57 Life-Changing Travel Tips from the Best Family Travel Bloggers

Posted Travel Tips by Vacatia on January 19, 2016

It's not always easy traveling with kids. You've got your routine, a budget, and maybe a little voice in your head that says “you’ll have to wait until the last kid moves out of the house to really start traveling?”

So, we asked some of the best family travel bloggers to see how they make vacations a priority.

They generously offered their travel tips on mastering each step of the journey:

How to make it out the door

How to make it happen: planning, packing, and saving

How to get the most out of your family vacation

Words of wisdom to remember

And if you ever need a place to stay, you can check out Vacatia's family-approved vacation rentals.

 

Travel Tips that Will Get You Out the Door

Sometimes a few words of inspiration are all you need to start thinking about your next family vacation. 

1. It's time to take a leap…

…Go out of your travel comfort zone in 2016. Go to a new city, try the local food, and enjoy the rewards of finding new favorites.

– Abby, Fresh Cruiser 

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Gorilla trek in Rwanda
Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

 

2. There is no greater gift you can give your kids…

…than to see the world and learn from a variety of people and places. 

– Kerrie, Family Food and Travel

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Maasai Mara, Kenya
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario

 

3. It’s never the ideal time to travel to those places that keep you up at night…

...Save your money and energy to  make these memories happen. You can live frugally and wisely and push your money towards your travel dreams.

– Gabi, The Nomadic Family

Family of 5
My Dream Vacation: Rovaniemi, Lapland, Finland at the Arctic Circle in the wintertime
Hometown: Kiryat Shemona, Israel

 

4. There will never be enough money or the perfect time…

...for long term travel – one just needs an open mind and the willpower to make it happen. Everything else will fall into place.

– Anne, The Wayfaring Family  

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Kerala, India
Hometown: Lexington, KY

 

5. Don't wait until your kids are grown…

…to take them on vacation. They will remember and you'll make great family memories along the way.

 Nikki, Clanventure


Family of 5
My Dream Vacation:
Sweden and Norway
Hometown:
Austin, TX

 

6. Start early and bring the kiddies up traveling…

…ours were flying long haul from an early age. And don't work around routine when you're travelling, just chill and enjoy it and the kids will too.

– Sarah, Extraordinary Chaos

Family of 5
My Dream Vacation: Orlando 
Hometown: Roughlee, Lancashire, UK

 

7. Your children will always remember the time you made for them.

– Marisa, Trekaroo and Tampa Mama

Family of 6
My Dream Vacation: Lima, Peru - I'm longing to see family I haven't seen for 30 years.
Hometown: Tampa, FL

 

How to Make It Happen: Tips on Packing, Planning, and Saving

Now, it's one thing to want to travel, and another to actually put it all together. Here's how you can make that dream vacation a reality.

8. Travel dreams don't plan themselves…

…like any other goal, if you want it bad enough you have to plan ahead and work on it to make it a reality.

– Tawanna, Moms Guide to Travel

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Galapagos Islands

 

9. Build your vacation budget fast…

…Quit 3 lazy habits (like paying someone $6 to make you a cup of coffee) and put all the money you save into a dedicated vacation account.

– Carissa, All Day Mom

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Disneyland
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ

 

10. Do your homework…

…Price is what you pay, value is what you get.

– Randy, The Family Travel Guy

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Maui (on a one-way ticket!)
Hometown: Sacramento, CA

 

11. Write a packing list and check it off...

...Preparation is absolute key when travelling with kids.

– Lisa, Travel Loving Family


Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Canada
Hometown: Gloucestershire, UK

 

12. Check rates during the off season…

…to get more travel bang for your buck.

– Allison, Fun Family Vacations


Family of 4
My Dream Vacation:
Galapagos Islands
Hometown: St. Louis, MO

 

13. Visit in the off season...

...when prices and crowds are much lower.

– Karyn, Sand and Snow...and everywhere in between

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Ireland
Hometown: East Liverpool, OH

 

14. A day's change in your flight can save you hundreds of dollars...

...Flexibility is key when it comes to booking a family holiday without breaking the bank. Check out the off-season for your dream destination and then investigate flight and hotel prices around those dates.

– Kathryn, Mommy Kat and Kids

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Tokyo, Japan
Hometown: Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada

 

15. Check flight schedules before traveling to the airport…

…so you aren't waiting for seven hours for a rocket launch. 

– Kathleen, Fearlessly Creative Mammas

Family of 5
My Dream Vacation: Tahiti, Bora Bora, Greece, or Spain
Hometown: Idaho Falls, ID

 

16. You can never, ever pack enough wet wipes.

– Keri, Baby Globetrotters

Family of 5
My Dream Vacation:
The Argentine Wine Route
Hometown:
Currently Abu Dhabi, UAE (Originally Melbourne, Australia)

 

17. Pack snacks from home to avoid the little costs...

...Food costs can easily break a budget when traveling. Granola bars, snack size bags of almonds or veggies help keep our travel snack costs down.

– Tonya, The Traveling Praters

Family of 5
My Dream Vacation: Iceland
Hometown: Mansfield, Ohio

 

18. Don’t overpack with kids…

...Gear should do double duty and you can buy disposables when you arrive (diapers, baby food, wipes, etc.)

– Keryn, Walking On Travels

Family of 4
My Dream Vacations: Japan or Argentina
Hometown: Outside of DC, MD

 

19. Make plans, but…

...be ready for them to change.

– Allison, All for the Boys

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Siem Reap, Cambodia
Hometown: Phoenix, AZ

 

20. No matter how much you plan…

…with kids anything can happen. Remember to relax and stay flexible.

– Meagan, Mommy Travels

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Greece
Hometown: Portland, OR

 

21. Travel at night if you have children in tow…

…You won't need to take lots of stops for food and toilet trips as they 'should' sleep for the majority of the journey!

– Emma, The Mini Mes and Me


Family of 5
My Dream Vacation:
New Zealand
Hometown:
Northamptonshire, UK

 

22. The more familiar your kids are with planes, trains, and jetlag...

...the better travel partners they will become.
 
 
 
 
Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Russia
Hometown: Albury, Australia
 
 

23. Book lodging near the airport if you have an early morning flight…

...It will make it easier to get to the airport on time, plus most hotels will allow you to park for free during your trip, which makes up for the cost of the hotel.

– Jessica, Suitcases & Sippy Cups

Family of 6
My Dream Vacation: Iceland
Hometown: Denton, TX

 

24. Don't feel confined to only travel around school holidays...

...Taking kids out of school to travel is not only more cost-effective that traveling during peak travel times and easier to plan, BUT travel is one of the best opportunities to grow worldly, open-minded and well-educated children.

– Sarah, A Family Travel Blog

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Machu Picchu
Hometown: Denver, Colorado

 

25. Take the time to plan, at least a little bit...

...My husband and I missed the Leaning Tower of Pisa because we couldn't be bothered to look at a map!
 
– Christine, Almost Fearless
 
 

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Orlando
Hometown: Boston, MA
 
 

26. Always pack black bin liners and sellotape...

...so you can blackout rogue windows in your hotel room/villa etc that don't have curtains (and wake up your child)
 
– Nicola, Jetlag and Mayhem
 
 
 
Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Antarctica
Hometown: Hong Kong
 
 

27. It's far easier to buy a raincoat if it happens to rain…

...than it is to drag seven giant suitcases through an airport. Don't overpack! Especially if you have kids (because we all know who will be the one carrying those suitcases).

– Erin, No Bohns About It

Family of 5
My Dream Vacation: Backpacking through Europe
Hometown: NYC, NY

 

How to Have an Amazing Time with the Whole Family

You've planned, packed, and made the numbers add up. Now, it's time to get the most of out of your family vacation and make sure that everyone has a blast!

28. Be curious, try new things…

…and explore the world around you.

– Katie, Tips for Family Trips

Family of 7
My Dream Vacation: Norway
Hometown: Reston, VI

 

29. Give each kid an entire day to plan themselves.

– Dave, Adventures by Daddy

Family of 6
My Dream Vacation: Tanzania National Park
Hometown: Rochester, NY

 

30. Theme a trip...

...If you want to engage the whole family choose a subject they are interested in and make your own itinerary; the more imaginative the better. Our past tours range from a Baltic and Scandinavian journey to the home of the Moomins to a music tour of Europe which ended with us busking outside Vienna State Opera.

– Kirstie, The Family Adventure Project

Family of 5
My Dream Vacation: Chile - We cycled there for our honeymoon and fifteen years on we’d love to take the kids there.   
Hometown: The Lake District, UK

 

31. Splurge on tours unique to the area…

…It’s the best way to learn about the place you're visiting.

– Marina, Travel Experta


Family of 4
My Dream Vacation:
Europe
Hometown: Antigua, Guatemala

 

32. Surprise your children with a water park...

...take them to a ‘secret’ beach, and along the road less traveled. Be spontaneous. Kids love a good adventure, and sometimes nothing is more adventurous or memorable than going 'off-itinerary.'

– Maria, One Tiny Leap

Family of 3
My Dream Vacation: Iceland
Hometown: Lisbon, Portugal

 

33. Ask locals about their favorite restaurants…

…There's no need to settle for fast food or chain restaurants because the choices are overwhelming. If you're standing in line at a gas station, chat up the person next to you in line to find the hidden gems.

– Cat, Mom by the Beach

Family of 6
My Dream Vacation: Ocho Rios, Jamaica
Hometown: Summerville, SC

 

34. Don't ask for a kids menu…

…Instead, let your little ones try the local cuisine. Our four year old loved tasting white truffles in Istria, salmon roe topped rice in Japan and grilled baby octopus in Spain, tentacles and all!

– Michelle, Bon Voyage Baby

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Cape Town, South Africa
Hometown:
New York City, NY

 

35. Forget being a tourist; act like a local.

– Valerie, Bon Vivant

Family of 2​
My Dream Vacation: Bora Bora
Hometown: Cramerton, NC

 

36. Take public transit in the world's major cities…

...to see more local sights and save money.

– Amy, Pit Stops for Kids

Family of 5
My Dream Vacation: Alberta, Canada
Hometown: Medford, OR

 

37. Smile at the world and the world will smile back.

– Nancy, Family on Bikes

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Spain and Portugal
Hometown: Boise, ID

 

38. We aren't born travelers we become them...

Each trip out of the house, no matter the distance, is a learning experience. Teach your children what's expected of them each time they're in public and you're one step closer to being the parent of an incredible traveler.

– Jody, Ireland Family Vacations and Family Rambling

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation:
Taking the long route through Alaska
Hometown:
Ankeny, IA

 

39. When visiting Disneyland wake up early…

…and get there just before the opening rush, you'll avoid lines and get great character photos!

– Angela, One Smiley Monkey


Family of 5
My Dream Vacation:
Australia
Hometown:
Vancouver, BC Canada

 

40. Families with light sleepers...

...should request rooms away from chiming elevators and growling ice machines.

– Beth, The Vacation Gals

Family of 5
My Dream Vacation: Madagascar
Hometown: Currently living in the Twin Cities, Minnesota

 

41. Go for the luxury option…

…You pay a little more, but get A LOT more for your money, like included meals, larger more comfortable space, and complimentary Kid's Clubs which free parents up for real relaxation.

– Leah, The Modern Traveler


Family of 5
My Dream Vacation: Bora Bora
Hometown:
Pacific Northwest

 

42. See a new city at twilight…

…it's atmospheric and gives your photographs a surprising effect.

– Emma, Phileas French

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Antarctica
Hometown: London, UK

 

43. Splurge on a private guide who is a family specialist...

...for sights like the Louvre, the Vatican, Pompeii, etc. They can keep the kids engaged and prevent meltdowns, especially in summer when it’s hot and crowded.  Everyone in the family will find the experience much more fun, and you’ll learn more than you would have from a book or self-guided audio tour.

– Suzette, Brownell Travel

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation:
Alaska
Hometown: San Jose, CA

 

44. After a busy day site-seeing or theme park-exploring...

...plan a relaxing day to recharge by hiking in nature, lazing at the beach or hotel pool, or wandering through a local park.

– Colleen Lanin, Travel Mamas

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Tahiti
Hometown: Scottsdale, AZ

 

45. Put the camera down for a few minutes…

...Slow down and soak it all in.

– Jamie, Suburban TravelingMom


Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Galapagos Islands
Hometown: Chicago, IL

 

46. A gelato a day keeps the tantrums away.

– Claudia, The Travelling Mom

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Botswana
Hometown: Vancouver, Canada
 
 

Family Travel Tips to Always Remember

You're on the plane watching your home city zip by outside your window. Or maybe you just got on the freeway out of town.

It's time to find your vacation mantra.

These are the things to keep in mind when the airport looses your bag, when it rains on the big Disney World parade, when your GPS tells you to take the next right into a lake. These are things to help you take the misadventures in stride and focus on the moment.

47. Travel doesn’t need to be expensive…

…Look for ways to see what's around you by getting outside and into nature. National parks are a great place to start.

– Sarah, Solo Mom Takes Flight

Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Churchill Manitoba to see the polar bears.
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

 

48. There are no bad field trips…

…just better stories. 

– Sue, Field Trips with Sue

Family of 5
My Dream Vacation: 18 Summers with my Kids
Hometown: Atlanta, GA

 

49. Be open to changing course...

...sometimes that's when the best memories are made. It's important to plan, but don't over plan, especially when traveling with children.

– Colleen, Family Travel with Colleen Kelly

Family of 3
My Dream Vacation: Australia
Hometown: Chicago, IL

 

50. Don't schedule too many activities…

…especially when vacationing with small children. Plan margin into your itinerary so that everyone has a great time with minimal stress.

 Jenn, Sweet Makes Three


Family of 4
My Dream Vacation:
Zürich, Switzerland
Hometown: Huntsville, AL

 

51. Do what you love…

…and you'll never work a day in your life.

– Kirsten, Kids Are A Trip

Family of 5
My Dream Vacation: New Zealand
Hometown: Chicago, IL

 

52. Don't expect too much and you'll get a lot!

– Virginie, Travel with my Kids

Family of 5
My Dream Vacation:
Mongolia
Hometown: Paris, France

 

53. Bring your patience with you...

…or find some to borrow if you have none. It can make getting through stressful travel situations so much easier.

– Brett, Cranky Flier

Family of Depends on the trip, sometimes alone, usually my wife, often my kids too
My Dream Vacation: Hawaii
Hometown: Long Beach, CA

 

54. Make sure to pack your sense of humor!

 Amanda, Field Guide to Parenting Outside

Family of 6
My Dream Vacation: Papua New Guinea
Hometown: Saint Paul, MN

 

55. Kid’s interests don’t change in a new place…

…Seek out situations that balance what you want to do with their interests, and that allow you to say “yes” to them more than you have to say “no.”

– Ashley, Hither & Thither


Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: Japan
Hometown: Davis, CA

 

56. There’s no country in the world where kids don’t exist...

...Every culture has its ways to accommodate and take care of them and many are more kid friendly and family centered than ours. So if a destination is safe and appealing to you, then take your kids and find ways to enjoy it together!

– Eileen, FamiliesGo!


Family of 3
My Dream Vacation:
Galicia, Spain
Hometown:
Brooklyn, NY

 

57. You're a family at home, you’ll be a family anywhere else.

 Alyson, World Travel Family and Simple Life Romania


Family of 4
My Dream Vacation: India
Hometown: Newport, Wales