Traveling for kids is a great way to expose them to nature, art, science, culture and while making lifelong family memories. With a little planning, trips and vacations can be inexpensive, fun and educational. You don’t even have to venture far—a “staycation” in your own town through tourists’ eyes can be budget-conscious way to have fun.
This resource guide was compiled to show the best tips and advice to make traveling for kids. From organizing the logistics to find good deals and family-friendly activities, this guide has it all.
General Tips for Traveling with Kids
Traveling with Kids Checklist: From Parenting magazine, learn the logistics tips for air travel with kids.
10 Travel Activities for Kids: This BabyCenter article provides tips for car travel including safety tips, dealing with meltdowns and entertainment for various ages.
50 Road Trip Ideas for Kids: These games and activities will keep your kids occupied during long travel times.
Traveling Internationally with Kids: This mom blogger has tried and true advice for traveling out-of-country with little ones.
Rent Baby Travel Gear: This article helps you learn what not to bring. You can rent a lot of your necessary items, like cribs and strollers, on-site, which can make the travel itself much easier.
Places to Go
Family Trip Ideas: Whether you’re looking to stay local or go international, this guide will help you find the family friendly activities in any vacation destination.
13 Best Family Vacations in U.S.: From national parks and beaches to theme parks and historical destinations, these are U.S. News’ best family hot spots.
29 Inexpensive Family Vacations: For the budget-conscious, these locations will make vacationing with kids fun and affordable.
Staycation Ideas: You don’t always have to roam far from home to enjoy a vacation atmosphere. These tips help you look at your local area with a tourists’ eyes.
11 Ways to Save Money on Vacationing: These tips will help you save on food, transportation and more.
27 Ways to Save on Family Vacations: From signing your kid up for frequent flier miles to saving on souvenirs, this guide aims to make family vacations more budget-friendly.
100 Tips to Save Money: Get the kids involved in vacation planning by having them help budget and save for your trip ahead of time.
Finding Kid-Friendly Activities
Top 10 Free US Museums: These free museums can provides a full day or more of family-friendly activity.
15 Best Children’s Museums: From Indianapolis to St. Paul and Houston, the U.S. is full of fun museums designed just for children.
10 Best Family-Friendly Amusement Parks: These U.S. theme parks are perfect for families with kids of any age.
National Parks for Kids: Learn how to make the most of any national parks near your vacation destination, including how your kids can become junior park rangers.
So where should you start?
1) We suggest starting with your budget. Know how much you can afford to spend on your vacation. Use a budgeting app if necessary. You can include monthly savings in your allotted total if you plan to dedicate a set amount each month to a special “travel fund.”
2) Once you have your maximum allowance, you can start looking at kid-friendly travel destinations. Try to plan around what the kids like to do, but also look for nearby gems that may expose them to new sights and hobbies. For example, while visiting a theme park, look at renting surrey bikes at a nearby national park or kayaking at a local lake. These activities are often much cheaper and just as fun.
3) Plan your lodging. You can save a lot on hotels by looking at your options on sites like Airbnb, VRBO or FlipKey. With these sites, you can even rent entire houses to allow a separate bedroom for kids. Having a kitchen on-site will help you cook “at home” and save money.
4) That brings us to our next tip. Make your own food. Bring a cooler to store drinks and food in your room. Carry insulated thermoses to avoid highly priced bottled water. Visit a nearby grocery and pack lunches for the day and leave a crockpot in the room for dinner. At the very least, pack more snacks in your bag than you normally would since the kids will be more active while traveling.
5) Finally, think outside the box. Venture off the beaten path to find less expensive alternatives to tourist traps. Always ask if kids’ admissions are discounted or free, and look for group discounts of you have a larger family. Get the kids involved in planning their favorite activities, and take the opportunity to teach them how to budget between the essentials and the fun things.