3 things every mom must know before traveling with kids

This guest post was sent to us by Kendra, who has been traveling the world since she was three months old.

My own children are 3, 5, and 7 and we love to travel together. Really. As moms, we recognize that vacations with our kids don’t always go as smoothly as they should. There may be hiccups along the way; however, I am here to tell you that you can make your next trip even better just by making a simple few changes. Preparation is really all it takes sometimes to prevent that meltdown your child had at the park or the crankiness in the car ride. And if that doesn’t work, I do some yogic stress relievers and roll with the punches!

3 Steps to a better family vacation

I offer you these three steps for traveling moms to improve your next family vacation.

Step One: Find the right place to stay

When traveling a long distance to go to a favorite place or when going someplace totally new, it’s a good idea to pick a family fun hotel. There’s a reason why so many people choose to stay at Walt Disney Resorts. For one, they’re fantastically located right by the theme parks, but it’s also about the amenities. Here’s what to look for to get a good one:

  • Food. Choose a hotel that offers free breakfast or at least free breakfast for kids. The breakfast should include some healthy stuff so you can get your kid’s fueled up for a day at the parks before heading out. Many Orlando hotels even allow kids eat for free policy. I use Gogobot to sift through these family-friendly reviews to find amenities that is right for me and my family!
  • Location. Don’t always pick the cheaper rate hotel. There are some hidden fees with every place that you stay. In addition, a cheaper place may not have a great location. You should think about the additional costs, such as taxi service and parking fees, when you stay at cheaper places.
  • Fun. Look for hotels with entertainment for kids. Some essentials include a kiddie pool, water slide, Internet access, arcade area and kid-friendly restaurants with the right type of menus. They better serve macaroni and cheese!

Step Two: Scout Out Your Location

In addition to planning major outings, look for small ways to make the vacation more centered on your family. You can do these tasks before leaving home.

  • Food. Find a grocery store nearby and purchase some ingredients for your kids’ favorite meal. This obviously works better if you got a hotel suite with a kitchenette, but you can often ask the hotel chef to prepare a similar meal. Special requests can usually be made in advance.
  • Fun. Plan for down time activities in a spontaneous way. You can create a list of places to visit when kids get bored (local playgrounds, libraries, book stores, or the beach). Keep your list handy so you can strike out on an adventure when you all find the time and energy.
  • Sleep. Make some changes to sleeping schedules before you leave if traveling to a different time zone. Kids need time to get used to sleeping at a different bedtime. It will pay off once the vacation starts.

Step Three: Pack the right stuff

Of course you’ll pack the appropriate clothes and gear. Kids also need some familiarity when going on vacation. While my kids love getting away for a few days, they also want to be reminded of the things that they love. Not only does this help getting them to eat healthier but it also helps with sleeping.

  • Snacks! The right snacks will keep your kids hydrated and energized. I like to make a trail mix of their favorite treats (like M&Ms or sugar cookies) and include some healthy stuff too like pretzels, raisins, and nuts. I always include sliced fruit and veggies like carrot sticks so we have more healthy choices if we make a quick stop at a fast food place.
  • Loveys. Bring along kids’ favorite sleeping stuff to make the hotel more comfortable. This may mean a particular stuffed animal, blanket or pillow.

I hope that these travel tips will be of benefit to you and your family this vacationing season! A well thought-out in trip advance has every ingredient to being a fabulous getaway!

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Kendra ThorntonThanks again to Kendra Thornton for sharing her travel tips for moms. She’s a lifelong travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of three. Follow @KendraThornton on twitter.