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Family Beach Vacation

Summer is approaching and most parents are looking for a break from the routines and responsibilities of day-to-day life. Many families choose to escape to the ocean for a family beach vacation. Often reservations are made at a beach house or condo rental, and parents work hard to plan and save for their family vacation. Are you counting down the weeks, or the days, until you’ll smell that salty sea air and feel the sand between your toes? Once school is out for the summer then it’s time to take a road trip with kids and head out for your family beach vacation.

A Simple Beach Vacation

Do you remember how simple it was to travel before you had kids? How you could plan a spur of the moment road trip, throw a swim suit, beach towel and some changes of clothes in a suitcase and hit the road with very little preparation.

When you arrived at the beach all you had to worry about was making sure you had a good book to read and some tunes on your MP3 player. Did I just date myself?! Never the less my beach vacations look a lot different today than they did a decade ago. Now I have two little humans to include in my travel plans.

In my early days of motherhood I was very excited to do all the “firsts” with my daughter. We documented everything – from her first swimming lesson, to babies first road trip and babies first beach trip. I learned a lot about traveling with a baby, and then a toddler, and we made lots of precious memories on family vacations.

Once our second child arrived I started to feel like traveling with kids was too hard. I wondered if family travel was really worth all the hassle? At times it felt like relaxing on family vacation wasn’t worth all the energy it took to get everyone there.

Stress-free Family Vacation

Do you feel overwhelmed at the thought of planning a family vacation with kids? Have you made accommodation reservations, but now you’re wondering how you practically make this vacation happen? What are all the steps you need to take? Is it really worth it? And how to you take a family vacation without loosing your mind?

Rest assured that every parent has felt like this at some point. You’re not alone.

Travel with kids can be stress-free, but it takes intentional planning and preparation. In this post I’m going to share my Ultimate Guide to a Family Beach Vacation. I will share the tactics you need to know to make your family beach vacation simple, easy and stress free. Plus my Family Beach Vacation Packing List so you’ll know all the travel essentials for kids. This is our tried and tested Family Beach Vacation plan and I’m excited to share it with you so you can relax and enjoy your vacation prep.

Making Memories on a Family Beach Vacation

Before you get caught up in the family vacation preparations, it’s important to remember your “why” for traveling with kids? Every family has different reasons for why they prioritize family travel. After being quarantined at home for months during the Covid-19 lock down I am reminded of the privilege it is to freely travel and see this beautiful world. I don’t want to take for granted the opportunities I’ve had in my life to travel and explore new cultures, to learn about people, experience history and taste various cuisines. I want my children to have those same opportunities.

For us, it’s not practical for every family vacation to be overseas, and there are plenty of destinations for our family to explore right here in the United States. The most important aspect for us is to set aside time to make family memories by being together and enjoying the beach with our children.

Multi-Generational Travel

There are many benefits of multi-generational travel. Our children are blessed with wonderful grandparents so we love to include them in many of our family vacations. The grandparents love to spend time with their grandchildren, and vice versa. We want our children to have distinct memories of spending time with their grandparents. We live far away from both sets of grandparents so this doesn’t happen on a day-to-day basis.

By including the grandparents on a family beach vacation it provides the perfect opportunity to have shared experiences together. Plus it’s some additional adults to help wrangle the kids, and a baby sitter if mom and dad want a date night out without the kids! We have also found that cruising with the grandparents is also a perfect extended family vacation.

Multi-generational Travel

Family Beach Vacation Packing Lists

Once you have decided on the best travel destination for kids and who is coming on your family vacation, then it’s time to start thinking about packing! What are all the beach travel essentials and travel gear that you’ll need for the kids?

The Ultimate Family Beach Vacation Packing List

This is my Ultimate Packing List for a Family Beach Vacation, and it includes EVERYTHING that our family packs. I wanted to include this resource to help you with packing for your family beach vacation. There’s so much to think about when you’re packing for the whole family and it’s easy to forget all. the. things. So I’ve encompassed lots of items, but feel free to pick and choose the items that are appropriate for your family needs.

We all have different preferences, but this is a very comprehensive list to help remind you of all those little items you may not realize you’re missing until you get to the beach. There’s nothing more annoying than realizing you don’t have a pair of scissors or your kid’s swim floats when you get to the beach, and having to take the time to go buy new ones.

Of course there’s usually a big box store or a grocery store close by, but I’m the kind of person who hates to spend money buying something at the beach when I have the exact item at my house. I prefer to pack all the essentials so I don’t have to think about re-buying them at the beach. Plus, who wants to spend running out to the local Walmart, rather than heading down to the beach? Not me!

There are some items I choose not to travel with and I’ll discuss those below. I make a shopping list of the things I need to buy from the grocery store when we arrive at the beach. This helps make the trip to the grocery store quick and simple so I can get back to the beach house and get started relaxing on our family vacation.

Download our FREE Printable Packing List for Family Beach Vacation

I print off the Ultimate Packing List for a Family Beach Vacation and put it on a clipboard, then I’ll mark off items as I pack them in suitcases, bags, tubs or laundry baskets.

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What is the Best Way to Pack your Car for Family Beach Vacation?

Before you pack the car for a road trip it is important to think about the items that you’ll need within reach during the trip. Depending on the size of your vehicle and the number of people riding in your vehicle you may need to consider adding a rooftop cargo box to your vehicle, or a cargo carrier with hitch to the back, or even a small trailer.

With four people in our mini van we can fit everything we need inside the vehicle. But there have been times we’ve also had my parents ride with us, so with 2 additional adults (and their luggage) then we’ll travel with a rooftop cargo box to add extra storage space.

How to pack your vehicle for a Family Road Trip

Each person should pack a small bag to keep their personal items / toys / activities close by. These items will help entertain the kids on a long family road trip.

Make sure you keep needed items within easy reach. The last thing you want to realize when you’re headed down the interstate at 70 mph is that little Tommy’s activity bag is packed deep inside the trunk with all the suitcases!

family beach vacation packing

Think about what can be stored in the back for use at stops. And if you’re stopping overnight in a hotel to break up your journey, then make sure to pack an overnight bag. This should include changes of clothes for the entire family, toothbrushes and basic toiletries, and don’t forget swim suits if you plan to use the hotel swimming pool.

We find it easier to pack one small carry-on size suitcase for the entire family, for the overnight stop, rather than dragging everyone’s big suitcases into the hotel for one night.

We always carry these Must Pack Car Supplies for a Road Trip with Kids in an easy to reach place. This includes a Car Clean-Up Kit which helps to take care of unexpected messes, injuries, and the occasional upset stomach. These items include: napkins, paper towels, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, Kleenex tissues, towels, Kids ‘N’ Pets Odor Remover Spray, trash bags and a travel first aid kit.

Where to pack items for a Family Beach Vacation

In addition to having a vacation packing list and knowing what to pack for your family beach vacation, you need to know where to pack it. How do you pack your car for a road trip with kids? The diagram below will assist you with knowing the best places in your vehicle to pack the various items.

What to pack for a Road Trip to the Beach?

This road trip checklist is the best way to pack your vehicle for a road trip to the beach. You should allow space for:

  1. Personal Items – purse, magazines, lip balm, lotion
  2. Road Trip Electronics including cell phone and car chargers
  3. Trash Can and easy access to a First Aid Kit, Medication and Car Clean-Up Kit
  4. Road Trip Snacks and Refillable Water Bottles
  5. BE Family Travel Tray
  6. Road Trip Toys and Activities for the Kids with a Pillow and Blanket
  7. Middle Seat Organizer to store miscellaneous items between the seats
  8. Suitcases with Clothing and Toiletries
  9. Beach Gear
  10. Cooler with Groceries and Items for the Beach Rental Property
  11. Overnight Bag with changes of clothes
How to pack you car for a road trip with kids

For full details about this packing diagram, read our post about how to pack your car for a road trip.

How to Entertain the Kids on a Family Road Trip

What should you pack to entertain the kids on a family road trip? When you’re taking a road trip with kids the activities you choose to pack will depend on your child’s age. On a road trip kids love: craft or activity sets, sticker books, workbooks, toys, travel games, coloring, books, and screen time. For more information and product reviews you can check out our posts about travel toys for toddlers or travel activities for kids or the best travel crafts.

Travel Activities for Kids

Printable Road Trip Games

Road trip printable games can be used for children of different ages, especially as siblings can compete against each other and their parent(s) to win! Printable travel games will help keep your children entertained and prevent boredom from hours in the car as you hits the road for your family beach vacation.

We created these printable road trip games that you can download for FREE. They include: Road Sign Scavenger Hunt, Coloring Page, Tic Tac Toe, Word Search, License Plate Search Game – and our favorite – Road Trip Bingo. We hope they will come in handy for your next family vacation.

Road Trip Snacks

Your road trip will go a lot smoother if you pack a selection of healthy road trip snacks. The kids (and adults) will be happier if they don’t get hangry. Eating road trip snacks will give kids something to do to help with boredom. We created a printable Road Trip Snacks List which you can download here for FREE. These are our favorite family snacks, which your kids will LOVE!

Car Seat Travel Tray

We love to use the BE Family Travel Tray to hold our child’s activities. It’s designed to be used with a car seat. It is perfect for a drink, snacks, coloring book, crayons, and toys to keep everything within your child’s reach. And includes a tablet holder, pencil case, and large book pocket.

Travel Tray for kids in car seats

There is no need to unload the entire tray when it’s time to leave, the side pouches zip and fold in to make the perfect storage as an all-in-one Travel Messenger Bag.

It detaches into two parts and the lower lap tray is great for toddlers. Also available in redblue or pink.

Groceries and Meal Planning for Family Beach Vacation

When traveling with children on a family vacation it is helpful to have access to a kitchen to prepare meals. There are times when a hotel stay is appropriate, but for a family beach vacation we prefer a rental house or condo because there is a kitchen. Kids want to eat all day long so it’s easier to stock the kitchen with groceries at the beginning of the week. And then have access to prepare food whenever you want to.

It’s helpful to put together a grocery list ahead of time and plan simple, quick and easy meals that your family likes to eat. Consider bringing any dry goods and pantry items with you, and then pick up fresh produce and refrigerated items when you arrive at the beach. Ordering ahead from Walmart Grocery Pick Up will also save you time.

We often carry a cooler so we can add groceries with a bag of ice, and pick them up before we arrive at our beach property. Often check in isn’t until after 3:00 PM so we try to arrive at the beach destination earlier in the day so we have time to pick up the groceries.

Family Beach Vacation Meal Planning

Family Beach Vacation Meal Planning

I am working on a post about Beach Vacation Meal Planning which I look forward to sharing with you soon. This will include some of our favorite healthy family meals. Plus a Grocery List that you can download and use to help simplify your family vacation meal prep.

We like to have simple breakfasts, a light lunch and then cook a meal in the evening. We often eat 4-5 dinners at the beach property and then go out for dinner a couple of times.

Check with your host to see if you will have access to a gas or charcoal grill, is the kitchen supplied with a slow cooker or a blender? These items are important to me because my kids always want to drink smoothies. My husband loves to grill out, which helps us to share the cooking responsibility 😍 And I like to use the slow cooker to make these Crock-Pot Shredded Chicken Tacos. Slow cooker recipes can be started in the morning before we head out to the beach, they cook during the day, and then dinner is essentially ready when we want to eat in the evening.

Beach Rental Property on Family Vacation

When you arrive at your beach rental property the first thing you need to do is clean it. With so much concern over Covid-19 it is important to take disinfectant wipes and clean surfaces, door knobs, light switches. Once you feel comfortable that the property is clean then it’s time to unload and settle in to your new home for the week.

If you have a baby or toddler it’s important to make sure you “baby proof” the property. Items such as cabinet locks, outlet covers or a baby stair gate will come in useful.

Examine the property for any delicate items that may be easily broken by a young child. Move them out of reach. Be aware of any furniture or items that may be dangerous to a youngster. Move items such as glass or sharp corners. Little ones are intrigued to explore their new environment, and it’s amazing what they can get in to very quickly! Be vigilant and take whatever precautions that you can.

Before you travel to your beach rental property check with the host to see if they provide items such as: linens, pillows, towels. If not, there may be options to rent linens and towels from a laundry service. And what is the expectation for cleaning the property before you leave? Often they want you to empty the trash and strip the sheets from the bed before you depart. But every property is different so make sure you’re aware of what you need to do to ensure your security deposit is returned.

family beach vacation rental property

A Beach Day with Kids

The real reason you’ve put forth all this effort to get your whole brood to the beach is so you can feel the sea breeze and the sand in your toes. Your kids are excited to hit the beach and start building sand castles. A day at the beach with kids can be stressful, but it can also be so much fun and create wonderful memories if you are prepared.

Beach Essentials for a Day at the Beach

These essential beach items have significantly helped make our family beach vacations more simple and enjoyable.

For a Day at the Beach with Kids you will need:

beach vacation with kids

For full details check out our post about Beach Essentials. This also includes a FREE Packing List you can download about What to Bring for a Beach Day with Kids.

This is super helpful so you can pack your beach bag and beach wagon with all the beach gear for kids that you’ll need to make your day at the beach simple and easy.

Beach Hacks for Family Vacation

Our favorite beach hacks will save you time / money / stress. Doesn’t every parent want to reduce the effort it takes to make it to the beach with kids?

  1. Avoid being on the beach during the middle of the day (12:00 PM to 3:00 PM)
    • This is the hottest part of the day when young skin is most likely to burn. Head out earlier in the morning, or later afternoon when it’s cooler (and less busy).
  2. Beach Toys
  3. Use a Ziploc Bag for Electronics
    • This will keep items – such as a cell phone, cash or keys – clean and dry.
  4. Bring Reusable Shopping Bags as Beach Bags
    • You can pick them up at stores like TJ Maxx or Trade Joe’s for $1. They are cheap, but well made, and you don’t have to worry about getting sand in them or messing up an expensive beach bag.
  5. Baby Powder
    • Did you know that baby powder removes sand? Rub powder on your child’s arms and legs, and watch the sand fall off. 
family beach vacation with kids

What to do at the Beach with Kids

A day on the beach is often a totally different experience than your regular family routine. Unless of course you are lucky enough to live at the beach, in which case I’m sure you’re a pro at family beach days! For the rest of us who often only come to the beach once a year, it is a real contrast from every day family life. Because everything is so different my kids find it SUPER exciting to head to the beach!

There are plenty of games and activities that kids enjoy at the beach. During your family beach day you can:

  • Build Sand Castles
  • Swim or Splash in the Ocean
  • Snorkeling
  • Play Frisbee
  • Walk on the Beach
  • Search for Seashells
  • Spell words in the sand with seashells and stones
  • Look for Dolphins
  • Play on the Boardwalk
  • Go Fishing
  • Bring a Boogie Board
  • Fly a Kite
  • Blow Bubbles
  • Play Ball

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Best Family Travel Games for Beach Vacation

It is a good idea to pack a few family travel games to take on your beach vacation.

Why to pack family travel games:

  • Bad weather happens – if that day at the beach ends up with an afternoon thunderstorm, then you’ve got a back up indoor option.
  • Family Bonding – which occurs when laughing and playing with your kids.
  • Fill the gaps – sometimes you just need something to keep the kids busy for an hour between activities. A quick and fun card or board game will come in handy.
  • Wind down – after a busy day of sightseeing it’s hard to head directly to bed. Try letting the kids play a board game while you relax with a good book.

To find out more about our favorite board games or card games check out this post. It will help you to choose the best family travel games for a vacation.

It’s time for your Family Beach Vacation

Now you’ve put in all the effort to research and plan the best family beach vacation it’s time to go! Head out to your top vacation destination for families and enjoy the break and time away with your family. Traveling with kids requires flexibility, and everything may not go exactly to plan, but that’s OK. Roll with it and be thankful for the opportunity to have a family getaway and enjoy time together.

I’d love to hear where you’re headed on your next family beach vacation. Feel free to share any beach destinations that are great for family travel. This will also help our community with their family travel plans.

And remember, let’s BE Family so you can enjoy the journey.

Until next time,
💕💖 Ruth

For more about family travel check out these posts:
Simplifying a Road Trip with Kids
Beach Essentials: What to bring for Kids
Family Travel Quotes to Inspire Your Family Adventures
How to get your car ready for your next family road trip

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travel with kids


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Travel with Kids

All around the world significant restrictions were implemented to prevent travel during the Covid-19 pandemic. Almost overnight we found ourselves facing this invisible enemy, and life as we knew it was changing. This situation was unprecedented in our lifetime and it affected our everyday lives in dramatic ways. If your family loves to travel with kids, then you likely experienced the disappointment of cancelled travel plans. And your family had to adjust to social distancing and spending your time at home. Now, are you ready to break free from home and travel with kids after Covid-19?

Dreaming of vacation and researching new travel destinations is one of the things that can help get you through this hard time. Certainly knowing that one day we can travel again, and we will be able to plan a family vacation, is a lifeline for me! That hope and wanderlust is what gets me through these difficult days.

Family Travel is changing, so what steps should you be taking for the future? In this post we discuss making plans to travel with kids, and we provide 5 Tips to Help you Prepare to Travel with Kids after Covid-19.

Use the Table of Contents below to quickly skip to any section of this post.

Returning to Travel

Among my community I hear the general consensus that people can’t wait for things to get back to normal. But, I don’t think we’re ever going BACK to normal. We will experience a NEW normal. We are looking forward to normal. What that new normal will look like is rather unknown at this point. However, we do know that life will be different. Are you left wondering how you can travel with kids after Covid-19?

Prioritize Travel with Kids as you Re-build your Schedule

The world has quite literally been turned upside down and our regular schedules and plans have been thrown to the wolves. Furthermore, as challenging as we find this time, the shift in schedule is helping many parents to realize the importance of better priorities. As we re-build our lives one piece at a time, let’s be determined to prioritize what is most important to us as individuals, and to our families. For me, that is prioritizing family time and family travel with kids.

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Making Plans to Travel with Kids after Covid-19

Are you ready to bust out of your house and start making plans to travel with kids? I feel like a caged animal who is trying to escape. I’m desperate for a change of scenery and a break in the monotony of being at home day after day after day.

Right now we are not in a position to travel, but we can still plan and dream of a family vacation. Keep that spark alive in your heart. Make plans now so you know where you want to go, and how to make that trip happen, once the travel restrictions are lifted.

5 Tips for Traveling with Kids after Covid-19

Eventually we will get the green light from local authorities to stop living in isolation and the travel restrictions will be lifted. Then we can make plans to travel with kids again. Where do you want to visit first – the beach, the mountains, your family?

Here’s how your family can transition to travel with kids once the Covid-19 restrictions are lifted:

Start Simple and be Flexible

Taking a simple family road trip would be a great first travel option. This provides the independence of having your car, and not being reliant on the airlines (for the time being) and the possibility of interrupted travel itineraries. Driving your vehicle also means you are typically around your family and can stay away from large crowds of people.

Plan a Staycation

The Covid-19 pandemic may have hit your family hard financially. Whether you experienced reduced work hours, being furloughed, unemployment, the loss of your business, or any other ways that this invisible enemy stole your income. An unexpected change to your family budget may mean that an expensive family vacation is not possible for the foreseeable future. You may consider a staycation in your local area, and instead choose to make day trips from your home. These short family road trips provide the opportunity to explore new and exciting environments on your doorstep, without the added expense of overnight accommodation. Visit the local tourism board for your state and discover places of interest in your area.

Focus on Domestic Travel

We have experienced great uncertainly in 2020 with the border closings of many countries. For the foreseeable future it would be prudent to focus on domestic travel in the country where you live. If you live in the United States then we are blessed with a MASSIVE country to explore and endless domestic travel options. There’s various terrain, temperatures and cultures available within THIS country.

Explore the Outdoors

Plan to spend time outdoors when you travel with kids after Covid-19. Wide open spaces that are away from large groups of people would make a good first trip as we establish what our new normal will look like. We are going to opt for a multi-generational family beach trip. Our favorite destination to visit in the southeastern United States is the quiet and peaceful coastline of the Outer Banks, NC. More specifically the town of Duck, NC which is a very family friendly destination.

You may prefer to visit the mountains where there’s plenty of outdoor options for hiking, fishing, biking or camping. The United States is extremely fortunate with countless National Parks for kids and families to get outside, be active, and have fun.

Watch for Travel Updates

travel with kids in car

Do your research now about places to visit in your area. Keep an eye out for updates from the governor of that state so you are aware of when travel restrictions are lifted, and you are allowed to visit your destination of choice.

Be ready so your family can hit the road once we’re allowed to travel again!

Other posts to help you Travel with Kids

As you make plans to travel with kids check out these other posts I’ve written about how to simplify a road trip with kids and how to avoid motion sickness in kids. Furthermore, in this current environment it’s especially important to be aware of strategies to stay healthy while traveling with children. But for your own sanity don’t forget the road trip snacks for kids, and you can download our FREE Printable Road Trip Games for Kids. This pairs well with our BE Family Travel Tray & Messenger Bag to hold your child’s activities, which you can buy HERE.

Although no one knows how long it will be before we can travel again. I hope this post encourages you to dream about family travel and keep that spark alive. Nothing or no-one can set limits on your dreams! Plan to travel with your kids in the future, it WILL happen again. Family vacations create lasting memories, and shared experiences strengthen family relationships. This special focused time together fills your little ones heart ❣

I’d love for you to please comment below and let me know the first place your family plans to visit once we can travel again.

And remember, let’s BE Family so you can enjoy the journey.

Until next time,
💕💖 Ruth

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Best Family Travel Games


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What are the best family travel games?

Are you headed on a family vacation or a road trip with your kids? Not sure what are the best games to pack? That answer is always changing with the exception of a few classic games. We have compiled our recommendations for the best family travel games for 2020 below.

Click on any topic below to skip straight to that section. We have lots of great info so you’re welcome to read through and you will likely learn something new.

Why pack games for a family vacation?

You may wonder why we like to pack games on a family vacation. You have already planned a lot of family activities for your trip, so are games even necessary? Yes, we recommend having a few different board games or card games on hand for various reasons:

  • Bad weather happens and it can be hard to plan ahead for. If that day at the beach ends up with an afternoon thunderstorm, then you’ve got a back up indoor option.
  • Family Bonding – laughing and playing with your kids will cause your brain to release endorphins. Consequently that can strengthen bonds through trust and empathy.
  • Reduces Stress – vacations help to reduce stress. They can however unintentionally create stress when things don’t go as planned or you leave something behind.
  • Fill the gaps in your plans with a quick and fun card or board game. Sometimes you just need something to keep the kids busy for an hour between activities.
  • Wind down after a busy day of sightseeing. It’s hard to head directly to bed after a day on the town. Try letting the kids play a board game while you cuddle up to a good book.
Best Board Games for Family Travel

How to choose the best family travel games for a vacation?

Obviously “must be fun” should be the first factor in your choice. Next, small and light in most cases will factor in as well. Some games may have a mini version that will work perfectly. You should consider the places they could be used when choosing the perfect family games.

For example, a board game is acceptable if you are playing the game in your beach house rental with a large family. A card game is perfect for sitting on a floor in an airport terminal, and can be popped right into a small backpack for a day out sightseeing.

Magnetic Chess or checkers set works great as a family travel game on a family road trip.

However, a great option in the car or on a plane would be a magnetic folding Chess/Checkers set like this one. All the pieces are magnetic and much easier to keep a track of than a traditional board game. A magnetic chess or checkers board game is a perfect family travel game for the backseat.

You want to typically avoid games with a lot of small pieces. Unless it is a magnetic board game like above. Make sure the box is in good shape to contain any extras the game includes.

Quick Hack: Use a small ziplock bag to keep any dice, game pieces, money, cards, or any other loose pieces that may separate from the game easily. Also check out sites like GameParts.net if you do end up losing a standard piece like a die, checker, or sand timer. They have lots of items that could replace missing pieces. Of course even if it’s not a perfect match, that could save from buying a new game.

Card games can be the best family travel games

The best family travel games are typically card games. Light and easy to pack just about anywhere. Quick and easy to whip out if your family needs a distraction or to fill an unexpected delay while on your journey. Below we have compiled a list of our favorite card games for traveling with the family.

Spot It Family Travel card game

Spot it!

A fun family card game of visual perception. Perfect for the whole family, who will be the first to spot the match!

Develops focus, speech language skills, visual perception skills, and fine motor skills. With multiple ways to play this game will keep 2 – 8 players entertained for hours.

Color and packaging can vary. Many different game variations available, choose your favorite.

Family Card Game perfect for travel

Travel Scavenger Hunt Card Game

It’s fun and educational for the whole family. During a long road trip with the kids, do you tire of hearing “are we there yet”?

Keep the backseat busy, having fun and learning all at the same time.

These colorful and high quality cards are perfect for small hands.

Pictionary card game for family travel

Pictionary Card Game

A mashup of Pictionary and charades, however with no drawing required.

This family fun game will pit 2 teams against each other in a race to act out clues with simple images on each card. Combine them to make a scene, or use them as props.

Emojinks Emoji Card Game for traveling

Emojinks Emoji Card Game

This is a fast paced fun for the whole family game, with small cards in a convenient protective tin, perfect for traveling.

This value packed 2-in-1 Emoji Card Game has beginner and advanced levels.

UNO card game

This is an easy to learn classic family game. This is our daughter’s favorite card game so it is a staple on our family travels.

Easy to learn and fun to play with new customizable wild cards. Comes complete with a sturdy tin convenient for family travel.

Blurt game perfect for family travel

Travel Blurt! Game

This is a fast paced game of rapid word recall. Just like the name suggests, players will blurt out the word as quickly as they can guess it.

75 double-sided cards, card sleeve, scoreboard, and 4 magnetic score pieces all included in a convenient tin perfect for family travel.

Dutch Blitz card game perfect for traveling.

Dutch Blitz Card Game

This has been a favorite for our family for years. The fast paced and competitive game will keep everyone on their toes.

The traditional game is for up to 4 players. However, an expansion pack is available to expand to 8 players. You can get a deal on the combination set of both packs here.

Also there is a protective case that will carry the combination set (two packs) in a hard shell zippered pouch perfect for traveling. Get your hard shell zippered pouch protective case here.

The best family travel board games

Here are a few of our favorite and the best family travel games that we like to take on our vacations. We’ve not tried them all yet. The rest are on our wish-list to get for a family night, or to try on our next family trip. Let us know your thoughts and which ones you like the best.

Blokus board game for family travel

Blokus Board Game

This is a strategy game designed for the whole family.

This easy to learn and quick to play game is perfect for between 2-4 players.

 Sushi Roll - The Sushi Go! Dice Game for family travel

Sushi Roll – The Sushi Go! Game

The dice and board game version of the popular card game Sushi Go! – The Pick and Pass Card Game.

Rack up on winning combos like two tempura or a set of sashimi to win points. The game that always makes me hungry.

Rummikub on the go for easy family travel

Rummikub on the Go

Features the same full sized racks and tiles as the full sized version. However, all packs in a convenient canvas bag for easy transport.

Reinforces STEM skills like sequencing, pattern recognition and planning. Perfect for generational game play for 2-4 players.

Monopoly Ultimate Banking Board Game for family travel

Monopoly Ultimate Banking Game

In this cashless version of the original game there is less to keep up with. All property values, money collected and paid out is all done on the each players bank card.

Interesting modern twist on the classic board game we’ve all played over the years. Kids are sure to love the digital take on this version.

Dabble word game, great for family travel

Dabble Word Game

First to five wins! The first player to spell five words is the winner. If you can spell you can play.

The game that is quick and easy to learn. However, it’s still challenging when you play.

Bananagrams travel game is perfect for family vacations.

Bananagrams Game

Not exactly a board game but not at all a card game. Bananagrams is super convenient to pack in a bag or even to keep in the glovebox.

I love the loop at the top of the zippered banana pouch for a carabiner clip on a backpack. This has to be a staple to pack for your family travels.

Check out the Double Bananagrams Game Set for up to 16 people to play.

Mexican Train Dominoes

Another family favorite game with lots of variety. Comes all packed in a handy metal tin with snap lid. Comes with wooden hub and metal trains.

Setting up dominoes and watching them topple is enjoyable for all ages. Especially for the little ones that can’t play the game properly yet.

Tips for playing games on a road trip

What are your best family travel game suggestions?

We hope these lists of best family travel games above will help give you ideas for your next family adventure. Please let us know your thoughts about any games that you have played. Also, if you try any of our suggestions we would love to know what you think. Leave us a comment below. Share this article to help out your friends who may be planning a road trip with kids or a family vacation.

Let’s help each other along the way to make our family travel easier.

We hope this post will bring you more peace on your family adventures. And remember, Let’s BE Family so you can enjoy the journey.

Until next time,
Doug

BE Family Travel

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Stress-free travel with your baby

The holidays are fast approaching and as a parent with a new baby you’re likely making plans to travel. Maybe to see family or take a holiday getaway for some fun and relaxation. If you are planning your travel with a baby, it may feel overwhelming. Never fear we have get tips and tricks for you to make the travel more smoothly.

Traveling over the holidays can be stressful. Especially when you travel with a baby which can make your trip more challenging and unpredictable. And if this is your first time traveling with baby you may be extra nervous about what’s ahead. Fear not! I can completely relate and want to share with you what I’ve learned along the journey of parenting and travel.  

Use the Table of Contents below to quickly skip to any section of this post.

What I’ve learned about traveling with a baby

I am a Brit living in North Carolina, USA. When my first daughter was born in 2011, I was super excited to take her to England so she could meet my family and friends. She was 3 months old that Christmas and we decided to make the trans-Atlantic trip. As December arrived and the day of our flight approached, I began to feel extremely nervous. I had made the trip MANY times before, but never with a baby.

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Holiday Family Travel

I’ve realized that it’s easier to travel with an infant, before they start crawling or walking. When my second daughter arrived several years later, I jumped on the opportunity to travel with her while she was small. She was 5 months old that Christmas. We booked the flights before she was even born! We flew to England on Christmas Day, but I’ll share more about our decision to do that later!

Planning, being prepared and giving yourself some grace if it’s not all “perfect” will help you take on this new challenge of traveling with a baby. Whether on a road trip or on a plane, bus or train, being flexible and having a sense of humor will help. Time together as a family and making memories with your child far outweighs the extra effort it will take.

Top “10” tips for stress-free travel with a baby this holiday

1. Avoid travel on peak days

Many people want to avoid traveling on an actual holiday and prefer to be at their destination to enjoy the holiday. Therefore, the airports and roads are much busier before and after the holiday. Peak travel days in the US include the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, December 23rd and January 2nd. You can usually get better deals on flights if you’re willing to travel on an actual holiday. Then postpone your celebration with family to a different day.

Airplane flying with a baby

We did this several years ago when my second daughter was an infant. We flew to England on Christmas Day.

The airport was quieter and we were able to get much lower fares with better flight times and less connections. This made the overall journey more direct, and much easier.

We were able to celebrate Christmas in the United States with my husband’s family a couple of days early. Then celebrate with my family in England a couple of days late.

Our children were young, they never knew any different. Bonus for our kids was they got two Christmases out of the deal. We were happy that it worked out perfectly for both sides of our family.

2. Pack light and only bring the essentials

I like to be prepared and used to have the tendency to pack everything but the kitchen sink when we would travel. My poor husband was left playing tetras trying to fit all the luggage into our vehicle, and then navigating everything around the airport. It was WAY TOO MUCH LUGGAGE!

Pack to fly with a baby

I’ve since developed in-depth family packing lists which help me to remember from one trip to the next what items we ACTUALLY need to pack. When you travel with a baby you have enough on your plate without having to keep up with too much luggage. Try to pack as light as possible.

The only essentials you really need when you travel with a baby

  • a diaper bag with diapers (one diaper per hour of travel, and buy more at your destination)
  • changes of clothes for you and baby
  • formula/bottles/cups (you can fill with water after you are through security)
  • a nursing cover (which made it a lot easier to nurse when in such close quarters with strangers)
  • diaper cream (3oz or less, if flying, use just in case you can’t change baby right away)
  • plastic bags (to carry wet/messy items)
  • comfort item or lovey
  • books/small toys
  • ID for you and baby if you’re flying (check out our post about how to apply for your child’s passport)

I also recommend bringing a baby travel kit to keep in your hand luggage which includes: a thermometer, Tylenol (for fever), Ibuprofen (for pain), band aids and any prescription medication.

3. Rent or borrow baby gear at your destination 

When you’re visiting family see what baby gear you can borrow from Grandma or your sister, cousin etc. They can ask their friends or neighbors, and you’ll be amazed at what they can find for you. If you’re visiting a place that you’re not familiar with then research a local company where you can rent baby gear by the day or by the week.

Also you can check out Baby’s Away, baby supply rentals. With locations across the USA, if you’re travelling within the US that will make it easy for you. Also you can check out BabyQuip which is another nationwide option in the US for baby gear rentals.

When driving it’s not always possible, or worth the hassle, to drag all that baby gear with you. Consider renting or borrowing items such as a crib or pack and play, highchair, Bumbo seat, play mat, baby swing or bouncy seat. And remember that you can buy diapers when you arrive at your destination and don’t need to carry a week’s worth of diapers in your suitcase!  

4. Reserve a ticket for your infant and bring ID 

A child, less than 2 years old, may typically travel free of charge within the U.S. when accompanied by an adult. Although a lap child is not typically required to pay for a seat, they are required by the airline to be issued with a ticket and to show proof of age.

On an international flight some airlines may charge taxes and fees even if the infant is sitting on a parent’s lap. If you are traveling abroad your child will need a passport. Make sure you begin the process of applying for your child’s passport well before your trip. Read our complete guide to get your child a U.S. passport.

Travel with baby as a lap child on a plane

Don’t make the 2 year old mistake

Recently I was talking with a friend who planned to take her nephew on a flight to Florida right after his 2nd birthday. I commented that it’s unfortunate she didn’t plan the trip before he turned two, because now she will have to pay for his seat.

She seemed confused by my comment as the parents had (mistakenly) told her that it’s free to fly with a 2-year-old. She had not reserved a ticket for the child and thought he would just “sit on her lap”. I explained this was not the case and she needed to contact the airline.

She ended up having to buy a ticket for her nephew, and as no seats were available in economy class, she had to purchase a ticket in business class. It ended up being a rather costly mistake and lots of extra hassle the week before the trip.

It is always important to contact your airline, so they are aware than you plan to travel with an infant and to find out the requirements for your flight.

5. Check with airline about baggage allowance

While infants with a paid seat typically get the same baggage allowance as a paid adult ticket, if your child under 2 years old is traveling as a lap child (without their own seat), then unfortunately they are not typically given a baggage allowance. I would always recommend calling your airline ahead of time to find out the luggage allowance for an infant on your flight.

In my experience we’ve always been allowed to take a stroller through security to the gate. We are then given a “gate check” tag to take the stroller to the door of the airplane and they will store it under the plane during the flight. When we arrived at our destination the stroller was available for pick up at the door of the plane (or sometimes at baggage claim, depending on the airport).

Travel with a baby as a lap child

Baby gear for the airplane

I would suggest using a stroller gate check bag to cover and protect your stroller from dirt and damage. Especially if you’re traveling in the winter with snow when you’ll find there’s salt everywhere! And I always like to wear the baby in an infant carrier such as the Ergo or Baby Bjorn which allows me to have my hands free. Plus, baby loves to be close to you!  And then I use the stroller to transport other things like the diaper bag, carry-on suitcase, winter coats, or even an older sibling who may be tired from all the travel. 

6. Take a direct flight

When possible take a direct flight to reduce your travel time and time in the air. On an international or long-haul flight call ahead to ask for the baby bassinet which attaches to the wall of the bulkhead section. These are typically complimentary on international flights, though they’re subject to availability. If the bassinet is not available, then ask for bulkhead seating to give you some extra space.

Read our post about surviving jet lag with your baby or toddler.

How to Travel with a Baby on a plane

On shorter flights I like to get an aisle seat at the front of the plane. When the seat belt sign is off, I will get up and walk around the cabin for some exercise and to give baby a change of scenery. During takeoff and landing make sure to give your child a drink, snack or pacifier to help reduce ear pain from the pressure change. I would always plan to nurse my baby during that time.

7. Travel while baby sleeps 

When we make the 2-hour drive to Grandma’s, we usually plan to drive in the afternoon during our toddler’s nap time. When my brother is driving with his two young children, he will typically leave in the evening so the kids will fall asleep in the car. Then he’ll drive into the night to reach his destination. Friends of ours always drive overnight so their children will sleep all night until they reach their destination. If you’re traveling across the country or abroad consider taking the red-eye flight.

The good thing about a baby is that they will typically sleep a lot, so try to do as much travel as possible while your baby is asleep. Traveling with small children requires flexibility, and you need to be aware that surprises may occur along the way. From traffic to flight delays or missed connections. Try to handle any unexpected changes with grace and a sense of humor. Your baby can sense how you’re feeling. The calmer you can remain the better for everyone!

8. Give yourself extra time when you travel with a baby

Everything with a baby seems to take longer, so account for that when making travel plans. Give yourself extra time. I would suggest at least 1-2 hours extra than you’d normally need for your road trip or arrival at the airport. You never know when baby is going to spit up or have a blow out that needs to be dealt with right then. Or when you’ll need to stop to nurse or feed baby sooner than you expected. If you can’t fly direct and you’re booking a flight with a connection, then allow extra time so you’re not rushing through the airport with all your gear.

Best tips for flying with a baby

9. Bring snacks but be prepared to clean up messes 

Have some age appropriate snacks easily accessible in the car or in your carry-on bag. We have a great list of easy to pack snacks on Simplify a Road Trip with Kids post. Check it out here. It’s rare that children like plane food and a snack will often occupy the child and help avoid a tantrum.

Remember to keep food and drinks bland to prevent motion sickness. My youngest daughter developed awful motion sickness in the car when she was around a year old. There were times we couldn’t even make a 15-minute drive across town without her throwing up everywhere!

I’ve developed more awareness about how to handle travel sickness in children. And I’ve lost count of the number of times we had to clean the car seat! Now I avoid giving her milk, yogurt or fruit for breakfast before a road trip. Instead I stick to bland food such as toast or dry cereal.

Car clean up

Car clean-up

For a more in depth discussion on How to Avoid Motion Sickness in Kids then click here.

In the car I always keep a cleaning kit which includes several towels (hand towel and bath towel size), paper towels, Kids N Pets Odor Remover Spray, baby wipes, and plastic trash bags.

I’ve learned to identify the signs of my daughter’s fussing before she gets sick in the car. Now I have a towel at the ready. I use a large towel tucked under her chin and covering her body which helps protect her clothes and the car seat if she gets sick. I keep these towels folded under her seat so I can easily reach back and pass her a towel when needed. Having the necessary supplies and being prepared to clean up messes certainly helps when we’re pulled over on the side of the road trying to comfort a sick kiddo. 

10. Dress comfortably

When I travel, I want to be as comfortable as possible, so I always opt for jeggings or yoga pants. Same goes for your baby, and I try to bring coordinating changes of clothes so if she only messes up a shirt then I don’t need to change the entire outfit.

I always bring pajamas for baby so if we’re going to arrive at night then she’ll already be changed and ready for bed. And remember that airplane temperatures can change dramatically, from warm on the ground to cool in the air. Dress in layers and make sure to bring a jacket.

For more comfy clothing tips for the whole family. Check out our post Simplify a Road Trip with Kids.

Family memories are worth the extra effort

Traveling can be stressful. When you travel with a baby it can be super stressful, but if you think through your travel plans keeping your baby’s needs in mind then it’s a lot more doable. In fact, following these travel tips can help make it less daunting and help you keep your cool.

Always keep in mind that the memories you make are worth the extra effort!

We hope this post will bring you more peace on your family travels. And remember, Let’s BE Family so you can enjoy the journey.

You’ve got this. You can do it! 💖 Ruth

BE Family Travel

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Travel with a Baby Stress Free

BE Family Products Inc. or (BE Family Travel) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Using any of the links in this blog post does NOT cost you anything but does help us big time to support the continued content creation on this blog. Thank you so much for partnering with us, let’s BE Family.

This week (December 2018) we visited The Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. There was a foot of fresh snow covering everything and it was beautiful. Biltmore was very thorough to clear and salt the estate roads. It was very safe but quite the site to see the grounds blanketed with beautiful white snow. It was particularly unusual to see the massive bamboo forests bent over with the tops touching the ground under the weight of the snow. We wondered if it was the right decision to take the Kids to The Biltmore Estate. 

Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC is fun for the kids.

Gift Shopping

First, we visited the shops in the stable right by the Biltmore House entrance. The Carriage House Shop had lots of tasty dips, salad dressings, Biltmore Wines, and juice available for sampling throughout. With a mix of Biltmore souvenirs, Christmas decorations, jewelry, and clothing it was a nice place to gather up a few gifts. Travel Tip: The powdered dips are super light and small for packing. They are a great souvenir or holiday gifts to take home. We also checked out the Toymaker’s shop. The Confectionery tested my willpower. A Christmas Past, and the Bookbinder’s shop were both neat as well. Then we grabbed an early lunch at the Stable Café in order to beat the rush and to fuel the kids for a few hours in the house.

Tour of the Biltmore House

We queued up in a short line to enter the Biltmore House and it moved rather quickly. Once in it is a self-guided tour so you can move as quickly or as slowly as you need to take it all in. The house was stunning with all the Christmas Décor. You could tell there was so much work that went into the decorations and such attention to detail. The kids loved some of the trees and how fancy they were. The attendants stationed in many of the areas are quite knowledgeable and are very willing to answer any questions they can.

Biltmore Secrets

Biltmore Estate Library hold magic secrets that intrigue the kids.

In the library the attendant engaged our kids by asking if they could pick out the Beauty and the Beast book. Of course, they could not but she showed them right where it was. She also let us know to look out for a staircase in the South Wing just outside of the gorgeous Louis XV Room. The staircase lead down to the balcony of the library just behind the tapestry. It was used to pop down into the library for an evening read or to take a book back to your room before bed.

Imaginations Run Wild

Our 7-year-old thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Toddlers/preschoolers would probably get restless rather quickly. She was enthralled in her imagination with what it would be like if she lived there. It was very sweet! The whole tour through the house is about 1.5 – 2 hours. This was a good length as there are no restrooms inside the house. Make sure everyone has been to the bathroom before starting the tour. 

Visit to the Winery

Biltmore Estate Winery is still fun for the kids.

It was so cold out and the grounds were all Winter Wonderland, so we decided to spend some time at Antler Village. We finished out our day at the Winery for wine tasting. We were a bit weary and did not know how that was going to work out with the kiddos. They offer some coloring sheets and coloring pencils with a cup of grape juice to finish off. I must say the littles were quite content while we tasted the wines. The only drawback was there was no hard surface where the kids could draw. Mine ended up laying on the concrete floor which was not ideal. Some clipboards or lap trays would be a perfect fix and more comfortable.

Fun for the Kids

BE Family fun at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC

All in all, it was a wonderful day out and you could easily spend several days visiting Biltmore if the weather were warmer. It was great fun and good exercise for the kids; and equally fun, informative and fascinating for the adults as well. If you’re considering a visit to Asheville, North Carolina, The Biltmore Estate should be high on the list of family activities. Don’t be afraid to take the kids to The Biltmore Estate. 

 

If you want to share your fun adventures. Learn from other families about great vacation ideas or family travel tips, then join us in our Private Facebook Group Family Travel Community. Feel free to join our email list for tips, tricks, savings and more. We strive to post valuable content that will help you simplify family travel. 

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