Travel Planning with Kids

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I love to travel, but I absolutely hate planning the details of my trip.  I mean, I’m great at saying let’s go to ____________ (insert well known tourist destination), and make sure we see/do ____________ (insert landmark/activity destination is known for).  When it comes to actually planning out the details that will make that trip happen, I’m an awful procrastinator.

I fall into the habit of getting overwhelmed at the thought of planning and everything that goes into making a trip happen.  Luckily, my husband is great at planning out the details of a trip, but he doesn’t like to be left completely on his own to do it.  Therefore, I had to find some way that I could get myself to plan a trip without dragging my feet so much we never went on the trip.

If I thought planning for my husband and me was hard, a baby/toddler adds a whole new level of difficult to the planning.  Despite my initial planning dread, we have had a bunch of great trips as a family, and my 1.5-year old son is more well-traveled than some adults.  Read on for my tips to make travel planning with kids easier and have those family trips you imagine.

Travel Planning with Kids

Plan to Plan

If you want to take a family trip 3 months from now, you will want to start planning soon, so that you can book flights and lodging early enough to get the best rates.  While you are still excited about the trip, sit down and spend 10 minutes making a list of everything you need to do to get that trip planned.  This could include be start off as follows:

  • Book hotel
  • Book flights
  • Book rental car
  • Book baby rental items
  • Book excursions

Once you have a list of everything you need to do, grab your planner, and start scheduling yourself planning blocks.  These are blocks of time where you schedule yourself time to check one item off your planning list.  30-minute blocks are likely sufficient for most tasks.  Once you have a time block for each activity on your list, commit to yourself that you will treat it as a mandatory activity like everything else on your calendar.

Pro Tip: Make sure things that requiring booking something are early in your planning period.  You will want to make sure to book early enough before things fill up or rates increase.


Organize Your Thoughts

To make you planning time blocks as productive as possible, have an idea of what you need to consider and how you want to organize that information to make the best decisions.  I really like using worksheets that allow me to write in specific info for hotels, or flights, etc.  If the thought of creating worksheets is overwhelming, you can grab my travel planner here.


Keep an Idea List

For lists that you need to always have handy, I love using the cell phone app Wunderlist.  I pretty much always have my cell phone handy, so this method ensures my list is always nearby as well.  You will want to have this list to write down anything that jumps into your mind.  Maybe this is a great idea you hear for entertaining your toddler while traveling, or a must-do attraction someone tells you about, or a great restaurant to try on your trip, or something you can’t forget to pack.  Whatever it is, you will want to remember it when you are actually in a position to do something with that information.  The list allows you to make note of it, and when you are busy planning, skim your list to remind yourself about all the ideas you’ve had about the trip.


Enlist Your Family’s Help

If you are taking a family trip, get everyone involved in the planning process.  Your baby may not be able to help, but everyone from toddler age up can take at least a small part.  Planning tasks could range from having your elementary-aged child check the whether for the trip before everyone starts packing, or having your toddler pick out which travel activities he wants to take along.  If you have older kids coming along, you could have the teenagers practice budgeting parts of the trip such as activities or meals. 

Consider what each person is capable of and what would be of interest or a good learning experience and delegate tasks.  The more you include the family, the less you feel like a travel planner, and the more they are invested in the trip.


Go to the Internet

If you find yourself stuck on a particular task, do a quick online search for the destination and whatever it is you are looking for.  Trying to decide which hotel is the best choice in a certain area, Google it!  There are so many travel bloggers around the world that specialize in writing guides to traveling different places.  Be aware that some of these may be sponsored, but many times they do still outline the pros/cons of the location or activity.


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Travel Planning with Kids

Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will receive a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

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