Top Ten Family Travel Tips

I’ve been traveling over 45 years. 28 years with hot hubby, and 21 years as a family. We’ve visited six continents and over 50 countries. I feel pretty confident we’ve learned some core travel tips along the way, and figured out what works and what definitely does not. 

Here Are Our Top Ten Family Travel Tips

We learned the hard way, so you don’t have to!

  • Always try to carry-on luggage whenever possible. This not only eliminates the possibility of lost luggage, but makes for a speedy exit out of the airport and onto your adventure. We pack light-weight, versatile, comfortable clothes, in colors that can be worn in multiple combinations. Worst case scenario, if we’re missing something, it gives us the opportunity to buy a fun souvenir.

Top ten tips for family travel at the Cairo pyramids

  • Never ‘take a quick nap’ if you feel jet-lagged and tired. Always assume the time in the city you land. If it’s 1pm… make yourself stay awake until 9.30pm. Regardless of how long you’ve been traveling. It’s the ONLY way to get on track as quickly as possible.
  • Make travel a priority. Many people are waiting to travel until they’ve paid bills, gotten that raise or (insert other reason here.) There are creative ways to make travel more affordable and we utilize airline points, credit card points, and hotel points to save money and help pay for trips. We find the best travel rewards credit card and use it to pay for everything to earn reward points for each charge. You do have to be super-organized when doing this, but we often acquire $3000 or more in travel credits per year.
  • Try to take the first flight when booking flights. Outbound you are excited to get there so it’s no big deal to get up early, and on the return you’ll avoid hanging around a hotel after you’ve checked out of your room. 
  • Be patient and expect plans to change. Many countries operate on ‘their time’, and they are not trying to annoy you, it’s cultural. Expect there to be a bump in your plans and if there are no unexpected problems, you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Traveling to the Great Wall of China with kids

 

  • Always keep an open mind. Seek out interesting and unusual places that don’t see much tourism. Our most memorable travel experiences have been places that are not popular destinations. We definitely travel to popular holiday spots, but our travel tip is don’t rule out other locations just because they seem difficult to reach. Sometimes getting to a remote place is half of the fun!
  • Chat with the locals. Embrace different possibilities, opinions, religions, customs, and interests. Ask questions. You don’t have to agree with everything locals say, but it’s amazing what you’ll learn by having a casual conversation. And locals usually have the best restaurant recommendations and travel tips too!
Peruvian kids in cusco  -  top ten travel tips

One of my favorite parts of traveling the world is watching my boys interact with children from around the globe. Doesn’t matter if they can’t speak the language, kids find a way to communicate.
Travel to Cambodia with kids and meet more kids
We always bring stickers or pencils to hand out to local children too!
  • Take lots of pictures. Both in your mind and with your camera. Then put the iPhone away once you’ve captured the pictures you want, and really savor the moment. We see so many people staring at their screens instead of whatever magnificent sight is in front of them.
  • If you see something you love please splurge and get it.  You don’t know how many times Julian and I kick ourselves for not buying that awesome mask at the bottom of the Tiger Nest Monastery Hike in Bhutan. We thought we were paying $5 more than we should for it. We were convinced we’d find the exact one in the village for less… but we never did. It will always be ‘the one that got away.’ And always splurge on those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Experiences are priceless and moments that matter – you’ll never regret those special moments.
shark cage diving in South Africa -  top ten travel tips
Traveling with kids is somehow similar to diving with sharks

Shark Cage Diving in South Africa was quite pricey for four people, however was one of those ‘bucket-list’ moments that we will probably never get a chance to recreate again. Well worth every penny we spent!
shark cage diving in south africa with the family.  Bucket list moment

 

  • Buy Travel Insurance. We’ve had to use our travel insurance many times, and the cost is minimal compared to the cost of an emergency during your trip. We recommend you seriously consider buying travel insurance on longer trips. We use Squaremouth to search, compare, and purchase travel insurance from every major provider in the United States. Buying travel insurance is typically inexpensive and your peace of mind is priceless!
  • Eat local food. Taste a bit of everything when you travel, especially if you don’t know what it is. Ask locals for a recommendation. We’ve had the most memorable meals suggested by locals. Don’t be afraid to eat street food. If it’s thoroughly cooked or had been boiling all day, and there are locals enjoying it, it’s probably safe (enough). Eating street food is an awesome way to save money while you travel and often the most authentic and fun experience. It’s a great way to meet locals, too.
Traveling to Morocco with kids and drinking tea
Drinking tea in Morocco and learning about life in the Atlas Mountains!
Eating noodles in hong kong travel with kids - top ten travel tips

The boys LOVED the noodles in Hong Kong. 

Try these tips out when you travel to the top 10 places to travel with kids in 2024.

What family travel tips would YOU like to share?

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About The Author

Samantha

I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Vicky Karvela | 15th Mar 23

    Hi Sam,
    Excellent tips! As someone who travels a lot for business and fun, I try to travel light, so a carry on is what I am trying to bring. But after COVID and especially with all the problems in many airports around the world, I take a carry on, no matter if I have a checked in bag. In the past, I will fit in my bag a day’s worth of clothes, now more.
    Another tip: As we are getting older it is a bit harder to adjust to time difference. I totally agree with you that you need to follow the time of the place you have arrived, sleep when it is time to sleep not when you want. What helps a lot is to go outside and walk during the day when there is sun/natural light, so your body can understand that it is day.
    Great tip about taking pictures but then leaving the camera/phone and just enjoying what you see. And trying local food helps, too. When my husband went on a business trip to Korea in the 90’s he was trying to describe his experience, but then he told me, “you have to live it”. I can’t agree more. It is the feeling, the taste of food, the discussion with local people.
    Thank you for your travel blog. I learn something new all the time.
    Best Regards,
    Vicky

    • Samantha | 15th Mar 23

      ahhh thank you for reading Vicky! I know you are a seasoned travel too, thank you for your tips!

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