Traveling With Young Kids: The Skinny

So we all know that this traveling with young kids thing is not easy.  Any sage advice for how to make it more bearable (dare I say, enjoyable?) is key.  Therefore, I present to you some of our travel tips — all born out of experience.  Some things we learned the hard way; some we got lucky on, but the important thing is that we have learned what works for us (mostly).

1. As you plan your trip, search the web for parenting blogs in your destination city.  They contain fantastic jewels of information about fun things to do with kids locally.

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We learned about this awesome science museum in Perth through the blogosophere

2. Traveling – in and of itself – can be unpredictable, so learn to go with the flow. Pack light. When you have to tote around toddlers, babies and all of their accessories, that extra suitcase of snorkel gear and flip flops no longer seems so important.

3. Do not leave home without a baby carrier or an umbrella stroller.

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Logan backpacking it through the streets of Phnom Penh

4. Do you have a long flight ahead of you with young kids? Book a night flight. Carry PJs and toothbrushes on board. Continue with the same night time routine you have at home. If the children refuse to sleep on the flight, resort to bribery to keep them calm. Allowing them free reign of the kids movies (make sure to buy them kid-sized headphones before the flight) and/or a bag full of M&Ms seems to do the trick.

5. Fly reputable international air carriers, not American ones (sorry America).

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A picture is worth a thousand words

6. Always, always request early check-in and late check-out at your accommodation.

7. Speaking of accommodations, if you have a large family that will require at least two hotel rooms, have you considered booking a rental home on VRBO, Airbnb, or other similar sites instead?  If not, you should.  More space for less money.  Also, more awesome spaces for less money.

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We scored this amazing place on a VRBO-like Australian site.

8. Pre-arrange transportation at your destination.  Trust me, you do not want to be waiting in a long rental car, taxi or bus line after a lengthy flight.  Along these lines, become a [insert rental car company name here] preferred member – it saves so much time, especially at destinations like LAX.

9. If you’re renting a car at your final destination, rent car seats as well.  This is SO MUCH EASIER than lugging car seats through the airport.  Most rental car companies offer this service.

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We rented this Holden wagon — with car seats installed — for our western Australia road trip.

10. And last, but definitely not least, bring a grandparent (or two).  That way, maybe — just maybe — you can get a couple of hours or relaxation in.

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Monkeys! AKA my traveling companions.

If you have things that have worked for you, by all means, please share them in the comments below!