family travel tips to slow down

25 Family Travel Tips to Slow Down

Let’s say it as it is, traveling with your Family can be exhausting.

We live in an incredibly fast-paced world so it can be challenging to take a step back and slow down. But it is vital, especially when it comes to family vacations.

So, we’ve curated a list of 25 family travel tips designed to help you embrace a leisurely pace, ensure smooth experiences, and make the most of your precious time together. From planning and packing to destination selection and activities.

We don’t promise that our recommendations will transform your family adventures into unforgettable, serene journeys. But we’ll give it our best shot!

Read our tips and discover the joy of taking it slow.

Slow Down

family relaxing on travel vacation

This is the most important advice we can give any parents.

It’s easy in today’s fast-paced world to get caught up in the whirlwind of planning the perfect family vacation. However, taking a step back and embracing a leisurely pace can lead to a more enjoyable and stress-free trip for everyone involved.

By slowing down, you can create lasting memories and ensure a well-rounded experience for the whole family.

The Benefits of Slowing Down

  1. Quality Time: Slowing down allows for more opportunities to engage in meaningful conversations and bond with your family. This can help to strengthen relationships and create lasting memories.
  2. Savor the Moments: A leisurely pace encourages you to truly appreciate the sights, sounds, and tastes of your destination. You’ll be more likely to take in the small details that make your vacation unique and memorable.
  3. Reduced Stress: Rushing from one activity to another can quickly lead to exhaustion and burnout. By slowing down, you can reduce stress and create a more relaxed atmosphere for the entire family.
  4. Increased Flexibility: A less-packed schedule allows for spontaneous adventures and opportunities to explore off the beaten path. This can lead to some of the most unforgettable experiences of your trip.

How to Slow Down on Your Family Vacation

  1. Limit Daily Activities: Plan for one or two main activities each day and leave ample time for rest, relaxation, and spontaneity.
  2. Encourage Exploration: Allocate time for unstructured exploration, allowing your family to discover hidden gems and create their own unique memories.
  3. Schedule Down Time: Set aside time for relaxation, whether it’s lounging by the pool, reading a book, or simply enjoying a leisurely stroll.
  4. Stay Longer in Fewer Places: Instead of hopping from one destination to another, consider spending more time in fewer locations. This allows you to truly immerse yourself in the local culture and experience a deeper connection with the destination.
  5. Eat Slowly and Savor Local Cuisine: Take time to enjoy meals together as a family, sampling local delicacies and engaging in conversation about the day’s adventures.

By embracing a slower pace on your family vacation, you’ll not only reduce stress, but also create a richer and more meaningful experience for everyone involved. Remember, the goal is to make lasting memories, and sometimes that means taking a step back and simply enjoying the moment.

Don’t come back home exhausted from a vacation with the kids.

Spend Time in Nature

spending time in nature on family travel

Prioritize outdoor activities, such as hiking, beach trips, or exploring national parks. These experiences foster a love for nature and provide opportunities for learning and adventure.

Involve The Kids in the Planning

Incorporate your children’s interests and preferences in the planning process. This encourages excitement and anticipation for the trip while increasing the likelihood of a harmonious vacation.

Train your Children’s Independence

Promote self-sufficiency by teaching your kids age-appropriate skills like packing their bags, navigating airports, and ordering in restaurants. This fosters a sense of responsibility and makes travel smoother for the entire family.

Build in Private Time for your Sanity

building in private time on family travel

Schedule personal downtime for each family member, allowing everyone to recharge and enjoy some solitude.

Choose Destinations by Kids Interests

Select vacation spots based on your children’s passions, whether it’s wildlife, history, or outdoor adventures. This ensures an engaging and memorable experience for everyone.

Book All Inclusive

all inclusive family travel

Consider all-inclusive resorts or packages, simplifying meal planning and activity options while controlling expenses.

Consider your Kids Ages

Tailor your travel plans to suit the ages of your children. Take into account nap times, feeding schedules, and attention spans when organizing activities and accommodations.

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Learn to Pack Light

Packing for family travel

Packing light is an essential skill for stress-free family travel. By focusing on essentials and multi-purpose items, you can reduce luggage weight, save space, and make traveling more manageable.

These are our best tips to help you master the art of packing light:

  • Make a list: Create a packing list in advance to help you prioritize essential items and avoid overpacking.
  • Choose versatile clothing: Opt for clothing items that can be easily mixed and matched or serve multiple purposes, like a scarf that can double as a blanket.
  • Limit footwear: Bring only the necessary shoes, ideally one pair for walking and one for special occasions or specific activities.
  • Use packing cubes: Organize your belongings in packing cubes to maximize space and make it easier to find items in your luggage.
  • Travel-size toiletries: Pack travel-size toiletries to save space and weight, or consider purchasing them at your destination.
  • Ask yourself: Can I do without this? If the answer is yes, then leave it behind.

Read our Guide on Packing Light for a Family Vacation or get our Family Beach Vacation Packing List.

Have a Plan for Meltdowns and Tantrums

Prepare strategies to cope with emotional outbursts, such as knowing your child’s triggers, packing comfort items, and having a quiet space for calming down.

Find a Common Family Interest or Hobby

fishing hobby on family travel

Identify activities that everyone enjoys and incorporate them into your vacation plans. This strengthens family bonds and creates shared memories.

Be Flexible and Ready to Adapt

When traveling with your family, it’s important to stay open to change and be prepared to adjust your itinerary as needed. Unforeseen circumstances, such as bad weather, a change in your child’s mood, or an unexpected event, can quickly derail your plans. Maintaining a flexible attitude allows you to adapt quickly and fosters a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere for the whole family.

Here are a few tips to help you stay flexible:

  • Plan alternatives: Have a list of backup activities or destinations in case your original plans fall through.
  • Communicate: Discuss any changes with your family members and involve them in the decision-making process.
  • Stay positive: Remember that unexpected situations can lead to new experiences and memories, so embrace the change and make the most of it.
  • Know your limits: Recognize when it’s time to call it a day and return to your accommodations for rest and relaxation. This will help you avoid overextending yourself and your family.

Schedule Down Time

Incorporating rest periods into your family vacation itinerary is essential for keeping everyone refreshed and energized throughout the trip. By allowing time for relaxation, you can prevent burnout and ensure that your family enjoys every moment of your vacation.

These are out best tips for scheduling downtime effectively:

  • Plan leisurely mornings: Give your family time to wake up and prepare for the day without rushing.
  • Midday breaks: Schedule breaks in the middle of the day, when energy levels tend to dip. This is a great time to return to your accommodations for a nap, a swim, or just to unwind.
  • Early evenings: Set aside time in the early evening to relax and recharge before dinner and evening activities.
  • Alternate busy and relaxed days: Plan a mix of action-packed days and more leisurely days to create a balanced itinerary that keeps everyone engaged without causing exhaustion.

Travel With An Open Mind

Be receptive to new experiences and cultures, fostering a sense of curiosity and wonder in your children.

Involve the Kids in the Family Travel Budget

Teach children about finances by including them in budget discussions and decisions, setting spending limits, and encouraging them to save for souvenirs.

Remember to Take Photos

Capture your family’s travel memories by taking plenty of photos and videos to look back on and cherish.

One idea is to give your kids cameras, nothing too fancy, that you can then use to create personalized albums or a slide show for a family night at home.

Safety and Security

Research local safety concerns and establish family rules for staying safe while traveling.

Travel With Basic Medicines

Pack a small medical kit with essentials like pain relievers, band-aids, and any necessary prescription medications.

Only Plan 1-2 Activities per Day

Avoid over-scheduling by limiting daily activities. This provides ample time to explore and fully experience each activity.

Do the Free Stuff

Seek out free attractions and events, such as parks, festivals, and walking tours, to keep costs down while still enjoying local experiences.

Book in Advance

To ensure a smooth and enjoyable family vacation, it’s crucial to secure accommodations, transportation, and activity reservations well in advance. Not only does this help you avoid disappointment, but it may also grant access to early-bird discounts and special offers.

We have found that booking early has several benefits:

  • Skip the Line Tickets and City Passes: Purchase advance or priority access tickets to save time and avoid long waits at popular attractions. No one wants to wait in line, especially when kids are involved.
  • Accommodations: Reserve family-friendly lodging early to secure the best options and rates.
  • Transportation: Book flights, trains, or rental cars ahead of time to ensure availability and potentially take advantage of discounted rates.
  • Activities: Secure spots for popular family activities, tours, or events to avoid missing out on memorable experiences.

We recommend this to reduce stress and create an itinerary around sleep schedules and down time.

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Family Travel Hotel Tips

Selecting family-friendly accommodations is crucial for a comfortable and enjoyable vacation. Seek out hotels or vacation rentals with amenities that cater to the needs of families, making your stay more convenient and stress-free.

These are things we recommend looking for in your hotel:

  • Kitchenettes: Opt for a hotel room or rental with a kitchenette, allowing you to prepare meals and snacks, saving time and money on dining out.
  • Laundry facilities: Access to laundry facilities is essential for families, helping you pack lighter and manage any unexpected messes.
  • Separate sleeping areas: Choose accommodations with separate sleeping areas, providing privacy for parents and ensuring everyone gets a good night’s sleep.
  • Family-friendly amenities: Seek out hotels with kid-friendly features like swimming pools, playgrounds, and activity programs, keeping the little ones entertained during downtime.
  • Location: Ensure your accommodations are conveniently located near attractions, public transportation, and other necessities, making it easier to explore your destination.

Always Be Packing Snacks

Always, Always, Always be packing… SNACKS!

Carry healthy snacks to satisfy hunger and prevent meltdowns during long days of exploration.

That doesn’t just mean meltdowns from the little ones. Hunger is no friend of parents either when it your patience is being tested.

Give Kids Your Contact Information

Provide children with your contact details in case of separation, and consider using identification bracelets or tags for added safety.

Tips for Flying with Kids

Flying with kids can be a daunting task, but with a little preparation and foresight, you can make the experience smoother for everyone.

Ensure a smooth flight with your little ones by preparing for various situations and keeping them entertained. Here are some essential tips for flying with kids:

  • Entertainment: Pack age-appropriate toys, games, and movies to keep your children engaged during the flight.
  • Snacks: Bring a variety of healthy snacks to avoid hunger-induced tantrums and to cater to any picky eaters.
  • Comfort Items: Pack a favorite blanket or stuffed animal to help your child feel secure and comfortable during the flight.
  • Motion Sickness: Be prepared with motion sickness remedies like ginger candies or over-the-counter medication in case your child experiences discomfort.
  • Ear Pressure: Bring along chewing gum, lollipops, or a pacifier to help your child alleviate ear pressure during takeoff and landing.
  • Book Premium: If the budget allows fly premium with your airline. This way you’ll have more room and comfort for the little ones.
  • Carry-on Clothing: Bring a change of clothes for yourself and the kids in your carry-on luggage. In case of any accidents due to sickness or spilling. You can thank us later.

We hope incorporating these family travel tips into your vacation planning will help you create a memorable, enjoyable, and stress-free experience for the whole family.

Take your time to relax, slow down, and enjoy the little moments.

Happy Travels!