One of our most asked questions is – “How do you travel so much with young children? You make it look easy!”. Well confession time- it’s not easy! I always joke that travelling with kids is not a “Vacation” but rather, a “relocation” with less of the tools and resources you normally have at your disposal. BUT, we do want to travel with our kids (winters in Alberta are LONG!) and we feel strongly that it is important for them to be exposed to unique and different situations so that they may learn (verrrry slowly) to become good travellers. Although it is NEVER a walk in the park, we do have a few tried and true tips that we rely on to make travelling with children a little less stressful and slightly less chaotic!
1.Choose location wisely. We limit our travels with kids to a maximum of three hours on an airplane with only one stop in our travels. Children get bored very quickly and keeping them sitting without a change in scenery for longer than 3 hours is challenging. Plus, we always EXPECT the unexpected. Flights will be delayed. Luggage will be lost. Having fewer connecting flights decreases the risk of missed flights and lost luggage. Yes, this does restrict where we can go. We frequent Arizona, California and Mexico for this reason. And yes, these aren’t necessarily culturally educational vacations for our children, but honestly, having been through some seriously horrific travel experiences with kids, it is not our top priority at this time. We will save the “experience” travels to Europe and farther destinations in Central America and North America for when they are older and adapt easier.
2. Consider Driving. Hear me out on this one. It may seem like a longer travel day (and it may be) but there are several benefits to driving. Firstly, you control your own destiny! Haha. You can pull over for a walk/ stretch/water break whenever you want. You are on your own schedule. Secondly, Crying kids? Not as terrible as on an airplane. Only YOU have to listen to them, and you don’t have to deal with death stares from baby haters. Thirdly, you can pack WHATEVER you want! Need your babies’ favorite bouncy chair? BRING IT! Destinations such as Banff, BC and Idaho are favorites of ours because there are tons of family friendly activities in both the summer and the Winter. Plus, you know if you forgot something or ran out of diapers or wipes you will be able to find them easily at the grocery stores there.
3. Rent a House or VRBO when Possible. This has been a game changer for us when travelling. Having a kitchen and access to a laundry room are absolute necessities for our family. Our kids are VERY messy eaters and go through clothing like no ones business. If I had to pack multiple outfits per day I would need 10 suitcases, and would be coming home to a MOUNTAIN of laundry. NOT happening! It is also super important for us to cook for ourselves as much as possible while on vacation. Our kids turn into absolute monsters if they are frequently eating unhealthy restaurant food. We all enjoy preparing healthy meals like we do at home, and this also allows us to stay within budget- eating out is often the largest surprise expense while travelling! Renting houses or VRBO’s also allows you to travel with friends or other family members which we love! It is more fun to travel with others AND you share the cost of accommodations. We always get asked where we stay- these are our FAVE two VRBO locations.
The “Canadian Rocky Mountain Estate” near Banff – Rental Link Here
We stayed here with a big group of friends (adults + kids) for a birthday celebration a little while ago and it was AMAZING! It is a true log home with vaulted ceilings, wide hallways, spa area with sauna, steam room and hot tub, generous kitchen, spacious dining room and extensive decks overlooking the valley and mountains.
While the building style is classic, the home is outfitted with the latest technology, and met all our entertainment and comfort needs. It’s a 6 bedroom home that sleeps up to 18 guests comfortably. There are 4 Full Bathrooms and 1 Half Bathroom. Our favorite space in the home was definitely the Basement Games Room complete with pool tables, darts and full bar! Perfect for entertaining once the kids were asleep!
We also loved the proximity of this location to activities in the mountains. Not too far a drive to the Nordic Center for Cross Country Skiing, Downtown Canmore, Banff Hot Springs, Nordic Spa in Kananaskis, Banff Avenue or area skiing at Sunshine, Lake Louise or Mt. Norquay!
The Oasis Estate in Arizona- VRBO Link Here
The Oasis is another place absolutely perfect for travel with small kids. It is a 5 acre, private-style, gated property located in the heart of Northern Scottsdale. The Oasis is in a perfect location, half-way between JW Marriott and Fairmont Scottsdale Princess and Four Minutes away from the Four Seasons. Plus it is close to critical an amenities for moms- grocery stores and Starbucks! Haha.
We love that the Oasis has been newly furnished and has seven bedrooms, as well as an outdoor cooking area, fridge, ice maker, grill and smoker.
There is also a separate Guest House and Casita that provides even more space if you are with a big group. Plus, the outdoor living room is to die for- with grand fireplace and TV, a volleyball court, table tennis, cowboy cauldron and much more!
The amazing backyard is where we spend most of our time! The Oasis is beautifully landscaped, with a gorgeous infinity pool and hot tub.
We have enjoyed the most spectacular sunsets, sunrises, views of the Mountains and Scottsdale City lights. You can see Pinnacle Peak from the front door, Troon Mountain on the east, McDonald Mountains and Scottsdale City lights from the backyard. It is truly an incredible spot!
4. En-Route Baggage. Our final tip is to pack wisely for your time en- route to your destination. This means LOTS of the following:
- Snacks (fruit snacks, granola bars, crackers, pretzels, popcorn, and dried fruit). For a full list of our Healthy Travel Eats click here.
- Novel toys and activities ( we love craft kits from the dollar store, small animal or dinosaur figurines , kinder surprise toys, playdough, coloring books etc)
- Extra Clothing for all family members (necessary if someone gets sick, or your luggage is lost!!)
We hope you found these travel tips helpful! Have any you think you could add to the list? Email us your suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org
* This post was done in partnership with Stellar Retreats. But as always, the thoughts and opinions are our own. *