- Don’t panic!
If taking children to a different country sends shivers down your spine, just relax. The less you panic and the more organised you get, the easier things will be. The great thing about a family holiday to America is that the country as a whole is well equipped to welcome families. From family hotel rooms to a range of foods to suit every picky palate, you can be sure you’ll find everything you need when you arrive.
If it’s the flight plaguing you, just remember that the memories of the holiday itself will last much longer than the memories of the stressful journey. And there’s plenty you can do to make this journey as smooth running as possible, including choosing flight times that fit closely with your children’s current routines. Kids that sleep well on transport will be better suited to a night flight, but you may want to pick a day flight time to minimise disruptions to sleep patterns, using activities to keep them entertained.
Remember that the more you travel with children, the more used to the whole experience they will be. For children that travel from a young age, plane journey is nothing out of the ordinary.
- Plan, plan, plan.
You may reminisce about the days when you were carefree, able to plan a last minute trip abroad and not worry about flight times, what you’ll eat or even where you’ll stay when you get there.
Family life can be quite far removed from the life you had before, with children requiring routines and constant entertainment, and don’t get us started on how much luggage a child can require for a week away!
But that doesn’t mean you can’t have the best family holiday ever. You just have to be more organised in order to make it run smoothly. Use all the tools at your disposal including the productivity apps on your phone and online sample itineraries. Reaching out to friends and family for advice is always a good idea too.
- Create an itinerary specifically for your family.
When you think of family friendly holidays to America, Orlando is typically the first place that springs to mind. And whilst the roller coasters, resorts and amusements are great fun, the USA has so much more to offer.
If you’ve got your heart set on the fun and thrills of the theme parks, why not make your trip a multi-centre holiday and stop somewhere else on the way? Or explore more of Florida whilst you’re there; take a scenic road trip, jump on the train or fly down further South to West Palm beach, Miami or the Florida Keys.
Or perhaps you’re looking for something a little more adventurous, relaxing or educational? At Bon Voyage we regularly arrange family trips all over the USA and Canada, with popular destinations including New York, Hawaii, The Deep South and California. It really depends on your family’s taste and appetite for adventure.
- Get the kids involved from the beginning.
It’s nice to plan a surprise holiday for the kids, but creating a memorable trip that’s enjoyable for everyone can start months or years before it actually begins. Get the children to research your destination and activities using guide books and the internet. Sit down with them and plan your journey on a world map so they can get a feel for how far away you’ll be venturing.
Why not check what they’re learning about at school or preschool and see if any elements can be incorporated into the trip? Seeing different cultures and real world experiences can provide a fantastic education (without any risk of being ‘boring’).
- Make lists.
Lists are your best friend when organising a family holiday. Create a list for each thing you need to remember; items to pack, flight and transfer times, hotels, activity ideas to keep the kids occupied on the flight, snacks to pick up beforehand, the itinerary for when you arrive…
If you can prepare all this before hand you’ll have an instant reference point for any panics whilst you’re away.
- Book, book, book.
Book flights, accommodation and the fundamental aspects of your trip as soon as possible. If you’re travelling during peak times (like school holidays), things will get booked up in advance. At Bon Voyage we can help you combine bookings to get the best rates and deals, for example multi-attraction theme park tickets that will save you hundreds of dollars, or the best-value family holiday accommodation where kids eat free!
Once your flights are booked, select your seats as soon as possible. Use SeatGuru to find the best seats on the plane, and try and get the front of a block of seats to allow for extra room to move around (this is also typically where the baby cribs are located)
- Check before you travel.
Being prepared for every circumstance is key. When you arrive in the USA there’s not much you won’t be able to get hold of if you need it, but you’ll need to be prepared for the journey there.
Take more than enough nappies in your hand luggage in case of delays, and whilst you can get them when you’re out there, they’re also a great space saver in your hold luggage as you can refill your suitcase with new purchases for the way home.
Despite liquid restrictions at security, you can take baby food or baby milk through, as well as liquids essential for medical purposes.
When it comes to bag sizes for hand luggage, this will vary across different airlines, so check with your Bon Voyage travel consultant or airline before you travel.
You should also double check all flight times and airport transfers, plus documentation and passports before you go. Can you imagine getting to the airport to find you’ve left your passports in that really safe place at home?
- Pack goodie bags.
These are key to keeping children occupied at any age on a flight (even teenagers!). Use tote bags (which fit inside another hand luggage bag and are always handy to have around) or carrier bags (also handy) and fill them with each child’s favourite things, plus; magazines, books, sticker books, colouring books, playing cards, snacks, a travel diary and headphones.
You might also want to include something to eat or drink during takeoff and landing as this will help with the ear popping, plus a tablet, iPad or iPod filled with their favourite TV programmes or films and apps if you have one. Whilst the inflight entertainment is good, it’s not the same as having the pick of your favourites.
- Enjoy your trip
If the planning, booking and flying all seems a little overwhelming, don’t fear. As long as you’re organised you’ll have a fairly long period of time in between each process. This gives you plenty of time to get excited for the trip, but also lots of time to get organised.
If you’d rather leave the planning to the experts (or simply get a little guidance), Bon Voyage are here to help. Find out more about family holidays in the USA and Canada or get in touch with our USA travel consultants today.