My wife and I used to be adventurous backpackers and used to revel in all kinds of crazy trips. I used to – and still do – love the feeling of spur-of-the-moment travel, and going where the wind takes us.

However, now life has changed, and we go with our nine-year-old and have found that family travel is a bit different from solo travel. Worry not! With just a few tricks, you can enjoy family travel to the hilt and get the most enjoyment out of your trip.

Plan Plan Plan

When travelling with a family group, it is best to plan out the trip in as much detail as possible, and minimise any surprises. Freeze the itinerary well in advance and book tickets, hotels, taxis, restaurant bookings, museum tickets, amusement park tickets, day trips, etc. well in advance. Reduce uncertainty as much as possible.

Happy travellers

Planning helps in understanding and suiting requirements of all members, by thinking about it and anticipating what will appeal to all. For example – Amusement parks for children or religious places for seniors. You can ask your family members for their preferences and plan the trip using their inputs.  This will ensure that everyone is enthusiastic and looking forward to the journey, and happy travellers make happy travels.

Save money

You can get significant discounts by booking tickets in advance. You probably know that one can get cheap air tickets, but did you know that one can also get cheap museum tickets as well? Do your research well and save money.

Reduce the need for cash

By booking tickets in advance on credit card, you don’t need to carry too much cash while travelling. This makes, even more, sense while travelling abroad – you need that much less foreign exchange.

Also read our blog on Travelling in the Age of Demonetization.

Slow down

Children and senior citizens cannot match young adults when it comes to speed, enthusiasm, and energy. While elders can get tired much more than you think, children can get unreasonably weird during travel. Thus, you need to slow down on your itinerary and try not to see everything that is available. Plan and enjoy keeping the weakest member of your family in your mind. While it is true that you have come a long way and spent a lot of money to come on your trip, but the whole idea of the trip is to have fun and enjoy yourself.

Read our blog on Tips for Travelling with Children.

Keep rest days

Plan your itinerary so that you stay put in one hotel room for 1-2 days. You can plan day trips and outings from one location. This gives the old and young people a sense of security and relaxation and allows them to unwind. If required, some members can remain in the room to chill out, while the adventurous and energetic people can go out and explore. Avoid the urge to do everything together at all costs – a little distance can be a good thing.

Carry entertainment and distractions

Children get easily bored by abstract attractions like natural beauty, historical monuments, etc. and are especially prone to boredom while driving or on trains. A few books, games, or movies will go a long way to keeping them happy and in turn in keeping you sane.

Carry medicines and prescriptions and glasses

Always carry ample stocks of medicine – prescription medicines and also essentials like fever, pain, cough and cold, anti-allergens and gastroenteric medicines. It is recommended to take spare spectacles and asthma pumps. Plan out where you can buy diapers and baby formula, and take prescriptions with you, so that you can buy medicines in case you run out. If travelling abroad, make it a point to have overseas medical insurance.

Bonus tip – Carry home food

It is a good idea to carry some home treats with you in case people don’t like the local food. One can carry powdered tea, pickles, theplas, and dry snacks, and also some chocolates and sweets for the kids. I would encourage people to try local food as much as possible, but it is always good to have a backup in case of emergencies. You can make instant friends by sharing your home food with fellow travellers or locals.

For families, it can also be a good idea to explore destinations via full-service resorts like Sterling Holiday Resorts. One can go, get based in a resort, and explore the local area through day trips. One can keep a day or two just to chill in the resort as there are a lot of in-house attractions such as games, pools, etc. or just stay in the room and relax with a book or the TV.