5 Realities of Family Travel with Kids

The other day, I saw this blog post from travel expert Samantha Brown about travel mistakes she often makes. Wait, you mean travel experts aren’t always picture perfect?

Looks can be deceiving, especially on social media. Sure, our trips are great. We capture unbelievable scenery with our photos and delight in describing the awesome sites we visit.

Everything is perfect in Paris

But of course, everything is not always perfect with family travel. Here are some realities that families who travel with kids must understand.

Something Will Go Wrong

Almost every trip has some sort of travel snafu. Sometimes it’s relatively small, like when my family got on the wrong train for Disneyland Paris last summer (we quickly exited once we realized). Other times, the snafus are bigger, like missing a connecting flight or getting sick abroad (see Leana’s post about her summer trip to Europe).

We can’t control everything that happens on a trip. But, we CAN control how we react to the unexpected. Prepare for the possibility of hiccups during your trip so that the impact is minimal.

Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash

There Will be Squabbling

Unless your kids are aliens, they will argue and complain at some point during the trip. Whether it’s siblings arguing over who gets what bed, grumpy teens complaining they don’t want to take any sunset pictures, or disagreements over where to eat dinner. It’s too hot, it’s too rainy, I’m too tired/hungry/bored, etc.

To minimize vacation squabbling, I found that having extra space helps. Whether it’s two hotel rooms instead of one or a 3-bedroom apartment rental from airbnb, that extra space can make a real difference.

Photo by Robert Tudor on Unsplash

Extra Costs Sneak In

Even a family trip that uses miles and points for hotels and flights has some costs. You still have airport parking, pet sitting, food, souvenirs, activities. etc. Almost every trip I’ve taken has some unexpected expenses. Who can resist the pop-up build-a-bear station at the hotel (I’m looking at you, Gaylord Texan!) or the inviting candy shop in the lobby?

Plan for some splurges in your travel budget, and if you don’t end up spending that much, great.

You Will Be Tired After Returning Home

Most vacations with kids are more exhausting than relaxing. Although my kids are older, this is still the case. Even when my family goes on a cruise, we are fairly relaxed until the final morning. Since we all stayed up late the night before getting the most out of our cruise, we pay for it the next day when we have to wake up at the crack of dawn to get off the ship and catch a flight. Oof.

If possible, schedule your trip with an extra day off before you go back to the grind to catch up on sleep (and laundry).

Photo by Lauren Kay on Unsplash

The Memories are Worth the Hassle

Even if your trip goes off course, if your kids argue, you go over budget and your come home exhausted….the memories you make from traveling with your kids are totally worth the hassle! These are memories that will last a lifetime. Sure, you and your kids won’t remember every little detail about each trip. But, you will each remember something different, and those memories will get you through tough times.

What are your family’s realities when traveling with your kids?

How does my family travel so much? We use miles and points from credit card bonuses. See my Travel Hacking 101 post as well as current credit card offers here.

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