Make no mistake—family travel, particularly with small kids, feels more like a work trip than a true vacation. As you head toward Spring Break and get deeper into planning August travel, consider aligning your plans with family friends. Focus on families with kids the same ages as yours and whose parents you like. Cousins and extended family work well, too.
Read on to see why traveling with another family can increase the fun, make more memories, and even decrease the stress levels for all the adults—and kids!
Someone Else Can Help Plan
The best kind of mom friend or dad friend on a joint trip is a researcher who is going to read guidebooks, book restaurant reservations and come prepared with a list from the best beaches to where to rent a stroller. She will be the one to call for Baby Tylenol when your little one spikes a fever at 2 am or ask for a Band-Aid when someone skins a knee. If you’re going to a place like Disney World, which requires a PhD in travel to navigate Genie+, Lightning Lanes and elusive dinner reservations, a well-versed friend is priceless.
Other Kids Will Behave Like Kids
Even if you have the most well-mannered kids on the planet, the change in routine while you’re traveling can be tough, particularly for toddlers. If you’re on a trip with just your children without a break for a whole week, things can get ugly. But by going with another family or two with kids the same age, this normal behavior is, well, normalized, and everyone can benefit from that perspective.
Three Words: Built in Playdates
On the topic of behavior, kids can get kind of bored on vacation. And that’s to be expected, especially if they are an only child or don’t have a sibling close in age. From hanging in the hotel to sitting by the pool to conquering the Magic Kingdom, vacationing with friends who you’re not used to seeing over morning cereal is just a lot more fun.
The kids will appreciate having someone else to play, eat and sightsee with—and you’ll appreciate the break in entertaining them and having your own adult friends to talk to. Plus, when they get home, these memories will have strengthened their friendships in a new way.
You’ll Have More Hands
Having more parent options in a pinch can be helpful. Once your kids are comfortable enough to have their shoes tied or go to the potty with your friend, life gets easier. Not only can you all help out with each other’s kids, if you plan it right, you just might get a girls’ night during your travels. And that’s when you’ll start to feel like you’re actually on vacation, instead of a work trip.