10 tips for traveling with kids

Two little kids wait on their dad's luggage in a line at Miami International Airport. See an infographic of 10 tips for traveling with kids.

It's that time of the year again. Planning your summer vacation, specifically how to pay as little as possible for the best time. This is especially challenging for families -- not only does it cost more to schlep all those kids around, but let's face it, most people traveling without kids just hate you. My next guest knows a thing a two about traveling with kids. Tamar Lowell is a mom and the CEO of Access Trips, an adventure travel company. She has two kids, 5 and 8 years old, and learned how to travel with children after experiencing a difficult vacation while pregnant.

"How I plan my own family's trips now is you've got to think through the implications of everything that you're planning for your kid," says Lowell. "One thing is don't move around a lot. Pick a place that you want to be and that you can envision yourself staying for -- if not the duration of your vacation, however long it might be -- and make it a place that you want to explore and that you want to explore with your children. Because then the kids get into a routine, just like they do at home."

 

Lowell recommends renting a house if possible -- often it comes to about the cost of one-and-a-half hotel rooms. This way kids can sleep in different rooms and there is a kitchen, which can save money on eating out. The most important advice she has for people traveling with kids is to take it easy -- don't plan or do too much, be able to go with the flow.

As far as traveling with small kids on long flights, Lowell turns to videos.

"We don't do a lot of screen time at home, but there are things that you sort of just have to forgive yourself for doing when you're on vacation to keep everybody happy," she says. "You bring videos, you bring activity books. If possible, we try not to fly when my son needs a nap because it's pretty likely he's not going to nap on the plane and then things can get a little bit hairy. I think the biggest thing is plan to spend that time with your children. If you bring a bunch of magazine and you think you're going to get a lot of magazine reading done, you're actually going to just be frustrated."

One last tip she's made into a routine on airplanes: asking flight attendants to visit the pilot.

About the author

In more than 20 years in public radio, Barbara Bogaev has served as the longtime guest host of NPR’s flagship program Fresh Air with Terry Gross, as well as host of APM’s news and culture magazine, Weekend America and the weekly national documentary series, Soundprint.

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