Disclaimer: Our trip was sponsored by Homewood Suites. All opinions here are purely my own. Homewood Suites TravelMANager
January is a great time to start planning your annual family vacation. 2017 comes with some challenges for travelers, especially with children. Security at airports and train stations has been amped up, making for some crazy long wait times. Road trips are economical, but not without their drawbacks for long drives.
Advanced Travel Tips for Family Vacation in 2017
This doesn’t mean you should forgo a family vacation. There are some great and practical tips that might make your adventure more enjoyable. This will involve a little more planning in advance for you, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Tips for Air Travel
- Apply for TSA Pre✓® for more efficient screening at participating U.S. airport security checkpoints.
- Pre-order the alternative on-flight meals. They are generally better quality food.
- Pack a carry-on eligible bag or back pack for each member of the family. Pack a single large bag with family necessities, such as toiletries, swim gear, books, and electronics that you can have checked.
- Book flights for mid-week departures and returns for better pricing.
Tips for Rail Travel
- Travel during off-peak hours for better fares.
- Pack only bags that can fit in the overhead racks and are easy to lift. Lightweight rolling bags or backpacks work well.
- Pack a small shared bag that has books, tablets, and games to occupy everyone’s time. With this in mind, try to snag seats that face one another or a table.
Tips for Road Travel
- Organize the back sides of the front car seats with hanging, fold-down toiletry kits that have pockets for kids’ juice boxes, snacks, small toys, video games, and napkins for quick clean-ups.
- Plan out your pit-stops along your route before you leave. Children often need a stop every 2 to 3 hours.
- Make sure you have car charges for tablets and phones.
- Start your trip late night or early morning so the kids can sleep through much of the first part of the drive.
General Travel Tips
- Always pack lightweight rain gear, like folding hooded ponchos for everyone.
- Organize things like jewelry, cell phones, toiletries, snacks, and medications in watertight zip-lock plastic baggies.
- Bring chargers for electronic devices.
- Store valuables in the hotel safe when not in use.
- Make copies of passports and other identification before you leave. Store these in a safe place that isn’t with the originals.
- Plan local daytime activities at venues you don’t normally go to. Visit a museum, take a daytrip to a lake or ocean, hike with your dog in tow, take a local train ride into the nearest city for the day, visit a theme park………
- Eat out at restaurants you have always wanted to try.
- Reserve a hotel room for the family, just to get out of the house.
- Have a pajama day. Let the kids stay up all night, if they want, and then stay in PJs all day. Order pizza and let the kids pick out movies to watch.
- Plan on participating in a charitable volunteer event, like running a 5K for a good cause, or cleaning up a local park.
- Do not do chores or major home improvement projects. Relax.