Expedia.ca Top Ten Tips for Family Travel this March Break
According to a survey conducted by Expedia.ca, Canada’s leading online travel provider, 81% of Canadians parents are planning to travel in 2013. With March Break around the corner, Expedia.ca has teamed up with travel blogger and mother Nicole Wears from the Travelling Canucks (www.travelingcanucks.com) to offer the following top ten travel tips to help make this experience more fun – and less stressful – for all in the family.
1) Plan ahead
Travelling with children requires lots of planning so give yourself time to do your homework.For many of us, reading online reviews has now become a mandatory part of our travel research process. Tools such as Expedia.ca’s Verified Reviews, as an example, is a collection of over 7.5 million hotel reviews from actual travellers and features an entire category dedicated to families. Travellers can also sort through the rating by date submitted, language, and photos to ensure they find the relevant content quickly. Expedia.ca takes multiple steps to ensure the validity of customer reviews, including ensuring that the reviews are posted by travellers who have actually stayed at the hotel they are reviewing. Remember to check for all in-pricing and consider bundling your various travel components to ensure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
2) Involve your child
Happy kids means a happy vacation! Feed off their excitement and let them feel involved in the planning process – for if they do the happier they’ll be to join. Pick two or three family-friendly locations which fall within your budget and that you’d like to consider for your trip, and let your little one help choose the final destination. The more your child feels involved in planning, the more excited they’ll be to participate. Some travel providers also help travellers make an informed travel choice with their own rankings of resorts or destinations. Expedia.ca, for example, publishes their annual Expedia Insider Select list of their top hotels worldwide that is based on more than 500,000 customer reviews submitted by travellers who have stayed in those properties, insight from local Expedia.ca experts on the ground and a value rating that compares hotel properties to others within the same star-rating.
3) Be budget savvy
The costs of a family vacation often add up, thereby contributing to stress levels. To help keep the budget in-check, look for seasonal sales, last minute and border city deals and make sure to bundle hotel and flight together to help get the most bang for your buck.Sites like Expedia.ca also show all in-pricing on pre-packaged vacation options, which means you’ll see all the costs, including taxes and fees, up front. For families planning a “fly and flop” all-inclusive beach vacation, be sure to understand the difference between the various options available and look for a package where all-in-pricing is listed.
4) Start packing early
No parent wants to waste time shopping while on vacation for the things they’ve forgotten to pack. To dodge this avoidable stress, don’t wait until the day before to pack. Instead, bring out your suitcases a week or two before your trip and pack a little bit each day. As you walk past the suitcase throughout the week, you’ll remember things you originally forgot, or you’ll realize you don’t really need (or want) all those extras you already threw in there. This will also allow you to make sure you’ve left enough room for souvenirs.
5) Bring snacks – and lots of them
As you’re packing, think of the number of snacks you’ll need to take with you and then double that amount. Not only will snacks keep your child entertained, but they will also avoid crankiness that can result from being hungry. Plus, you never know what you’ll find (or not find) on the menu, or how long it will be until your next meal, so it’s a good idea to have a few kid-friendly food options on hand at all times.
6) Bring along a pillow
Travelling can be tiring, regardless of your age. Whether you’re waiting in a crowded airport or sightseeing on an empty bus, having a pillow with you will allow your child to get comfortable wherever you are and recharge for the next phase of your journey. Who knows – maybe mom or dad can even borrow it for a quick power nap throughout the trip.
7) Bring portable activities
Remember to bring along a few portable games to keep your child entertained throughout the trip. Items like mini board games, a deck of cards or an e-tablet won’t take up a lot of room in your luggage and they will keep your child occupied and happy throughout the journey. As a courtesy to other travellers, make sure you only bring out the quiet activities during transit and save the noisy ones for when you have more privacy.
8) Prepare for the unexpected
No one wants to imagine interruptions or delays during their vacation, but sometimes they show up uninvited. Having snacks and portable activities on-hand will keep your child both distracted and delighted during the wait. Booking through a reputable travel provider will make sure you have someone to contact to help guide you through any difficulties you may encounter during your trip. For example, Expedia.ca has travel specialists available 24/7 online or via phone for assistance and alternate travel options, and who will work to advocate for you with travel partners to try to remedy the situation, or help you find new travel options.
9) Have your app ready
Expedia.ca recommends downloading the Expedia App on your mobile device before you leave home so you can research and book on the fly. The app allows you to view, sort and book flights to domestic and international destinations on more than 130 airlines, and also enables you to search over 140,000 hotel properties and sort them by popularity, price, deals and ratings. The entire booking process, from start to finish, requires no more than four taps and could save you and your family from a night of camping out in the airport terminal. You can also keep an eye out for your flight via the FlightTrack app – by checking the most up-to-date status of your flight, you can be sure that you arrive at the airport accordingly.
10) Have fun
Booking your trip and packing your bags are only one step in the vacation – the best part is having fun with your family. Whether you’re lounging on a beach in a sunny destination, or visiting friends close to home, make sure you kick back and enjoy the new memories you’re creating with the ones you love.