to adventure with her!

  104. Sarah says...

    We went on a few awesome trips (Spain and France, a week at the beach in Mexico) when my now three-year-old was around the age of 1. Now that we have two kids (my younger is almost 1), I’m so worried about traveling with them both. Eating at restaurants is always a disaster when we’re in our own city, I don’t want to spend extra to do it in a foreign city. But if you cook every meal, then you are doing so much grocery shopping/cooking/dish washing that it doesn’t feel much like vacation. These tips were good, but none of them seemed to get around this basic problem. So, I think we’re going to be very modest in our travel plans this summer.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      i hear you, sarah! that’s a tough one. what about ordering in? that might help a little bit, and seamless makes it relatively easy to order affordable yummy things (like pizza and tacos) in new places.

    • Tracy Murphy says...

      We’ve traveled quite a bit with our kids, starting when they were 2, 4, and 6. They’re good, but not great eaters, but we haven’t struggled in other countries as long as we stuck to low key restaurants and similarly low key expectations (i.e., PIZZA whenever possible). We also tried to get them ready before our trips by making kid-friendly foods they’d be likely to encounter: omelettes and croque monsieur before we went to France, rice and beans before we went to Costa Rica, fish and chips before New Zealand, etc.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh yes! and some cities have great kid-friendly restaurants. we went to austin to visit friends last year, and almost every restaurant we went to had a sandbox or little play area.

    • Jessica says...

      Our solution to this in Paris and in SE Asia was to eat out for lunch–cheaper, kids happier, can sit outside at a café, the crowd is less likely to be out for a special meal, etc–then we would eat in for dinners. Sometimes do kids dinner and then one of us would venture out for take out for the grown ups.

    • Sid says...

      Take-out eaten as a picnic in parks with playgrounds. We did this across North America with a 4 and 1 year old and it was perfect.

    • Sarah says...

      Thanks guys, these are great ideas. You are all so helpful!!!

    • Heather says...

      We take our two youngest (twins) on trips that are within a 4-6 hour drive, but we haven’t taken them on an airplane and probably won’t until they’re old enough to watch videos (they are 20 months old now). All babies are different, and I’ve witnessed other kids on airplanes chill out and play with stickers for hours, but my experience flying with my son when he was that age was so consistently awful (not just for us – but for everyone on the plane probably) that we just decided to spare ourselves that misery this time around – especially as we are now outnumbered. So the crazy thing we are doing for spring break this year is taking our 4 year old to France to visit family and …. leaving the twins at home in the US with their grandparents. I have some anxiety about this, and I’ll miss them, but I think everyone will have a better week. My son is old enough to appreciate the trip, and this way my daughters will have some good bonding time with the grandparents.

  105. Julie says...

    Thank you for this post! We are flying across the country to Palm Springs with our 8 month old and 3 year old in three weeks… trying to make sure my excitement outweighs my nerves, and these tips came at a perfect time! Adding Koosh ball to my list right now :).

  106. All great advice and many comments covered my family tricks: rent an apartment when possible for down time and fewer restaurant meals, schedule outdoor time every day, deprivation from screens and treats in day to day life (truly so helpful – mine only get lollipops on airplanes). My one trick to add: we have a travel backpack filled with toys/games/videos that only comes out on trips. No exceptions- that is key. This keeps the games fresh and exciting, provides play on planes, in restaurants, and rental houses. And it is always ready to go — one less thing to pack before a big trip.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      that is a GREAT tip, rae!!! going to make one for the summer!

  107. I’ve always loved travelling and now that I have kids, well the show must go on so thanks for the tips. In addition, I’d love to see a post on actual vacation rentals and kid friendly itenararies, I.e. We rented this specific house and we loved the coffee house down the road bc it had toys in the back or there was a playground you could walk too. I know you did a family vacation post a while back (which was great) just love to see more now that summer is approaching. Thanks!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      for sure! we’ll start working on it. thanks, katie!

  108. Anya says...

    I don’t have kids of my own, but my parents were travel writers when I was little, and our family is pretty spread out, so we flew around a fair bit. The thing I remember most was that when there was turbulence on a flight my mom told me we were just driving on the clouds and that was what made it bumpy. Instead of feeling like it was scary, I always felt like it was a safe and normal part of flying. And she always packed baggies of cheerios for me to play with and snack on.

  109. yael steren says...

    I don’t have kids myself, but when I travel with my nieces and nephews I know that the best thing is to have lots of activities planned and to keep them busy!! My sister is also really good with creating an itinerary and keeping super organized!! xx yael
    http://www.yaelsteren.com/blog/

  110. Christy says...

    These are so great! Loving the juice box idea from Linsey- we definitely do that!! Deprivation is key so when they do get a juice box on vacay their minds are blown. Also the tips about nature- any adventure is improved by outdoor time if possible. For our little guy, 2 years old, he loves sticker books and busy books that I make in advance with things from the Dollar Store. I hide them until we go somewhere so they’re always new to him. They can be used anywhere we need him to behave- on a plane, in a store, or even a restaurant.

    Thanks for the new ideas, especially the packing cubes and the reminder about great podcasts.

    • Brianna says...

      Our big vacation treat was those Keebler Fudge Striped cookies. I haven’t had one in years, come to think of it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      keebler cookies! :) love that. my dad used to put Skor bars in his pocket on hikes, and he would point way, way up the trail and say “when we get there, you can have a piece,” and it got us up some serious mountains! :)

    • Brianna says...

      So smart!