Avoid These 18 Family Travel Mistakes

Last Updated on May 13, 2022

It’s no secret that traveling with your family can be a lot of fun. But if you are not careful, it can also be a bit frustrating. If you are like most families, travel is a regular part of your life. Whether you’re taking a quick weekend getaway or embarking on a big cross-country road trip, there are some things you can do to make the experience smoother and more enjoyable for everyone involved. Avoid these common travel mistakes, and your trip will be much more enjoyable!

From packing too much to forgetting crucial items, we have got you covered. In this post, we will share 18 common family travel mistakes – and how to avoid them. Let’s get started!

Table Of Contents

Overcrowding The Itinerary

As any parent knows, traveling with young kids can be both a joy and a challenge. On the one hand, it’s a great opportunity to explore new places and create memories that will last a lifetime. On the other hand, trying to cram too much into a trip can often lead to grumpy kids – and even grumpier parents! That’s why it’s important to slow down and not try to do too much when traveling with kids. Instead of packing your itinerary with museums, monuments, and other tourist attractions, focus on enjoying quality time together as a family. Take time to explore your surroundings, play games, and just relax. You may not see everything on your list, but you’ll likely find that the experience is much more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Choosing The Wrong Destination

Before you choose your family vacation destination, it’s important to do your research. You want to make sure that the city you’re headed to has plenty of activities that will be enjoyable for the whole family. Otherwise, you may find yourself disappointed. For example, a city that has great nightlife might not offer much in the way of family-friendly activities. On the other hand, a city with plenty of parks and museums may be just what you’re looking for. Or perhaps you prefer a lot of options to get into nature and away from the hustle and bustle of popular cities. By doing your research ahead of time, you can be sure that you’re choosing a destination that will be suitable for your entire family.

Accommodations With Separate Sleeping Areas

Anyone who has ever traveled with young children knows that getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge. Kids go to bed before their parents are ready to call it a night. That’s why it’s so important to book accommodations with separate sleeping areas when you travel as a family. That way, everyone can get the rest they need. Having separate bedrooms also gives parents a chance to relax and unwind after a long day of sightseeing. And it means that if one person wakes up in the middle of the night, they won’t disturb the whole family. So next time you’re planning a trip, be sure to book a place that will give you all the space you need to get a good night’s sleep.

Accommodations In A Central Location

Access to transportation is key when traveling with kids. If your accommodation is centrally located, you can usually walk to most places or take public transportation which is great when you’re tired from sightseeing. If you’re staying further out, you’ll likely have to take taxis or Uber everywhere which can add up quickly, not to mention the hassle of lugging all your stuff around.

Before having kids, this was never a worry. We would do what we needed to stretch our travel dollars as much as possible. Now that we travel with four kids, the extra money spent staying in a central location is well worth all the time and energy saved.

In many cases, you will find that being close to the things you want to see and do will increase the amount of time you have to explore and have fun. It also gives you more flexibility if things go sideways and the kids need a nap or a swim in the pool to recharge.

Make sure to book accommodations in a central location for a hassle-free trip!

Misusing Your Budget

Anyone who has ever tried to plan a family vacation knows that it can be a challenge to find activities that everyone will enjoy. With so many different interests to cater to, it can be tempting to just go with the flow and spend whatever comes up. However, this can quickly lead to overspending. It’s important to have a plan with a little wiggle room of how much you’re willing to spend on your trip before you get started. That way, you can focus on finding activities that fit your budget.

For example, if dining out is not as big of a priority for your family as going to fun attractions, consider low-cost food options so that you can focus on what matters most to your family. By being mindful of your budget from the start, you can ensure that everyone has a great time without breaking the bank.

Do Not Cater To The Kids The Whole Trip

A family vacation is a great time to bond with your kids and create lasting memories. However, it’s important to remember that not every moment of the trip needs to be focused on making sure your kids are happy. In fact, part of the beauty of travel is experiencing new things, even if they’re a little bit out of your comfort zone. So don’t be afraid to take some risks and let your kids try something more challenging. Explain to them the type of behavior expected during an activity (eg. going out to a show) and give it a whirl. You’ll be surprised how many more amazing experiences you have. And who knows, maybe your kids will surprise you too.

Do Not Forget Creature Comforts

The only thing worse than a long flight or car ride is a long travel time with frustrated kids. Pack a backpack with your kids’ favorite boredom busters to keep kids occupied throughout the journey. Change up the contents of the backpack with each trip. The backpack could include books, crayons, playing cards, and snacks.

When electronics are needed, make sure the iPad is fully charged and loaded with kids’ games and some great apps for learning.

This method will help to ensure a stress-free trip for both parents and children.

Guilt About Using Screen Time 

As any parent knows, traveling with young children can be a daunting task. There are endless things to pack, activities to plan, and countless potential disruptions to contend with.

In the midst of all this, it’s important to remember that your sanity is also important. If you find yourself needing a break, don’t feel guilty about giving in to some screen time. A little bit of technology can go a long way towards keeping your kids entertained and allowing you to relax for a few minutes.

And if you happen to get some funny looks from other people, just remember that they don’t know what it’s like to be in your shoes. At the end of the day, all that matters is that you’re doing what’s best for you and your family.

Plus, if I am sitting on the plane enjoying a movie to pass the time, how can I tell my mini-me that they cannot enjoy the same comfort?

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Make A List Of Must-Haves

Any seasoned traveler will tell you that one of the most important steps in packing for a trip is to make a list. This ensures that you will not forget the most important items you want to bring. Of course, the contents of your list will vary depending on your destination and the length of your stay. By taking the time to pack using a list, you can ensure that you will not forget the most essential items for your trip.

Don’t Rely On Entertainment Being Readily Available

Do not rely on airlines or hotels for entertainment.

Service used to be a big deal during the in-flight experience. These days, you are lucky if you are given a drink and a package of pretzels.

More hotels are starting to charge to use their wi-fi, too. And, not to mention the rising and ridiculous prices of renting a movie in the hotel room.

Instead, pack your own snacks and bring along a good book or download some shows to your tablet before you take off. That way, you can sit back, relax, and enjoy your flight – regardless of what happens in the skies.

The kids were mesmerized!

Related- The Ultimate Guide To Kid Friendly Hikes Near Vancouver

Weigh All Your Transportation Options

Traveling can be a tricky business. There are so many factors to consider- time, cost, convenience, comfort, and more. When it comes to deciding whether to drive, take the train, or fly, the most important thing is to factor in all the relevant information.

For example, do not forget about factoring in gas, meals, and hotel stops along the way, and how many drivers there are to take turns if you are deciding whether to drive.

If you’re traveling a long distance and time is not an issue, driving may be the best option. Trains can be a great option if you’re looking for a balance between comfort and cost. And if you need to get somewhere quickly and efficiently, flying is usually your best bet.

The bottom line is that there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to travel planning. Before you make any decisions, be sure to do your research and weigh all your options!

Include The Kids In Planning

Planning a family vacation can be a daunting task but involving the kids in the process can help to make it more enjoyable for everyone. By letting them choose an activity or two that they’re genuinely excited about, you can help to ensure that they stay engaged and enthusiastic throughout the trip.

If they’re old enough, you can also involve them in the logistics of the trip, such as booking hotels or researching activities. Involving the kids in the planning process will not only make for a more enjoyable trip, but it will also create lasting memories that your family will cherish for years to come.

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Choose Direct Flights

If you’re traveling with young kids, try for direct flights whenever possible. If it is more expensive, it might seem like a waste of money at the time, but you will be grateful when you’re not dealing with tired, cranky children on a long layover.

Direct flights are also generally more comfortable since there are no stops along the way. There will be less commotion for your kids to deal with.

All these factors can make a direct flight well worth the extra cost.

Allow Yourself Extra Time Between Flights

Traveling with young kids can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be a nightmare. One way to make the experience more manageable is to choose flights wisely.

If a direct flight is not an option, try to find flights with a decent layover. Especially if your first flight is delayed, you will need the extra time for the kids to stretch their legs, grab a meal, use the washroom, and possibly go through security.

With a little extra time built into the schedule, you can avoid rushing and potential meltdowns. Everything takes longer with kids, and when you’re traveling with four kids like we do, that is four extra bodies to keep moving along!

Cheap Flights Can Be Too Good To Be True

Cheap flights can sometimes be too good to be true. Not only may there be additional fees, or crazy layover times, but the flights can also take you to remote airports that require extra transportation to your destination, costing you more in the long run.

It’s important to do your research when looking for cheap flights and to be aware of all the potential costs involved. Otherwise, you could end up spending more than you bargained for.

One time we really scored well, on a flight price mistake. We only paid $60 per person round-trip, all in, to fly between Vancouver to LA, prompting us to plan another trip to Disneyland, and have some beach time. That was one deal we could not pass up!

Cascade Falls

Eating At Only Highly Rated Restaurants

Trying new food is one of the best parts of traveling to a new country. There’s nothing quite like researching a destination, finding that one amazing restaurant that you just must try, and finally getting to experience it for yourself.

While it’s worth seeking out the restaurants that come highly rated, remember that these places are used to tourists, and their menus – and prices – have been adjusted accordingly. For the most authentic food around markets and touristy areas, watch where the locals are eating. It can feel a bit daunting to walk into an unfamiliar restaurant, but that’s all part of the fun! Who knows, you might even find your new favorite dish.


Packing for a trip can be a challenge, especially if you are traveling with young children. It is important to remember that you can usually purchase anything you need at your destination. This is especially true for essential items. Overpacking can be stressful and lead to lost or forgotten items. It can also be difficult to lug around heavy suitcases, especially if you are a family of six like we are. Try to pack light and only bring items that you will use.

While it is always good to bring some extra layers in case the weather turns, remember it does take up extra space, so plan appropriately.

Find out if there is a convenient laundry service available nearby; this will help you cut down on what you bring.

Avoiding The Locals

There’s nothing quite like travel to broaden your horizons and give you a new perspective on the world. But if you really want to get the most out of your travels, it’s important to not just see the sights, but to also interact with the locals. After all, they are the experts on their own culture and can offer insights that you simply can’t get from a guidebook. In addition, by interacting with locals, you’ll have a much more authentic and memorable experience. So next time you’re planning a trip, be sure to go off the beaten path and seek out some local advice. You’ll be glad you did!


There you have it – 18 Family Travel Mistakes And How To Avoid Them. By following these tips, your next family vacation should be a lot smoother and more enjoyable.


Have any of your own tips to share? Leave them in the comments below!


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