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10 Mom-Approved Travel Hacks That Will Change Your Family Vacations

10 Mom-Approved Travel Hacks That Will Change Your Family Vacations

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Are you stressed out about planning your family vacation? Keep scrolling to check out my top travel hacks for families that will change your thinking!
This list of travel tips for families was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

As a mom of two energetic boys, I know firsthand how traveling with kids can sometimes feel like orchestrating a circus on the move.

Over the years, through trial and error and some creative thinking, I’ve gathered a treasure trove of travel hacks that have transformed our family vacations from chaotic to harmonious.

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or planning your first trip with little ones, these 10 travel hacks are must-knows for any mom looking to ease the stress of traveling with kids.

How to Travel With Kids Like a Pro

1. Pack Smart with a Checklist

Never underestimate the power of a good packing list.

Start your list a week before your trip. As you go through your daily routine, jot down items you use that you’ll need to pack.

Image of packing list clipboard 3D image with check boxes marked for baggages

This method helps you avoid those middle-of-the-night panics about forgetting the baby’s favorite blanket or your tween’s charger. And I highly recommend listing all medications, C-PAP machines, and earplugs!

Keep the list saved on your phone for easy checking and updating.

2. Embrace the Magic of Packing Cubes

Packing cubes are a game-changer, especially when you’re managing luggage for the whole family.

Assign different colored cubes for each family member. This not only keeps everyone’s stuff organized but also makes unpacking a breeze. I personally have pink ones so my stuff is easy to find.

Even better, you can quickly grab the cube you need without turning the suitcase into a tornado-struck area. THESE are the packing cubes that my family actually uses on all our trips.

3. Prepare a Go-Bag for Quick Needs

Create a small go-bag with essentials you might need quick access to during your flight or road trip. This can include snacks, wipes, a change of clothes for the kids, small toys, and anything else that can soothe or entertain in a pinch.

Having this bag means you won’t be digging through overhead compartments or under seats while your child grows increasingly impatient.

4. Digitalize Your Documents

Scan or take photos of all your important documents like passports, IDs, and itineraries, and keep them in a secure app on your phone. This saves you the panic if the originals are lost or forgotten.

How to Apply for a US Passport for a Baby or Child, tips featured by top US travel blogger, Marcie in Mommyland: Learn how to get a passport for a child (or baby) with these 8 easy steps. You’ll even find some secret, expert tips to help expedite the application process

Plus, having quick access to your itinerary and booking confirmations can streamline check-ins and transitions.

5. Pre-Book Everything Possible

From airport parking to accommodations, pre-booking can save you from many headaches. Look for family-friendly options that offer flexibility, such as free cancellation or rescheduling.

Services like pre-boarding for families with small children can significantly reduce airport stress.

I also try to always get skip-the-line tickets for any museums or attractions, too. Anytime you can minimize the time waiting in line, go for it!

6. Invest in a Good Travel Stroller

A lightweight, compact stroller that can easily fold down makes trips through airports, museums, and city streets much easier. Some strollers even fit into the overhead bin on airplanes.

Notre Dame with a Baby

Check if your destination is “stroller-friendly” as well—places with lots of stairs and cobblestones might be better navigated with a carrier.

This is the exact stroller that we used and loved for our treks around the U.S., theme parks, and Europe.

7. Snacks Are Your Best Friend

Never underestimate the calming power of snacks. Avoid sugary options which can lead to a quick high and an even quicker crash.

Opt for snacks like fruits, small sandwiches, or nuts that keep energy levels stable. Always have a water bottle for each person to stay hydrated.

8. Entertainment Goes a Long Way

Download movies, games, or books on devices before you leave home.

Remember to pack headphones for each child to avoid a battle over volume. Apps that work offline are great for areas with spotty or no internet access. And it also helps to download any Netflix shows so you don’t have to worry about Wi-Fi.

For younger children, surprise them with a new toy or book to keep their interest longer.

9. Plan Downtime

It’s tempting to pack your itinerary to maximize your trip, but over-scheduling can lead to cranky kids and frustrated parents.

Image of a boy on a pool floatie in the Hard Rock Riviera Maya pool

Plan for downtime each day, especially after a long stretch of travel or a busy morning sightseeing. This can be as simple as an hour at the hotel pool or a quiet evening in a park.

This is personally the hardest part of traveling with kids in my opinion. I like to go, go, go. But, it really does go a lot smoother to carve out downtime.

10. Stay Flexible and Keep a Positive Attitude

No matter how well you plan, things can go awry. Flights get delayed, kids get sick, and weather happens.

The best tool in your travel arsenal is your ability to stay flexible and keep a positive outlook. When the kids see mom managing a setback calmly, they’re more likely to handle it well too.

My friend likes to say, “it’s either a great time or a great story!”

Wrapping It Up

Traveling with kids doesn’t have to be a stressful series of mishaps. With these 10 travel hacks, you can turn potential chaos into cherished family memories.

Remember, the goal of any family vacation is to enjoy spending time together—exploring new places, experiencing new things, and, most importantly, enjoying each other’s company.

Happy travels, moms! You’ve got this!

Looking for more family travel tips? Check out Surviving Family Travel: Essential Tips for Traveling with Kids, The Secret to Creating a Bulletproof Family Travel Itinerary (That Everyone Will Love!), Avoid These Money Drains on Your Next Family Trip, Surviving Multi-Generational Travel, How to Save on Summer Travel This Year, Family Road Trip Packing Hacks, and The Ultimate Checklist for Traveling Abroad with Kids (What NOT to Forget)!

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