25 Family Travel Tips for a hassle-free vacation


Planning a family vacation is a lot of work, and we can use all the family travel tips we can get! You are probably spending countless hours looking for the perfect hotel, planning your road trip with pit stops, and worrying about what to pack.

A great app to add to your family travel tool belt is the Gowhee App. It offers great recommendations from local parents worldwide and you can save places in custom lists as you plan your next trip.

Whether you are traveling for the first time with your kid(s) or you have had many trips under your belt; here is a list of 25 family travel tips to help speed things up and make the whole experience less stress-full:

** This post contains affiliate links, but we only recommend products tested and approved by our community.

Happy little boy in front a playground.
Playground break during travel. Source: Gowhee App

1. Pack Snacks: The best of all family travel tips

Have you ever had to deal with an angry kid while flying or driving? It is not recommended! 

And you can not always stop to buy food or pay for premium airplane food. That can add up quickly. To prevent this, make snacks for them ahead of time

A misconception with TSA regulations is that you can not pack food.
Food is allowed on board in solid form and even closed commercial containers (like apple sauce). For children 3 and under, you can present breast milk and formula at security.

Prevent sugar high incidents and pack things like fruit, cheese sticks, an immune booster smoothie, and granola bars to keep our kids satisfied until you reach your destination. For more snack ideas take a look here.

2. Plan some car games

A long road trip without games or activities is a recipe for disaster. If you know you’re going to be in the car for a while, playing car games with your kids is a great way to take their minds off of the long drive. 

If you are trying to go screen-free for the trip, here is a great bingo car game that will keep kids entertained.

3. Involve your kids in the planning

One of our favorite family travel tips and the best way to motivate children to behave and be patient is to let them plan for exciting things to do once arrived.

As an adult, we usually cope with travel inconveniences by focusing on what’s ahead. 

Children can do the same thing. Let them plan the trip with you, listen to their bucket list. If things get a little difficult during the trip, offer them a gentle reminder of the great things that are coming

>>> Download the Gowhee App and let your kids choose their favorite attractions while browsing safely.

Family talking about trip expectations | Source: Love Life Abroad
Communication is key for family travel. Source: Lovelife_abroad (family travel influencer)

25 Family Travel Tips for a hassle-free vacation​

4. Set expectations for the family trip

Taking time to talk to your kids about expectations can go a long way in the planning phase.
It is useful to look at the map together, show them how far they will be traveling, comparing that distance with a familiar destination, this way they can understand why things take longer to go to.

Another important talk is around the safety rules and how to respect the environment they are in. For instance, when arriving at the hotel, go around the room with them and explain what they are allowed to touch and play with and what is the “no-no” items/zone.

5. Get a separate space for kids in your hotel room

Vacation is also a time for you to reconnect with your partner and take time for yourself.

During the day you may be busy discovering new places and enjoy some bonding time with the whole family. But at night, once bedtime comes around, you can take the time to unwind and truly step into the “vacation mode”. 

All you need is a separate room where the kids can be sound asleep. For this, try to book a room with a “suite” or “loft” floor plan, or if kids are older, book a joint room for everyone to spread out.

>>> Check the Gowhee App’s filter “joint room/ suite”,  to discover suitable accommodations anywhere in the world

6. Plan for safety

Have you ever had a child run away in public or get lost? This is one of the worst feelings as a parent. You always hear stories from other parents who have endured that dreaded fate, but are you prepared?

There are many family travel tips for this kind of situation. One great hack is to put GPS tracker in your children’s belonging or have a GPS watch for them. This may seem a little overkill, but losing your kids while traveling is not worth it.

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7. Take advantage of Kid-friendly discounts

More budget for fun is always a good idea, right?
Try to score some great discounts for families by using tools like the Gowhee App Travel Deals, which has discounts specifically for families.

Don’t forget to check the “offer”  tab of the hotel/attraction’s website. These businesses often try to price match the rooms with online reservations platforms, so when they offer discounts, they can be more advantageous than the discount websites.

>>> Join Gowhee and redeem your member-exclusive deals.

8. Take your kids schedule in mind

For instance, use their nap time to plan a late lunch at a quiet restaurant and score a date with your spouse

If your kids are more attentive and composed in the morning, use that time for educational visits and keep the fun/playground stops for afternoon chaos.

The GoWhee app is perfect to find locations like restaurants, coffee shops, and more using the “Quiet” filter or educational places using the “culture” category.

9. Pack a DIY first kit

Have you ever been on a trip and one of your kids gets a cut or scrape?

 Having a first-aid kit handy is a great way to keep your kids happy and healthy during the trip. No need to stop for band-aids or ointment because you have it all with you! This one is perfect for traveling!

Little girl playing in front of a couple of luggage. Family travel tip pack light.. Source: Thefamilyfuntour.
Packing light makes traveling with kids much easier. Source: Thefamilyfuntour (family travel influencer)

10. Travel light

As a general rule, if you can travel with just carry-on bags for the whole family, moving around will be so much easier!

But this one is a tough one for most families. It is hard to not pack every little thing for your kids just in case they need it! 

Just remember, kids, don’t use most of the stuff we pack for them anyway. They have very little time to get bored or worry about color coordination.

 It’s better to stick with the basics and target accommodations with laundry.
>>> Find hotels, vacation rental, and more with laundry onsite on the Gowhee App. 

If you do need something that you forgot to pack, you can always buy it (for most things, it is cheaper to buy them on site, than travel with it, anyway). 

11. Plan your flight and long drive during sleeping time.

A great family travel tip, is to always try to book overnight flights or travel at night. This way, you can get some peace while they snooze during the longest haul of your trip.

If this is not possible, the next best thing is to plan flights and car rides around their nap. Don’t forget sleep aids like eye masks, pillows, and noise-canceling headphones. 

12. Use travel-friendly toys and activities while flying

Quiet activities are always best when flying. So bring coloring books (and use these ingenious rectangle crayons to not spend your entire flight picking them up the floor), books for reading, their favorite non-musical toys, etc…. These things keep them occupied for a while so you can sleep, listen to a podcast, or just sit in blissful silence!

You should never rely solely on in-flight’s entertainment since sometimes the aircraft doesn’t offer them or things might not work. Netflix has a “download” option on their app, so save their favorite shows just in case and don’t forget backup activities

Triangular Crayons for family travel
Triangular crayons, the perfect travel friendly essential. Source: Gowhee App.

13. Work your way up to the big trip

It is common knowledge, with kids, it’s all bout habits! They thrive on things they know and usually act up when changes come up. 

So to remedy the surprise effect of a trip, go on small outings near home first. This way you will set expectations on how they should behave in public.

It’s also much easier to pack up and go home when you are a few minutes away. Going to restaurants is a different deal than eating at home, so try to take them out to eat and rehearse that part of your trip ahead of time.

>>> Find things to do with kids near you on the Gowhee App.

14. Pack Blackout travel curtains for a good night sleep

One of the least talked about family travel tips! 

If you have ever traveled with your kids before, you may have experienced these crazy early rising habits they get. 

To help fight jet lag and sleep in, you will need a dark room. Most hotel chains have blackout curtains nowadays, but smaller inns or Airbnb may not. Prepare for the unpredictable and bring along a travel blackout curtain or a Pack N Play cover.

15. Use a Refillable bottle of water during your trip

The obvious reason why this is always a good idea is of course to protect the environment. But some other reasons may include: 

Budget-friendly option: Many hotels provide refilling stations with purified water, even sparkling water! Why pay for good water if you can get it free.

Time-saving: That is one less trip to store, stop to the gas station… All these little stop-and-go add up, that’s not even counting the clean-up of empty bottles all around the car.

Safety: Many countries have issues with clean water. This lead to a whole market for selling unsanitary water to tourists in the form of a bottle. When your resort or Airbnb like this house in Mexico provides you with filtered water, using your bottle will keep your family safe.
If your accommodation doesn’t provide filtered water, invest in bottled water with filtration like this one.

16. Use homeopathy medicine to help with travel-related issues

Do you have to deal with car sickness? Jet lag? Difficulty sleeping or tummy aches?

These little illnesses and discomfort can put a toll on your family vacation Luckily some companies like Boiron, make it easy for parents by selling all-natural remedies for travel in one little travel box

The pellets are great for young children and adults too*. They are small, taste sweet, and cover all the necessary ailments while traveling.
*This is not meant as medical advice, please refer to your physician for more details.

Travel bag filled with homeopathy remedy and other family travel items.
Homeopathy travel kit from Boiron. Source Gowhee App

17. Don’t forget their comfort item

This family travel tip may seem obvious but if forgotten it can put a serious damper to your vacation. Make sure to count their “teddy” or “blanky” as a priority item on your checklist.

18. Get travel and medical insurance

 Only 30% of travelers take the plunge and contract these policies. But, these can save you a ton of headaches and money if you shall need them.

Why is it needed? Well, for example, airlines do not cover the damage done to strollers and car seats, travel insurance will take over all of that for you. 

Many medical plans, do not cover sicknesses abroad. Moreover, if you needed repatriation for any family member, this would be an all-cash expense as well. 

To make it easy companies that specialize in travel insurance, have plans that cover both aspects. Here is a list Forbes put together to get you started. 

19. Make a checklist 

Have a checklist ready ahead of time to make packing a breeze. 

Make sure to pack the list with you, so you can refer to it when it is time to change location during the trip or for departure. 

You can do it on paper of course, or use the amazing free appPackr
It allows you to create packing lists per person, customize the list per location, and even has a weather option integrated to pack with your destination’s forecast in mind.

20. Travel with an Isolated tote bag.

This is the kind of family travel tip you don’t hear often but it is a game-changer for families (or for everyone for that matter). You can hold the kid’s snack, baby bottles, leftovers, and anything that could be perished during travel.

It is also a great way to add extra safety around liquids and separate from the rest in your luggage to prevent spills. And finally, the padding makes for the perfect protection around sensitive items like cameras.

21. Empty your phone/ camera before your trip to take amazing family photos.

We have all experienced that annoying feeling when you are about to take the perfect family pic and the phone announces our lack of storage

Family vacations are the perfect opportunity to load with memories, take cool portraits for holiday cards, and fill your social feed with amazing shots. So don’t miss out on opportunities because you ran out of space, do a little pic decluttering before your trip.

Little girl with her dog near a lake
Pets are also part of the family, plan outings for them too. Source: Gowhee App

22. Plan for your pets if you bring them

They are part of our family, we love them! But traveling with pets is a challenge. 

So when you are planning your vacation, make sure to factor their need into the mix. We recommend you use Gowhee App to find places that are fun for both kids and pets. 

For example, use the dog-friendly filter to find a playground that accepts dogs, or check reviews from other parents to see if there is a dog park nearby.

>>> Use the Pet-friendly filter on the Gowhee App and see what comes up.

23. Find places for kids to stop often

Taking a break with kids will be your lifesaver during a long trip or a long day in town.. 

Try to hit some places the kids love every few hours. Playgrounds, local ice cream shops, or theme parks are great ways to let them jump, run, and let off some steam

After a break, they will be ready to focus while visiting studious sites or stay seated and content.

Find Places For Kids On The Road

Try the Gowhee App for FREE today.

24. Check all the paperwork requirements and prepare for the unpredictable.

When planning a trip with kids you should always make sure that no extra document is needed to fly, cross borders, and come back home. 

For instance, when traveling solo with kids, be wary about names not matching on passports (in this case a birth certificate may be needed).

One important thing is to also prepare for loss or stolen papers during the trip. 

To help with situations like that, always make a few copies of your ID documents. Take one with you (carry it in a different bag than the original) and give one to a trusted person back home. In case you need to go to your embassy to issue an emergency document, these copies will come in handy.

25. Pack a pen in your bag/pockets.

 You and your family will most likely need to fill a form at some point during the trip, especially during Covid. And having to fetch for a pen, bother staff or other passengers, is the most annoying thing


Don’t forget that kids sense when their parents are stressed and feed on that.

So to keep things moving smoothly, be gentle with yourself. Vacations are means to be unpredictable, messy, and carefree…

Do you have a tip not listed here? Tell us below.

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