10 Expert Travel Tips on Reducing the Stress of Traveling with Kids

Traveling as a family, particularly with young children, might seem to be a stress-inducing experience, but not according to the experts. In a recent survey, FlipKey raised this topic among dozens of seasoned family travel writers -- veterans of traveling with kids in tow -- to find out what they find to be the most stressful factors of traveling with kids. Surprisingly, we found that over 60% believe that traveling with children is not a stressful experience. Here, they share their expert tips and tricks on how to avoid what they rank as the most common concerns about family travel.

1. The price tag of the trip
For a lower-cost vacation, live like a local and stay in an apartment in a residential neighborhood for at least one week. You'll have more space, your own affordable groceries, and fond memories of your "home" abroad. Often owners will throw in helpful extras like bicycles, boogie boards, or a crib, depending on your needs and where you'll be. - Shelly Rivoli, Travels With Baby

2. Your child getting sick/hurt while on vacation
We make sure to bring along our baby monitor and sound machine. Even though our kids are 7 & 6 it gives me piece of mind to have the monitor handset by my side whether lounging on the hotel balcony or in the vacation home. It eases any fears of the kids waking up disoriented and opening the wrong door or helps us hear them if they wake up from a bad dream. - Tésa Nicolanti, 2 Wired 2 Tired

3. Coordinating eating arrangements, catering to picky eaters, allergies, etc.
Dining out can cause stress (either due to expense or entertaining kids during meals), so plan to dine in-room for breakfasts and lunches. This is easy to do with just a cooler: pack foods like bagels, cream cheese spreads, fruit, granola, and trail mix that can be eaten at either meal and on-the-go. - Amy Whitley, Pit Stops For Kids

4. Packing and transporting all of the gear
Take the hassle out of schlepping baby gear by renting what you need at your destination. - Shelly Rivoli, Travels With Baby

5. Kids crying, screaming, or fighting in public
Keep a positive attitude; if you're calm, the kids will stay calm. Cut your itinerary in half so you don't pressure the kids to do too much. - Kyle McCarthy, My Family Travels
And after all is said and done, just roll with the punches. Be sure to be flexible with your vacation plans - don't be afraid to stay longer or leave sooner based on what's happening on the road. - Mara Gorman, Mother of All Trips

6. Airports and flying
Buy a day pass to airline lounges, especially if you have a layover. There are snacks, TVs, WiFi, wine for mommy and some even have playrooms. - Elizabeth Thorp, Poshbrood
Since we travel internationally a lot, we try to make sure that the kids have plenty to do on the long flights and that we are prepared with lots of games, iPads, and snacks. - Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan, Momaboard

7. Making sleeping arrangements
By renting an apartment, everyone can have separate bedrooms and living like locals is infinitely less stressful, more enjoyable and more affordable. - Bethaney Davies, Flashpacker Family

8. The length of travel and the age-old question: "Are we there yet?"
Prepare your kids in advance - let them know what to expect and what is expected of them. The same applies to letting them know what they can expect for length of travel. - Corinne McDermott, Have Baby Will Travel
Don't forget to pack books, crayons, paper and devices. iPads, iPods and Smartphones can allow bored kids to play games, watch movies or listen to music. - Elizabeth Thorp, Poshbrood

9. Finding kid-friendly activities and entertainment at your destination
I don't stress about what to do with kids - being in a new place and learning about the new culture is more important than them having something to do all day, every day. - Kaamna Bhojwani-Dhawan, Momaboard
Involve the kids in the planning and choosing activities to ensure they are doing and seeing things that they find interesting. - Eileen Ogointz, Taking the Kids

10. Enjoying adults-only time
We always make sure our hotel room has a balcony. This way after the kids go to sleep we can relax on the balcony and chat without disturbing them. - Tésa Nicolanti, 2 Wired 2 Tired

For inspiration for your next family vacation, check out FlipKey’s Trip Ideas, showcasing our picks of the best destinations around the globe, http://www.flipkey.com/trip-ideas/family-travel/

FlipKey is a vacation rental marketplace with more than 300,000 rentals around the world. Find the perfect place to stay for your trip, and get great value along with the space, privacy and amenities of home.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks for this article. I have 4 children and we quickly learned planning a trip was the difference between having loads of fun or being stressed the whole time. Besides the tips you have above I would suggest one more. Be calm and patient. My father-in-law once taught me that only I could allow myself to be angered, stressed and so on. I'll never forget that little teaching moment. Controlling our stress and patience is the difference to great memories or disasters. Be calm, be patient and enjoy your vacation from work and the stresses of home.

  2. These tips are beneficial if you want stress free vacation specially with family.According to these tips maximum try is to keep proper arrangement during dinner,outing and most important apartment .These area kids really mess up things but with proper arrangement it will really helpful.

  3. In line with #4, I have had great success buying secondhand items on Craigslist (e.g., booster chair, stroller) and giving away the stuff near the end of the trip. Of course, this works in big cities where Craigslist is used often. Secondly, it works best when you scope out the postings and then have friends/family who are willing to pick up those items before you arrive; although for long stays, I'd do it myself.

    In line with #1, 3, and 9, I personally LOVE researching neighborhoods ahead of the trip to find parks, playgrounds, pools, supermarkets, libraries, and family-friendly restaurants. The research gives me an exciting sneak preview of what's available (including free-entry days at museums, special concerts for kids, storytime events, etc.), but also helps me decide which vacation rental is located most ideally in relation to all the action.

  4. Love these tips! We offer vacation rentals near Disneyland in Anaheim Hills, CA. Most of our guests have children so we offer a kid-friendly home with lots of games, space to play, and a fence around the pool. We also offer a high chair, stroller, potty seat trainer, Pack n' Play / portable cot and car seats. Having these items at the home eliminate the need for our guests to lug them on the plane. Happy travels! http://www.flipkey.com/anaheim-vacation-rentals/p271415/

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