Daniel Sherwin is a single dad raising two children, a 9 y/o daughter and 6 y/o son. He created DadSolo.com, aiming to provide other single dads with information and resources to help them better equip themselves on the journey that is parenthood.
PHOTO BY RAWPIXEL.
Hey Parents, Here’s How to Take the Price and Tension Out of Traveling.
As a parent about to travel with kids, chances are you’re trying to figure out how to make it to the destination without experiencing the tantrum of the century that results in forking over money for an airport stuffed animal. It’s true, children add a unique challenge to the traveling experience, but seeing their smiling faces makes it all worth it! Here’s how parents can take the tension out of traveling and avoid unnecessary spending for a more seamless experience.
Don’t Stress Over Booking
Rather than have a gazillion Internet browser windows open trying to find the cheapest price on hotels, flights, and/or car rentals, use a travel site like Priceline. Combine that with cashback options and online promotions for Priceline, and you can increase your savings even further. It’s easy to book, easy to compare prices, and easy to save. Plus, you’ll find that travel sites are able to predict price changes so that you can book at just the right time.
Choose Kid-Friendly Accommodations
Not all accommodations are created equal on the kid front, and you shouldn’t have to pay extra for a kid-friendly experience. As far as airlines go, opt for those that offer pre-boarding for younger children, discounted child fares, stroller/car seat gate checks, WiFi, and special accommodations like changing tables and bassinets. When looking for kid-friendly hotels, pinpoint specific amenities such as large or connecting rooms for big families, family rates, pools, playgrounds, and easy food options via an attached restaurant or room service.
Pack Travel Food and Snacks
Children are snack experts, and it never fails that they want one at the most inopportune times, such as when the plane is taking off or your only option is an overpriced candy bar. Save money, prevent meltdowns, and stop hunger pangs by packing food and snacks not only while traveling but once you arrive at your destination as well. Use containers with labels to keep things organized, and only bring things you know your child enjoys. Once you get where you’re going, find the nearest grocery store so that you can save on lunch and perhaps prevent a meltdown when a restaurant has nothing your child likes. Stick to the staples such as fruits, veggies, bread, deli meat, and mess-free snacks.
Don’t Forget the Basics
Whether you’re traveling to a tourist destination or not, it’s likely you’ll have to pay higher prices for the basics, so bring them yourself. Create a comprehensive packing list that includes everything you and your kids might possibly need including medications, Band-Aids, earplugs, toiletries, and anything your child absolutely can’t function without, such as their favorite stuffed animal, pillow, sheets, tear-free shampoo, etc. Add to the savings by shopping at your favorite stores like Target, searching for coupons, and taking advantage of price-match guarantees. If you’re flying, take a look at the checked-bag policy for each airline to find one that offers the most bang for your buck. For example, your first two bags on Southwest are free, while most other airlines charge $30 to $40 for each checked bag.
Drop Your Expectations
It doesn’t matter if you’re traveling with four kids, one toddler, or solo, having travel expectations is a sure-fire way to result in a letdown. Why? The unexpected happens, and if you have this magical idea in your head of what your trip will look like, then you’ve set the bar high. Let it be what it is. There will be mishaps, maybe even a few tears, but ultimately this trip will be something the entire family remembers.
Regardless of whether this is your first time traveling with children or you’re a seasoned pro, it can still be stressful. Plus, there’s that expectation that it has to be expensive. Hey parents, travel doesn’t have to make your hair fall out or break the bank! A little planning and zero expectations are all it takes for a trip the whole family can enjoy!