Starting with my 7 year old’s first vacation to the Bahamas at the age of 5 months, our family has traveled pretty frequently. It’s in both my husband’s and my genes – I remember road trips from New Jersey to Hilton Head and Disney World (having relatives that lived in Orlando was wonderful luck), flights to California, visits to Maine with friends filled with lobsters, cold oceans and luggage lost on the Tappan Zee Bridge (not ours thankfully!). Before we had kids my husband and I traveled quite a bit, and we saw no reason to stop once the kids arrived. Alex has 16 states and 2 countries under his belt and we’re currently planning our next road trip to Mount Rushmore and Yellowstone.
But for some parents, the thought of traveling with their kids evokes images of airport security nightmares, cramped hotel rooms, and a week full of stress instead of relaxation. It doesn’t have to be that way, and The Mom’s Guide to Traveling with Kids by travel agent and mom of four Allison Umbricht can help you plan that vacation you’ve been dreaming of.
At 5″ by 8″ in size, The Mom’s Guide fits into a purse or glove box. The layout makes it easy to find just what you’re looking for, with bullet items used for tips, comments from real moms and a quick summary at the end of each chapter summarizing the most important things to know. It’s broken up into sections that are laid out in order of what a vacation looks like: planning, packing, flying, enjoying, planning ahead.
Some of my favorite tips, with my comments in italics:
- Ch. 2: Where to Go and Stay: Consider renting a suite…You may sleep better if your kids are in separate rooms.
- Ch. 5: Packing: Don’t bring it. Rent it. Most hotels have cribs available. There are also services in most resort areas that will rent you all the baby and toddler gear you need.
- Ch. 11: Car Trips: Plan your trip so you are not hitting rush hour traffic in your area and in other major cities you are passing through. We learned this the hard way when we hit the D.C.-Baltimore section of I-95 at 5pm on a Friday. Big mistake!
- Ch. 13: Enjoying Your Vacation: One of the first things we do when we arrive is find a local grocery store. There we can pick up items we didn’t want to weigh ourselves down with…A local grocery store or wholesale club is a much more cost effective option for some of these items than the hotel gift shop. We also get a store membership card, and some of these can be done online ahead of time. The cards are free and worth the few minutes to fill out the paperwork if you can take advantage of store sales.
I did have some minor quibbles with the book. I was surprised at the short chapters on Disney (though there are dozens of books dedicated to the House of Mouse) and road trips. Also the section on “where to stay” has recommendations from moms on great family-friendly resorts, but the book doesn’t tell you where they are. The book also doesn’t really take budget into account, assuming that if you travel, you can afford the Atlantis in the Bahamas (WAY expensive, I know this from experience) or some of the all-inclusive resorts that run on the pricier side. Perhaps a section on how to travel in a more budget-conscious fashion would have been a good addition.
If you’ve been dreaming about a vacation but don’t know quite where to start, check out The Mom’s Guide to Traveling with Kids. The memories you’ll make with your family will last a lifetime.
We are happy to offer 1 copy of The Mom’s Guide to Traveling With Kids to one lucky winner. Leave a comment here and the winner will be announced April 11.