Heading out on a vacation with children can be a challenge, so read over this list of 10 tips to make life easier this summer courtesy of Hotels.ca. I’ve found that even implementing a few of these tips makes for a very smooth trip — and we’ve travelled to a lot of destinations that aren’t typically exciting to kids, like wineries!
1. Pack light: Bring only the essentials. The more you bring, the more you have to keep up with and the heavier the bags. Kids can require a lot of stuff: car seats, strollers, cribs, high chairs. Some hotels offer childproof rooms or cribs upon request. Call ahead and find out which items you can cut from your packing list.
2. Expect the unexpected: Not to contradict the first tip, but make sure you have plenty of what you need in your carry-on: diapers, wipes (which are great for a multitude of things), medications, change of clothes, snacks, and a secret coloring book.
3. Bring toys and games (quiet ones): Be sure to bring something to keep everyone entertained, but leave the singing dolls and electronics at home. You and everyone else will be glad you did. Backpacks for each child: Toddler or teen – give each child his/her own backpack to carry with their chosen toys/books/etc. The catch is if they pack it, they carry it. One heavy backpack experience and they’ll learn just how much to take to Grandma’s.
4. Car seats: The good news is car seats do not count as checked luggage on any airline so you will not be charged. Get yourself a durable car seat cover and check it for your trip.
5. Airplane seats: If your child is under the age of two, then he/she technically does not need a paid seat on the plane. Be prepared to prove your child’s age (such as with a birth certificate).
6. Security Screening: This can really delay you if you aren’t prepared. Remember medications, baby formula and food are allowed in reasonable quantities (not exceeding three ounces) and are not required to be in the zip-top bag. Babies do have to take off their shoes, too. Opt for Velcro on travel day. Practice getting that stroller broken down quickly!
7. Eat breakfast where kids eat free: This can mean an enormous saving for a family of four or larger. Children are many times too excited or tired to eat much at a time. Restaurants that are kid friendly are more than happy to accommodate special requests for extra plates. Many do free meals for kids (with the purchase of an adult meal) on different days of the week.
8. Bring your own stroller: If you’re going to visit theme parks then this can save you anywhere from $7 to $30 a day (for a double) in rental fees.
9. Refillable water bottles: A simple savings is a bottle that can be refilled at the hotel or at restaurants. A family of four could easily spend $20 or more a day just buying water.
10. The most important tip of all: Be flexible. Lines will be long, traffic will be heavy, flights will be delayed and children (and adults) will get grumpy. But with just a little planning and an open mind, you will have a great time. Booking with Hotels.ca helps you to follow this tip to a tee, with no cancellation or changes fees applied.