Thumbing through my May 2008 issue of the great Budget Travel magazine, I was very pleased to find a special pullout section offering tips on traveling with children, called "The Family Travel Handbook." (also available online here) The handbook contains approximately fifty tips relating to several family travel categories, like planning, flying, driving, hotels, food, and activities. Well many of them won't exactly surprise you (like the advice to change diapers before boarding your plane), you're bound to find a few good tips you haven't thought of before. A few of my favorites were:
- Organize items by parent. Have one parent carry the essentials(diapers, wipes, etc.) and the other carry the fun stuff, like books, toys, games, and snacks. This system saves you from digging through one jam-packed, bottomless, bag to find exactly what you need.
- Whenever you can, try to get a hotel room with a patio or balcony so you don't feel like a prisoner at nap or bedtime. On our recent trip to Phoenix, I was happy to let TJ nap as long as he wanted, because I was sitting outside on our patio, reading a book and soaking in the 70-degree February sunshine.
- When on the road, chat up local parents at a grocery store or playground and ask them where in the area they like to take their kids for fun or what local restaurants their kids enjoy.
So, check out (and print out) the Family Travel Handbook. Hopefully it'll help your family travels go even more smoothly.