Alfie and I love to travel, and we have been traveling as a family from the time we got married. I took all three of my kids on long-haul flights before they were a year old! Since then we've visited many cities and countries, and stayed in everything from five-star resorts to campgrounds and everything in between. Vacations with kids can be "challenging" -- kids don't deal well with changes in schedule, hunger, fatigue or sleepiness (come to think of it, neither do parents!). But we've learned a lot of tips and tricks along the way to help keep our kids happy and keep our vacations more enjoyable.
I'm listing five of those tips below. And since I happen to be a 2015 Resident Blogger Ambassador for Marriott, I also want to highlight how one of Marriott's most family-friendly brands, Residence Inn by Marriott,actually makes is a lot easier to implement those tips. Here are five tips to make travel easier with kids (and five ways Residence Inn can help):
Separate sleeping quartersMaintaining bedtime and naptime schedules are always difficult while away from home, and families should be flexible when it comes to staying up past their kids' bedtimes. But rest is essential for young kids, and things are much easier for everyone in the family if your little sleepers have their own room. That way, grownups can pull the curtains, close the door, and let young travelers recharge while they relax in a separate room. What's more, multi-room suites like the ones at the Residence Inn are even better in the morning when the little ones wake up before you do!
Eat a good breakfast every dayWhen you have a day packed with adventures ahead of you, a good breakfast is essential. Having breakfast at your hotel is so much more convenient that having to track down a cafe or restaurant in the morning. When the breakfast is fresh and ready to eat like it is at the Residence Inn, that's even better -- everyone gets healthy choices no matter what they like to eat!
Make sure your room has a microwave (or better yet, a kitchen!)Need to warm up a bottle in the middle of the night? Have a picky eater who doesn't like any of the food at the cafe (or a child with food allergies)? Residence Inn's mini-kitchen means that you never have to leave the comforts of home! Bonus: having a kitchen also means you can take a break from expensive eateries and have a pizza dinner in your room without leaving crumbs all over the bed.
Have a back-up plan for snacks and suppliesNo matter how well you plan for your trip, you're going to forget something. Or you're going to need something you didn't even anticipate. Just accept that! If your toddler accidentally spills all of his Cheerios, or if you run out of toothpaste, or if you just had an extra-tiring or extra-stressful day and need a midnight snack, take note of the convenience stores near your hotel and check their opening ours. If you're staying at a Residence Inn, you're in luck: they have a mini market with all the staples you need. They also have coffee and tea in the lobby.
Take advantage of technologyThe internet is a wonderful planning tool -- take advantage of it! Use it to check out bus routes, make restaurant reservations, and even to buy attraction tickets online before you go -- it saves you time in line, and for many big museums, it guarantees you entrance during your chosen time window. Residence Inn makes sure that you have internet access throughout your stay. They have free wifi throughout the property, a business center with workstations and printer, even a boarding pass center where you can check in to your flight and print your boarding pass (hey, that's one less line you have to go through at the airport!)
Many people say that traveling with kids isn't really a vacation, but I beg to disagree. With my tips above, you'll find it so much easier, and you'll make a lot of precious family memories!
Disclosure: I am a Resident Blogger Ambassador for Residence Inn by Marriott, and I was given a gift card to experience the Residence Inn while traveling with my family. No other travel expenses were provided. The views and opinions expressed here are my own..