Extra battery packs for the video games. Enough diapers in case the flight is delayed. A week's worth of teen-approved activities. Family travel requires parents to become expert event planners, tour guides and safety marshals - even more so than at home!
- Be smart about where you stay. That little motel just outside the city might seem like a great bargain, but is it? If it takes you an hour to wrestle your toddler into their clothes each morning, having sightseeing options and conveniences right outside your hotel door can be a much better deal.
- Know what kid-friendly activities are near your hotel. Look for accommodations with or near fun amenities like a pool, playground or another activity. Not sure where to start looking? If you've purchased travel insurance through Travel Guard, you can contact their Concierge Service to find the activities closest to you!
- Bring the essentials and buy the rest when you get there. Check with your hotel about the kid-friendly supplies they offer. Most have portable cribs and linen, and some offer bottle-warmers, babysitting and a welcome package of essential supplies (like diapers and wipes). There are several online companies that will ship all necessary supplies - like rental car seats, high chairs, a week's worth of diapers, formula and even toys - to your travel destination in advance of your arrival. That way, you can just bring the favourite toy, cozy blanket and enough supplies to get you through the first day. Make your first activity a visit to the nearest drug store.
- Let your teen lead the way for a day. If your travel plans are focused on activities like visits to museums and historic sites, let your teen plan a day on your trip. Encourage them to research destinations and set an itinerary for that day's adventure. They'll likely have different tastes than you, but it gets everyone involved and enjoying the trip even more.