Family Travel Guide
Whether you’re travelling with babies, children or teenagers, seeing the world as a family creates unmatched bonding opportunities and memories that last a lifetime. Budgeting and planning an overseas trip for the whole family can seem overwhelming, but help is on the way—from where to stay and what to eat to must-see sights and travel insurance, these tips will help you plan a family-friendly adventure worth repeating year after year.
Pre-Travel Prep vs. Post-Travel Purchase
What you do before you travel can make or break your trip. Use the Travel Packing List and follow these tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable holiday:
- Don't leave home without travel insurance. From health and wellness to money and identity theft, the right insurance coverage safeguards your well-being and peace of mind, which is essential when travelling with kids.
- Make and store copies of identification items for all family members (even the baby) This will help in the unpleasant event of theft.
- Read up on the countries entry specifications. Some destinations require vaccinations prior to entry; plus, if you're travelling with little ones, they might require added vaccines or other health precautions.
In terms of packing, less is usually more, but some things should always go along. A few items worth carrying on:
- Travel health kit: Ensure you're fully equipped with necessary dosage of prescription medications (if needed), stomach soothing medicines and antibiotic creams in case of emergency. Ensure you have a letter from your doctor to explain why you might have certain medicines.
- Comfort items: The comforts of home are not something you can buy overseas, To avoid homesickness, bring your child’s favourite toy or blanket.
Family-Style Dining vs. Exotic Cuisine Experience
You can have your French rolls and eat them, too. Here's how to balance budget dining and fine dining without blowing your budget.
Going out to eat can get costly when feeding a clan of four or more. Make it a family affair with these smart ideas:
- Pay a little extra for a place to stay that includes a kitchenette. Enjoying meals at your home away from home saves money and creates more time for sightseeing and adventure-seeking otherwise spent on lengthy sit-down meals.
- For a cultural experience, take the kids to visit local markets or grocery stores. They are packed with country-specific staples like dulce de leche in Argentina (great on toast or to bring on a picnic for a sweet treat).
- Ween your kids (and yourself) off soda before travelling. Would you rather spend your hard-earned euros on a Dr. Pepper in France or fresh baguettes from the corner market? Bring refillable water bottles and save your cash for delicacies you can't get at home.
Enjoying the local fare and the cultural experience of dining are important parts of travelling and one the kids will certainly enjoy. Follow these tips to savour the exotic tastes while dining out on a dime.
- The best time to eat at restaurants is during lunch, when places offer lunch specials and menus are cheaper than dinner-time menus. This is especially true around Europe and in Singapore.
- Think outside the tourist trap. Use apps like Yelp to see where the locals dine. Not only will you avoid the touristy places, you’ll get cheaper, more authentic local food this way.
- If you’re in a place with food trucks or street food, eat there. Not only will these meals be cheaper, they will probably be tasty, too.
Family Fun and Lodging Tips
Some tourist attractions can't be missed (think double decker London bus), but they also don't have to break the bank. Here are some tips on saving money on tours, museums and attractions.
- Oftentimes, children under 12 can get in free to many places of interest. Do your research and map out must-sees. If your kids are more than 12 years of age, bring their student ID and get a discounted City Tourism Card for reduced entry fees at main attractions.
- The learning experience that comes from immersing yourself in another culture is priceless, literally and figuratively. Many cultural landmarks are free to visit, like the Buddhist temples in Bali and the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C.—and they provide unforgettable experiences.
Family travel is all about bonding and making memories, not overspending on swanky accommodation. Make lodging a part of the experience with these budget-friendly options.
- Hostels aren't just for 20-something singles. Many hostels offer private en-suite accommodation (vs. the standard shared dorm setting) that are ideal for families.
- An affordable way to gain insight on the true culture and gain a local perspective on the community you're visiting is through Homestay.com. Like an upgraded bed-and-breakfast, a host is always present to welcome you and introduce you to the local culture.
- For spacious accommodation that feels like home, try a home exchange and truly live like the locals do.
Travelling abroad with the family creates lasting memories and unbreakable bonds. To make sure your trip goes off without a hitch, proper planning is essential. When travelling with children, safety comes first. Secure proper travel insurance, vaccinations and identification, then grab your camera and start taking snapshots of soon-to-be cherished family memories across the globe.
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