Ohai.ai Logo

Back to blog

11 Essential Tips for Family Adventures

By: Lauren TornowCategory: PlanningPosted on:
cover image
This is the first post on the Ohai blog

Let's face it, family travel has its unique challenges, but that doesn't mean it can't be enjoyable.

Whether you're planning a big adventure, a road trip or a quick getaway, these tried-and-true family travel tips will save you time, money, and stress.

With a little preparation and some handy family travel tricks, you can turn it into an amazing experience for everyone.

1.  Plan Like a Pro

Creating a well-organized itinerary is like having a treasure map for your family travel adventure. It will save you from aimless wandering and ensure you make the most of every moment.

Start by researching your final destination and listing down the must-visit spots and activities. Consider everyone's interests and preferences to ensure there's something for each family member to enjoy.

When planning, identify the top attractions or experiences you don't want to miss. These must-do activities will be the anchor of your itinerary, and you can build around them with other fun options.

It also saves you from aimless wandering and maximizes the entire time, so you can make the most of every moment during your family travel.

2. Time It Right

Time management is crucial too, especially when you have little ones with you.  Start by setting the date of departure and return, allowing ample time to explore without feeling rushed.

  • Book everything in advance: you’ll have more options to choose from, and you're likely to secure better prices. Most airlines also offer discounted plane tickets for children, so booking ahead of time can help you take advantage of these savings.

  • Plan for travel days: account for travel days when creating your timeline. Whether you're driving or flying, consider travel time and potential delays to avoid unnecessary stress.

  • Create a daily schedule: Having a clear structure will help keep everyone organized and excited. Use a daily schedule to plan out your family trip and highlight some key activities and downtime.

  • Keep everyone informed: Travelling with kids can sometimes be unpredictable, so it's essential to keep everyone informed about the travel timeline. Share the travel timeline with your family members to keep everyone on the same page.

  • Be realistic: Don't overload your schedule with too many activities in a single day to avoid feeling overwhelmed. At an early age, children may have limited attention spans and energy reserves, so it's important to allow for plenty of breaks and downtime.

  • Embrace flexibility: Be flexible with your travel timeline, especially when travelling with younger kids, as unexpected situations may arise. Embrace changes with a positive attitude and turn them into exciting new adventures.

3. Secure Your Spot

Research family-friendly hotels, vacation rental, or resorts that suit your needs and budget. When traveling with kids, it is important to search for hotels or resorts that offer kids club  - supervised fun for the little ones, giving parents a break!

Don't forget to consider the hotel rooms too! Spacious and comfortable rooms make all the difference, especially when you have young kids in tow. Check out online reviews and ratings to get a sense of other families' experiences.

Remember, being closer to the attractions allows for more flexibility in your schedule. You can easily return to your hotel room for breaks or naps, making it easier to keep young kids energized and happy.

When you find a few options that catch your eye, don't wait too long to make a reservation. Popular family-friendly accommodations and attractions tend to fill up quickly, so it's essential to start your research early.

Important! Review and understand the cancellation policies  of your hotel room and other accommodations, so you know the terms and conditions in case any changes to your travel plans arise.

4. Pack Strategically

Travel light = travel smart.

When it comes to traveling with kids, less is more! Creating a checklist ensures nothing essential is forgotten, allowing you to pack smart and confidently.

Prioritize versatile clothing that can be mixed and matched, minimizing the number of extra outfits you need to bring. Roll clothes and use packing cubes and organizers to save time and space while keeping everything neat and easily accessible.

Many cities and popular vacation spots offer baby gear rentals, making your travel experience with younger children much more manageable. You can also invest in a compact travel stroller to make traveling with young child even more convenient.

Opt for travel-sized toiletries to lighten your load, bring a few entertainment essentials to keep the whole family entertained on the go. Don't forget chargers and power banks to keep your devices running smoothly.

A basic first aid kit and essential medications should be included, along with keeping important documents secure and readily available.

By packing your own bags smart and strategically, you'll have more freedom to enjoy your family adventure without the burden of excessive baggage.

5. Getting There with Ease

Coordinating travel transportation is a crucial aspect of any trip, especially when traveling with kids. To ensure a smooth journey for the whole family, consider the following few tips:

Arrive at the airport early

Avoid last-minute rushes by arriving at the airport early. Most airlines recommend arriving at least two hours before domestic flights and three hours before international flights. This gives you ample time for check-in, security, and any unexpected delays.

Keep travel documents close

Planning a plane trip? Ensure that all family members have their travel documents, such as passports and boarding passes, safely stored and easily accessible. Consider using a travel document pouch to keep everything together and organized, as boarding pass counters and gate changes can be frequent in airports.

Secure car seats

When hitting the road with your whole family, safety should always come first. Make sure to buckle up with proper child safety car seats for your little ones. Whether you're taking a short car ride to nearby attractions or embarking on a long road trip to a vacation destination, using appropriate car seat is important.

*To choose the right car seat for multiple children, consider their respective age groups, weights, and heights, ensuring each seat meets safety standards and is correctly installed.

Entertain kids on long flights

For those long haul flights, be prepared. Pack games, books, and movies to keep everyone entertained. Another great idea is to pack your own bags with some snacks, comfort items, and a neck pillow can also make a world of difference. With these family travel tips, your long flight will fly by in no time!

Family-friendly train stations

If you're taking the train, seek out stations with family lounges and amenities. In family lounges, you'll often find comfortable seating areas, play zones for kids, and facilities for changing diapers. Keep in mind that some of these stations might charge a a few dollars fee, however, it's totally worth it!

Bike ride and walks

Younger kids especially love the sense of adventure and discovery that comes with exploring on foot or by bike. The excitement begins even before the journey as they gear up with their helmets, eager to set off on a new exploration. It's a simple yet rewarding way to make the most of your travel experience, create beautiful memories with your kids, and nurture their love for exploring the world around them.

6. Navigate Delays Together

Delays are an inevitable part of travel, and while they can be frustrating, they don't have to ruin your family adventure. With a little preparation and a positive attitude, you can navigate delays with ease and turn them into unexpected moments of fun and bonding.

When creating your itinerary, build in buffer time between activities and transportation. This extra time allows for potential delays and ensures that you won't feel rushed if something unexpected arises.

Keep yourself updated about any changes in your travel plans. Use travel apps, check the airline or train station websites, and follow their social media channels for real-time updates.

Turn delays into mini-adventures by exploring the airport. Many airports now offer areas for younger children, creating an opportunity for them to play games and release their energy.

Airport play areas are fantastic places for them to meet and interact with other kids from around the world. Moreover, some airports feature interesting exhibits to pass the time.

7. Master Jet Lag

Jet lag, the dreaded traveler's nemesis, can leave you feeling disoriented and exhausted. But fear not! With some smart strategies, you can master jet lag and make the most of your family adventure from the moment you land.

If possible, adjust your family's sleep schedule a few days before your departure. Gradually shift bedtime and wake-up time closer to your destination's time zone.

After arriving at your destination, spend time outdoors during daylight hours. Natural light is a powerful tool to regulate your body's internal clock.

Jet lag affects everyone differently, so be patient with yourself and your family as you adjust. Allow some extra downtime in your itinerary during the first few days, avoid heavy meals and don't let jet lag overshadow the excitement of your family trip.

This way, you'll ensure a great trip for everyone, including your little adventurers!

8. Don't Let Hunger Dampen Your Getaway!

Hungry travelers are not happy travelers! To keep the whole family smiling, allocate time for meals and breaks in your itinerary using these general family travel tips:

  • Plan meal stops. Whether it's a leisurely family lunch at a local eatery or a quick picnic in the park, these mealtimes can be delightful moments that bring your family together and recharge everyone for more adventure!

  • Pack Snacks. Snacks are a lifesaver during family trip! Keep a variety of tasty treats on hand, such as fruits, granola bars, or trail mix.

  • Hydration Station. Staying hydrated is key, especially when you're on the go. Carry reusable water bottles for each family member and refill them throughout the day.

  • Be Mindful of Dietary Needs. If any family member have dietary restrictions or allergies, plan ahead to accommodate their needs.

  • Capture the Moments. Don't forget to take photos of your family enjoying meals and breaks together. These snapshots capture the joy of your journey and serve as heartwarming reminders of your fun family trip.

9. Balance Sightseeing and Relaxation

A well-balanced timeline includes a mix of both. Plan active adventures that everyone can enjoy, such as visiting landmarks, museums, or embarking on outdoor excursions such as water or theme parks.

Additionally, allocate downtime for a well deserved break, whether it's a leisurely stroll on the beach, unwinding by the pool, or having a peaceful picnic in a park.

Keeping both younger and older kids energy levels in mind, plan shorter sightseeing activities to keep older kid's attention and add quiet time for the younger ones to have the opportunity to rest or potentially fall asleep.

Stay flexible with your schedule, allowing for spontaneous moments or extended relaxation when desired.

By finding the right balance, you'll create a fulfilling family adventure filled with love, laughter, and cherished lifelong memories!

10. Preserve the memories

Document your family travel experience in various ways, such as creating a travel journal, scrapbook, or photo album. Encourage each family member to contribute their own stories, photos, and mementos to make it a collaborative effort.

Your travel documentation is not just a means to preserve memories but also a valuable learning tool for future trips. Look back on your reflections and experiences to identify what worked well and what could be improved upon in your travel planning and execution.

Assess how you managed time during the entire trip. Were there any days when you felt rushed or overwhelmed with activities? Did you allocate enough downtime for relaxation and rest?

Analyzing your time management can help you plan better-paced itineraries in the future.

11. Set goals for the next adventure

Traveling with kids can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it also requires careful planning and preparation. As you bask in the memories of your latest family escapade, it's never too early to start thinking about the next adventure.

Based on your reflections and learning, set goals and expectations for your next family travel adventure. Consider all the tips you've gathered and use them to shape your future journey.

Perhaps you want to explore a new destination, take a road trip, try different activities like paddle boarding or hiking, or spend more time connecting with nature.

Remember that it's not just about the destination but the journey and experiences you create together. With thoughtful planning and a spirit of adventure, your next family trips are sure to be fantastic.

Happy travels!