Where to Travel with Teenagers: 5 Trip Ideas Teens Will Love

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Travel with kids just gets easier and more rewarding as they get older. Of course, traveling with teenagers has its challenges, but let’s give this oft-misunderstood age group a break.

Taken outside their comfort zone and their social sector, they make for some of the best travel companions. Below, find four general types of travel teens enjoy, then read on for specific trip ideas for teens.

Where to travel with teenagers?

Types of Travel Your Teen Will Love

Outdoor Vacations with Extreme Sports or New Skills

Teens love to challenge themselves in a safe setting (usually away from their peers at home), and family vacation is a great place for it.

My newly-minted teen has enjoyed kayaking in Ucluelet, BC and navigating a ropes course in Big Sky, Montana.

Over the years, my kids have enjoyed zip-lining, snowboarding, and rock climbing.

They shouldn’t have to endure days and days of lessons to have fun.

Memorable moments can be enjoyed on one-day adventures, including kayaking, canoeing, surfing, sky diving, parasailing, and white water rafting.

Volunteer Opportunities

Teens are old enough to actually help during relief and ongoing volunteer efforts and young enough that the experience will challenge and enlighten them, as it does for all of us.

Teens don’t have to go to a third world country to volunteer and make a difference, however.

There is Habitat for Humanity to consider.

Another example is outdoor retailer REI. They host a trail clean-up stewardship effort teens can get involved in while traveling, as does Sierra Club.

Local church groups often go on mission trips as well as do more local work.

National Parks

I absolutely love national parks. It is hard to “outgrow” them.

Not only are teens now old enough for long hikes and difficult terrain, but they’re mature enough to fully appreciate what makes our national parks so special.

World Travel

With the internet to research and to plan ahead, world travel today is much easier than world travel in the past.

It will be very enriching for them now that they are older, as teens and tweens will better understand the world history, culture, and travel experiences offered to them.

Best Ski Resorts for Kids with the Best Kid Friendly Activities

Best ski resorts – For our family, skiing and traveling go together.

We love to explore new parts of the US while we’re sampling the slopes.

I advocate taking even very young children on a family ski trip, which is made easier by resorts with activities especially for kids.

You can ski green too and protect the earth in your travels.

Here are my picks for the best ski resorts with kid-friendly activities in the United States.

Keystone Resort, Colorado:

Keystone is #1 for kids amid top Colorado ski resorts, and it’s no wonder why.

First of all, there’s an abundance of lodging options in all price ranges at Keystone.

We like to stay in the River Run village for ski-in, ski-out convenience and proximity to the ski school, rentals, ice skating, and pools, but families can get deals elsewhere as well.

Keystone’s legendary Kidtopia offers kid-friendly fun every afternoon from 3 pm – 5 pm as kids get off the slopes.

These planned activities range from live DJs to face painting, and always include a free cookie hour afterward.

Families can also ice skate in two locations at Keystone, take sleigh rides, and try out snowshoeing or nordic skiing.

Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont:

Smuggler’s Notch, or ‘Smuggs’, has — hands down — the best ski resort child care in any resort we’ve visited.

What makes them special?

Their excellent care givers, of course, and the fact that they take babies and toddlers, which many resorts cannot.

Smuggs also has a huge indoor Play Zone for all kids after skiing and many kid-friendly restaurants.

Be more eco-friendly and walk!

A bonus is that the village at Smuggs is within walking distance of almost all lodging, which means a family can park their car, and not have to use it for the length of their ski vacation.

We love the way Smuggs packages their ski vacations in a way that allows parents to purchase child care, lessons (or ski ‘camp days’), lodging, and tickets all at once, for a reasonable price.

No more worrying about what things cost while on the mountain, or deciding at the last minute whether to spring for a lesson.

Northstar California Resort, CA:

Even though we live in Oregon, we consider Northstar California to be our ‘home’ resort.

We love this Tahoe skiing destination due to the friendly, easy-to-navigate pedestrian village, great snow-making (which means kids are never disappointed by poor snow conditions), and proximity to beautiful and bustling-with-activities Lake Tahoe.

When at Northstar, we make sure we stay in or near the village, so we can take advantage of ski-in, ski-out accommodations and quick dining.

After meals in the village, we walk over to the outdoor ice skating rink for free skating and s’mores roasted in one of many communal fire pits.

In fact, s’mores is a nightly ritual at Northstar.

You’ll see their mountain employees handing out chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallows to all families coming off the slopes each afternoon.

Northstar has two athletic clubs with heated outdoor pools and hot tubs, and most of its lodging offers private hot tubs as well.

The village candy shops and ice cream parlors make kids happy.

Frequent family-friendly events overtake the village center many times per winter.

Snow Basin Resort, Utah:

In general, family-friendly ski resorts offer large base villages where families can dine, stay, and play, but there are exceptions, such as the Snow Basin Resort.

What this Utah resort lacks in a ‘village life’, it more than makes up for in low crowds and a fast car-to-lift commute.

Best of all, the ski school, gear rental shop, and child care are all located in the same building, making the pre-ski day easy on parents.

Even though Snow Basin doesn’t offer an array of base activities for kids, I recommend them for their great pricing.

Kids can get outfitted, enroll in ski school, and ski all day for a very reasonable price.

Parents will enjoy the tougher terrain at the top while kids learn, and then families can meet up for group runs until the lifts close.

Silver Mountain Resort, Idaho:

Bring your swimsuits for a ski vacation to Silver Mountain!

Yes, Silver Mountain has one of the biggest indoor water parks we’ve ever seen (think Great Wolf Lodge big) attached to its resort, allowing families to take a day off of the slopes to splash indoors during bad weather or every day, after skiing.

We’ve tried their surf simulator, and let’s just say we’ll stick to skiing!

There’s also a full spa at Silver Mountain, and great package deals for families: stay, swim, and ski for as low as $49 per person in the winter.

On the slopes, it’s an easy gondola ride from the resort to the base of the mountain, and families can simply return to their lodging for nap time.

Things to Look for When Bringing Kids to a Ski Resort

It’s nice when everything is close by, preferably walkable.

The best ski resorts will promote their kids-programs and lessons geared for kids.

Fun amenities for kids such as a swimming pool and kids’ club will make it more fun and easier on the parents too.

Where do you ski as a family?

What makes it kid-friendly?

Great Trip Ideas for Tweens and Teens

So where, exactly to go?

Read on for our list of where to travel with teenagers and tweens.

US National Whitewater Center

In his post on 100 Routes Across America, Paul Entin describes this whitewater rafting center in Charlotte, NC as “Disney World for the active outdoor enthusiast.”

The US National Whitewater Center has the largest man-made whitewater route in the world and is an Olympic training ground with lots to offer families with teens.

In addition to rafting, kids can zip-line, hike, eco-trek, and more.

Best of all, it’s affordable.

Teens can enjoy all of the offerings for significantly less than a day at Disney.
where to travel with teenagers

Olympic National Park

It’s no coincidence that of all the fantastic national parks on offer, Olympic gets my pick.

As most female tweens and teens know, it’s home to Forks and La Push, setting of the popular young adult books series Twilight.

Even if your teens are beyond the Twilight stage (or skipped it altogether), it’s fun to see where a fantasy series has come to life.

And it is a beautiful place, filled with lots of outdoor activities to enjoy.

Spend the day rafting, kayaking, or biking.

You can even horseback ride through the rain forest.

where to travel with teenagers

Sand Dunes of Ica, Peru

Outdoor adventure takes on a wild edge in Ica, Peru, where teens can have a blast sand boarding down southern Peru sand dunes with an Ica tour company.

If you need to stay closer to home, amazing sand dunes can also be found in Death Valley National Park as well as at the Great Sand Dunes in Mosca, Colorado.

I’ve also seen tweens and teens haul snowboards to the top of Logan Pass in Glacier National Park.

Crow Canyon, Colorado

Tweens and teens and their family can volunteer side-by-side with archaeologists at this Puebloan dig site outside of Mesa Verde, Colorado.

You might not think you’re on vacation while in the dirt, hauling buckets of mud.

However, teens are learning a profession, personalizing anthropology they usually see only in museums, and getting their hands dirty.

Worldwide volunteer opportunities abound, too.
where to travel with teenagers

Rome, Italy

Teens are ripe for international travel, and what better place to start than one location with nearly everything: ancient history, interesting sites, nice weather, and incredible art.

And what teen doesn’t love pizza and gelato?

It only takes a few days to hit the major sites in this culture-rich city, but half the excitement of Rome for teens is riding the public transit, walking through the eerie underworld of the catacombs, and seeing what they’ve only glimpsed in text books in the Vatican.

This post is part of our series on “Where to Travel with Kids.”

Catch up on Part 1: Where to Travel with Babies and Toddlers, Part 2: Where to Travel with Preschoolers and Young Children, and Part 3: Where to Travel with School-Age Kids.

Where have you traveled with tweens and teens?

What locations and activities have they enjoyed?

Where to Travel with Kids: From Babies to Teens

Family travel can be an incredible way to bond with your kids, show them the world, and escape from the hustle and bustle of life at home.

But where to travel with kids?

Traveling with kids is very different than traveling with other adults, and if you pick a destination that’s not age-appropriate, your vacation could go downhill quickly.

Don’t worry, though: we’ve got you covered.

Our four-part series provides helpful family vacation planning tips and great destinations for travel with kids of all ages, from babies to teens.

Read these posts and you’re sure to have a memorable family vacation.

Tips for where to travel with kids

Here is a summary of our tips for where to travel with kids.

Where to Travel with Babies and Toddlers: Top 5 Destinations

If you’re a parent with young kids, you’re probably starting to wonder where to travel with babies and toddlers.

The hardest part of vacationing with young children is not the vacation itself, but getting there.

And back.

And to all those points in-between.

And think of the packing!

Read this post to learn the easiest types of destinations for families with young kids.

Plus, we asked five of the top family travel bloggers for their picks, and here’s what they told us.

Each of these destinations will make a vacation with a baby seem like… well, a vacation.

Where to Travel with Preschoolers and Young Children

The good news: this age group has likely graduated out of diapers, cribs, and high chairs (hurray!), so packing for your vacation will no longer require a U-Haul.

The bad news: their attention spans are still short, and while they may be too big for the stroller, they’re often too small to walk long distances.

Here’s what to look for in vacation for preschoolers and young children.

Keep in mind at this age, as kids begin to learn more about their world, everything can be an adventure.

Usually, everything is fun, even things that are commonplace in our world like checking into a hotel room.

Where to Travel with School-Age Kids: 5 Family Trip Ideas

In my opinion, school-aged kids are the best travelers.

They are old enough to appreciate culture and history (and carry or pull their own luggage), but young enough to still enjoy vacationing with their parents.

School-age kids are a vacationer’s dream. Read this post to learn five types of vacations your school-age kids will love, plus five specific destinations for a perfect family vacation.

Remember to incorporate them as you plan ideas.

They may surprise you with things that will interest them.

A bonus is if they are learning about it in school.

Where to Travel with Teenagers: 5 Trip Ideas Teens Will Love

Travel with kids just gets easier and more rewarding as they get older.

Of course, traveling with teenagers has its challenges, but let’s give this oft-misunderstood age group a break: taken outside their comfort zone and their social sector, they make for some of the best travel companions.

They do not have to be watched every minute like younger children, and they can take responsibility for their packing and their own entertainment along the way.

They are old enough to maybe even appreciate the sights they will see.

It is important to involve them in the planning as well, and find something that will really interest them.

In this post, find four general types of travel teens enjoy, then read on for specific trip ideas for teens.

No matter what the age group, remember to think of travel activities for kids in advance.

It might be enough for each older child to bring a chapter book and the little’s some coloring.

Electronics like DS devices and iPads are always convenient and make kids happy too.

Where to travel with kids becomes easier when you do what works best for each age group.

Think back to your favorite vacations if you were lucky enough to go as a child.

Here are more great places for family vacations.

Remember your best practices for parenting while at home, bring them on the road to keep the routine as routine as possible, and enjoy the time you get to vacation with your children.

Where to Travel with School-Age Kids

In our “Where to Travel with Kids” series, I’ve offered destination ideas and tips for traveling with babies through young children.

However, I believe that school-aged kids are the best travelers.

They are old enough to appreciate culture and history (and carry their own luggage), but young enough to still enjoy vacationing with their parents.

It is a magical time.

They are still naturally curious and still are excited about so many things.

Everything can become an adventure.

Read on for great ideas about where to travel with school-age kids.

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Theme parks:

School-age kid may not become starry-eyed at the sight of Mickey any longer, but they’re tall enough for most all of the attractions and old enough to better handle longer days in the parks.

National parks:

Once kids can hike longer distances, they’re prime for a national park vacation.

Old enough to participate in all Junior Ranger activities and outdoor exploration, they’re also great campers.

Most have hiking, wildlife viewing, and camping.

Some even have sand dunes to explore and “sled” down.

City touring:

School-age kids may have had the social studies lessons necessary to understand the significance of city sights such as the Liberty Bell or the Statue of Liberty.

They’re also old enough to be exposed to cultural or urban experiences.

What an impact it would make to visit a place your child recently learned about in school.

Historical sights:

This is great time for a history lesson at a national historic site, battlefield, or town.

School-age kids can drink in the information presented to them at museums and cultural centers.

Ambitious road trips:

Thanks to electronic devices and kids who are old enough to read, the best road trips with kids are within this age range.

Not only are road trips now do-able, but a very rewarding and economic way to travel.

In addition to the electronics and other road games we enjoy, we make it a goal to read aloud one longer chapter book during each trip.

We took turns reading “Charlotte’s Web” on our last 4-day getaway.

And yes, I did most of the reading, but the kids were captivated.

It is so much easier to eat healthy when on a road trip, which will make your kids feel better during the course of traveling.

And if you are dealing with food allergies and sensitivities, a road trip is a lot easier than restaurant choices.

You will save money and vary their diet (as mine children will usually only eat fries and chicken strips at restaurants) and you don’t have to rely on restaurants the entire time.

Pack your cooler, and visit a few stores when necessary to pick up fresh produce and other items.

Top 5 Destinations for School-Age Kids

New York City, New York

The Big Apple is perfect for school-age kids.

They’re old enough to walk the city, use public transit (and learn to read maps), and enjoy the many art and natural history museums.

We love to stay in midtown for easy access to both Central Park and Times Square, and pick boutique hotels that offer personalized service, common lounge areas to relax, and kitchens so we can shop locally and prepare some of our meals.

Top attractions for families include Ellis Island, the Empire State Building, and the Museum of Natural History.

Glacier National Park, Montana

Of course, any national park is a great option for school-age kids, but Glacier gets my pick because of its stunning beauty and fun hiking and boating opportunities.

Stay in the park at the amazing Many Glacier Hotel to enjoy alpine sunsets on the expansive decks and bear watching along the banks.

Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia

Williamsburg is a history lover’s dream… but not terribly fun to explore with toddlers and preschoolers.

School-age kids will love the costumed historical figures, the tutorials in blacksmithing and candle making, and the opportunity to put each other in the stocks.

Stay on-site to get the most of your stay, (it can be humid and hot in summer, and you won’t want to commute far) or extend your vacation to include a Great Wolf Lodge stay, where they teach eco-responsibility in their water parks and hotels.

National parks road trip

There are too many great national parks to limit this list to just one region.

Depending where in the United States you live, you probably have a national parks road trip near you.

Our personal favorite has been a tour of Southwestern national parks, which included a route through Grand Canyon, Zion, Mesa Verde, and Great Basin national parks.

Boston, Massachusetts

In few other cities can school-aged kids experience urban culture, outdoor activities, and extensive U.S. history.

Kids over age five are old enough to walk the Freedom Trail in its entirety, and still have energy to explore the Boston Children’s Museum and Science Museum to boot.

Now that you have some ideas of where to travel with school-age kids, we hope you thoroughly enjoy this special time in your child’s life.

You can fuel their curiosity and sense of wonder and help develop their love of traveling.

Where have you traveled with school-age kids?

What would you recommend adding to a kid-friendly itinerary for this age?

Where to Travel with Young Kids and Preschoolers

Summer is here! It’s time to schedule that family vacation before the carefree summer days are gone, and it’s back to school already.

In previous articles, we tackled summer destinations for babies and toddlers, where to vacation with school-age kids, and even where to vacation with teenagers.

But where to travel with young children and preschoolers?

Here are some things to keep in mind.

The good news: this age group has likely graduated out of diapers, cribs, and high chairs (hurrah!), so packing for your vacation will no longer require a U-Haul.

The bad news: their attention spans are still short, and while they may be too big for the stroller, they’re often too small to walk long distances.

Here’s what to look for in vacation for preschoolers and young children.

Tips for Where to Travel with Young Kids

Destination resorts are still a good vacation idea

Families only need to pack and unpack once, kids can stay put (no long bus, train, or car travel once on vacation), and most resorts offer a plethora of kid-friendly activities.

If your kids are potty trained, a cruise might be in the cards.

Theme parks are ripe for introduction

While you may want to save the “big” theme park visits for school-aged kids, now’s the time for your kids’ introduction to Mickey and the gang.

State parks and campgrounds are king

Hold off on the big national parks until your kids can trek with the adults, and opt instead for smaller, easier accessed natural areas.

Single tank of gas road trips:

Again, think small.

Introduce your young children to the concept of road tripping without the multi-day hassle.

Plan on a single night out, maybe in tandem with a campground or cabin stay.

You’ll save money, too.

So where, exactly, to go?

Read on for our top vacation ideas for families with preschoolers or young children.

Top 5 Vacation Ideas for Traveling with Preschoolers

Disney Cruise

Cruising with kids is one of the most relaxing ways to spend a family vacation.

As with an all-inclusive resort, all of your entertainment, food, and activities are at your fingertips.

You only need to unpack once, and after you’ve scheduled your excursions (well before departure), there’s no stress about your itinerary.

While I advocate small ship cruising for families with older kids, I recommend a Disney cruise for the younger set because of its industry-setting childcare programs.

A Disney cruise kids’ club exists for every age, comes at no additional charge, and will please even the pickiest (or most uncertain) preschoolers.

Disney cruise ships lead the industry in eco-cruise measures, and they know how to give young families a good time.

Their entertainment programming is always nap- and bedtime-friendly.

Their pools, slides, and off-shore activities are always inclusive of younger children.

Note: if your child is not potty trained, you may want to wait on a cruise.

Nearly all cruise lines ban diapers of any sort in any pools, though other water play areas for toddlers do exist.

Read up on Disney cruising tips.

Dreams All-Inclusive Beach Resorts

All-inclusive beach resorts are great for kids of any age, but their hassle-free vacation plan is especially welcome for families with young kids.

In addition to our recommendations for babies and toddlers, any Dreams resort will fit the bill.

Combining relaxation for parents with all-day fun for young kids, I recommend Dreams because of their high standard for quality combined with their family-friendly, no-frills atmosphere.

You don’t sacrifice luxury, and you know your kids are welcome.

Our pick: Dreams Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.

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Disney Theme Park

You’re probably itching to introduce your preschooler or young child to Mickey Mouse and Co., and for good reason: this age is ideal for getting those precious photo ops.

Young children are old enough to “get” Disney, and still young enough to enjoy all the character fun.

That said, go easy on your first Disney theme park vacation!

You’ll likely be back with your children as they get older (you’ll need someone to ride Space Mountain with, after all), so plan to tackle only a few parks in one preschool visit.

If you’re on the West Coast, the smaller size of the Disneyland Resort is ideal.

Reserve character breakfasts for stress-free face-time with everyone from princesses to Pooh.

If possible, plan to stay on-site at Disneyland or DisneyWorld with preschoolers, preferably on the Monorail line in DisneyWorld.

Doing so makes returning to your room for daily naps possible, increasing vacation enjoyment for everyone.

If Disney doesn’t seem like the greenest destination, check out their environment and conservation initiatives.

Great Wolf Lodge

If a Disney theme park vacation is still too daunting, plan a “theme park lite” vacation at any one of the 13 (and counting!) Great Wolf Lodges across the U.S. Families will find huge indoor water parks, fun interactive treasure hunting games, art and activity play spaces, dining, and family-friendly accommodations all under one roof at Great Wolf Lodge.

Though not cheap, a Great Wolf Lodge vacation costs families much less than a standard theme park trip, and can be much less stressful.

Plus, Great Wolf’s green measures are industry-leading, and programs are in place throughout their resorts to teach kids about conservationism.

Plan to stay 2-3 nights for time to do everything in a relaxed manner.

Bring groceries for quick and easy breakfasts and lunches in your room.

Spacious counter space and mini-fridges make this easy.

Car Camping at a State Park

For a fun, easy mini-vacation one tank of gas or less from home, check your state’s park listings (Google “Oregon state parks,” for example).

Every state has affordable, beautiful state parks, and many of them offer overnight camping.

If you plan to backpack or camp regularly with your kids (yes, it is possible to backpack with babies and young kids!), car camping at a local state park can make for a great introduction.

Preschoolers love to camp: they seem to be immune to dirt, cold, or the irritation of bug bites.

They’re (finally!) old enough to sleep (fairly) well in new environments, and can follow basic outdoor safety rules.

Plus, it’s easy to hop in the car for a dinner out, check out a local activity like a children’s museum if the weather is poor, or pull up stakes and leave altogether if the going gets too tough.

In our state, we can reserve state park camping sites as far advance as 9 months, but you’ll want to check your listings for varying policies.

Our most recent favorite state park: Jed Smith Redwoods State Park on the Northern California coast.

The answer of where to travel with young children and preschoolers is also determined by how long you can be away; your budget; where you live; and your child’s health and disposition.

Consider if your child is overwhelmed by change or too much stimulation.

With the above choices, there are opportunities for everyone to have a stress-free and fun time.

Tips for Where to Travel with Babies and Toddlers

With summer just around the corner, it’s time to start planning family vacations.

If you’re a parent with young kids, you’re probably starting to wonder where to travel with babies and toddlers.

The hardest part of vacationing with young children is not the vacation itself, but getting there and back.

Save the road trips and multi-city or country itineraries for when the kids are older.

A single destination resort where you can unpack, settle in, and relax, without having to strap kids into car seats, strollers, and backpacks every day.

Accommodations with kitchens, laundry facilities, and room to spread out (and fit all that baby gear), such as a home rental, home swapping, or family suite.

Nearby points-of-interest with low-key outings you can experience at your own pace, such as nature walks, beaches, and self-guided tours.

But where, exactly, to go?

Read on to learn where to travel with babies and toddlers.

We asked five of the top family travel bloggers for their picks, and here’s what they told us.

Each of these destinations will make a vacations with a baby seem like… well, a vacation.

Velas Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The Puerto Vallarta resort area of Mexico is very safe for traveling families, and Velas Vallarta is perfectly appointed for babies and toddlers.

Rooms are all suite-style, making it easy to prepare food and bottles in the full kitchen.

The in-suite fridge is always stocked with complimentary bottled water, fruit juice, kid-friendly snacks, and cereal and milk.

This makes inconvenient trips to a grocery store unnecessary.

Since Velas Vallarta is an all-inclusive resort, your toddler can eat whenever he’d like, and whatever he’d like.

The resort’s three on-site full restaurants, poolside service, and snack areas all cater to young kids.

The resort features a beautiful beach, but since waves are present, babies and toddlers (and their parents) will feel more comfortable at one of the three free-form pools and lazy river.

One pool has a zero depth entry area.

The town of Puerto Vallarta is only five minutes away and easily accessible by taxi…no need to rent a car.

Families can walk miles along the beach in each direction for a relaxed tour of the colorful local tourist scene.

Smuggler’s Notch, Vermont

Smuggler’s Notch is located in the heart of scenic Vermont.

It isn’t just a winter vacation destination (though even in snow, Smuggs is great for babies and toddlers!).

Families stay in spacious condos at Smuggs, allowing parents to spread out from little ones.

Hopefully allowing everyone to get a good night’s sleep.

There’s so much to do right within the resort, there’s no need for long drives.

Toddlers will love having the pick of eight pools and hot tubs.

There’s lots of hiking and nature trails, and Smuggs’ programming for babies and toddlers is one of the best we’ve seen.

Sandpearl Resort, Clearwater Beach, Florida

Family travel blogger Debbie Dubrow of Delicious Baby recommends Sandpearl Resort for babies and young kids.

It’s small enough to navigate easily, but has several restaurant options on-site, including a takeaway coffee shop and a lovely spa.

The zero depth-entry pool never gets so deep that an adult (or an adult carrying a toddler) can’t stand and there are lots of young kids to play with.

Families won’t need a car once they’ve arrived at the resort since there are several good restaurants in easy walking distance.

A public trolly connects the hotel with Clearwater’s boardwalk and the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, home to Winter the dolphin.

While you are in the area, it might be worth a drive down to Casperson Beach or Venice Beach to look for shark teeth.

Your baby or toddler won’t be able to join in the fun but it is a unique experience for older children and adults.

Runaway Bay, Jamaica

For families seeking sun, sand, and sea in the Caribbean, Jamaica fits the bill.

It’s safe, clean, and easy to get to from so many points throughout North America.

Perhaps the most difficult decision parents will have to make is which family-friendly resort at which to stay!

The Franklyn D. Resort and Spa in Runaway Bay has attentive vacation nannies (yes, vacation nannies).

Each room is assigned one.

The nanny is available to care for your children from 9 am – 4:40 pm.

It is nice should the adults need some grown up time, and to offer that extra pair of hands parents always wish they had.

Five star service in a casual resort surrounded by lush vegetation, a calm baby-friendly beach, awesome jerk chicken, and symphonic tree frogs.

Wherever YOU Want to Go

The best part of traveling with babies is their portability.

Coming in second is their lack of an opinion on the day’s itinerary.

An eight-month-old won’t care whether he’s at home or at the Louvre, so long as he’s comfortable, fed, and stimulated.

This will all change soon, so before you’re required to (temporarily) adjust your travel style to cater to your young kids, hit the cafes, museums, and historical sights they’ll be too squirmy for in a matter of years — or months.

If you can’t decide where to travel with babies and toddlers, consider going somewhere you would have gone in your pre-parenting days.

Cities are especially conducive to baby and toddler travel, as they’re stroller-friendly and visually stimulating.

WalkingOn Travels blogger Keryn Means recommends Victoria, B.C., where she entertains her toddler at Butchart Gardens, especially at Christmas time, when the entire place is prettily lit.

If you hit the city with your baby or toddler, just be sure to stay somewhere central to your daily destinations to keep travel time to a minimum.

What is your experience?

Do you have family travel plans with babies and toddlers?

Where are you headed?

What recommendations would you offer?

Traveling While Pregnant: 6 Tips That Make it Easy

So you’re pregnant (congratulations!), you want to travel, and you’re full of questions.

We’ve got you covered.

Traveling can be intimidating when you’re pregnant, but it doesn’t have to be.

No doubt, your pregnancy will influence your travel plans.

It may determine where you go and when.

But it doesn’t mean you need to stop traveling.

There are wonderful destinations that are great for pregnant travelers.

And, if you plan well, traveling while pregnant can be a great way to unwind and relax.

Before you book your next trip, check out these 6 tips that will make traveling while pregnant a breeze.

Check your health insurance policy

If you’re traveling domestically, you probably won’t have too many issues with health insurance (other than potential out-of-network costs).

This is especially true if you purchase a plan from one of the health insurance marketplaces as they are more extensive with what they cover.

But if your trip involves international travel, it’s essential to find out if your insurance will cover pregnancy-related complications.

If not, you’ll should look into additional travel insurance to cover healthcare expenses.

Even if you don’t anticipate needing it.

Buy travel insurance

I’ve never purchased travel insurance, but I will definitely buy it for trips I take while I’m pregnant, for both domestic and international trips.

Especially if you’re booking a big trip, it’s worth the extra cost to purchase travel insurance.

Make sure you do your research because there are different kinds of travel insurance.

Some will just cover the cost of your trip if you have to cancel while other travel insurance will cover medical needs, as well.

Pregnancy affects each woman differently and you have no idea how you will feel 10 weeks from now.

It’s best to be prepared in case you can’t travel.

Or, frankly, in case you don’t feel like leaving the couch.

Be prepared

Be sure to make copies of emergency numbers, medical information, and your insurance information and pack them in your carry-on.

Being prepared is a good idea in general, but it’s especially important during pregnancy.

Before you book your trip, talk to your doctor or midwife to see if they have any concerns.

It’s also a good idea to ask your healthcare provider for a copy of your medical records to bring with you.

Pick a pregnancy-friendly location

If you’re in your first trimester and are planning a big trip for later in your pregnancy, it can be easy to overestimate how much energy you’ll have or how (un)comfortable you’ll be.

As you think about trips that would be good for pregnancy, think about how much walking you’ll want to do and where you’ll want to stay.

While camping may be your first choice typically, you may want to re-think it when you’re 7-months pregnant; a good night’s sleep at that point will be hard enough in a bed, much less in a sleeping bag.

A road trip can be a wonderful vacation, but sitting a car for more than a few hours at a time could be really uncomfortable toward the end of your pregnancy.

Pregnancy is a great time to stay closer to home and enjoy relaxing vacations.

Plan a spa weekend with the girls

Relax, spend quality time with friends, and find a location that specializes in pre-natal massage.

Dive into a beach getaway

Pack a good book, spend time lounging outside, and appreciate that you’re not chasing a toddler down the beach — yet.

Head to the city

This might seem counter-intuitive since it might include a lot of walking, but there are ways to make a city pregnant lady-friendly.

Pick a hotel in a central location and spend a little extra on cabs here and there.

Enjoy good restaurants and pack comfortable shoes to do some shopping.

Check airline and cruise policies

When we were planning a recent vacation, we thought a cruise would be a good option.

We were about to book and I checked the policies at the last minute.

I’m glad I did because most cruise lines won’t let you travel past 20 weeks.

It’s also essential to check your airline’s policy.

While many airlines will let you fly domestically well into your third trimester, international flights may have different regulations.

Remember, sometimes your flights will be operated by an airline that’s different than what you actually booked through.

So check all of their policies.

Regardless, it’s a good idea to carry a doctor’s note when you’re in your third trimester.

Get comfortable!

Whether you’re driving or flying, you want to be comfortable when you’re traveling while pregnant.

It’s also a good idea to walk around to prevent blood clots, so an aisle seat will make it easier to get up and stretch.

Rejuva Health compression socks also help with blood flow and circulation.

While a window seat offers a better view, if you’re like me, you’ll want to stick to the aisle so you can get up and go to the bathroom without asking the people next to you to move.

It’s also a good idea to walk around to prevent blood clots, so an aisle seat will make it easier to get up and stretch.

Drink plenty of fluids and avoid caffeine.

If you’re traveling by car, be sure to plan for adequate stops.

Carry bottled water and healthy snacks.

If your feet are prone to swelling, bring slippers or socks to wear as a passenger.

In both cases, wear comfortable clothes.

It’s a good idea to wear clothes that will make frequent trips to the bathroom easy.

Like drawstring or elastic pants.

While it’s fun to get dressed up on vacation, you’ll be more comfortable if you pack sensible shoes that will accommodate your sometimes swollen feet.

Traveling while pregnant can be a great way to get some rest and relaxation before your bundle of joy arrives!

Just be sure to take it easy and talk to your doctor before doing any sort of travel.

Have you traveled while pregnant?

Do you have tips for other pregnant travelers?

How to Travel Cheaply with a Large Family

These days, the average family has increased from two kids to three, and yet when traveling, families still encounter the same ‘family of four’ classification.

With our family of five, we’ve personally found this frustrating, and I’m sure families with four or more kids agree!

If you have a family larger than the supposed ‘average’ family of four, fear not: you can learn how to travel cheaply with a large family.

Drive instead of fly

Even with soaring gasoline prices, there’s no doubt about it: driving with a large family will be cheaper than flying.

To reduce fuel costs and their impact on the environment, plan road trips that are big on attractions, not miles.

We took a stellar California Highway 1 road trip during which we only drove 2-3 hours per day, and filled the rest of our week’s vacation with sights along the way, historical tours, and state beaches.

Other ways to travel cheaply while driving are that you can pack your cooler with healthy food, snacks and drinks, and save money by not having to eat in restaurants all the time.

Driving instead of flying might limit your possible destinations, but it increases your ability to see, feel, and, in the case of fun road-side diners and farmer’s markets, taste your route.

We find we enjoy the journey more when we’re driving along state highways instead of 10,000 feet in the air.

Traveling with an infant? Read these 12 tips for car travel with a baby.

Find accommodations that fit your family

If you’ve tried to squeeze a family of five or six into a standard hotel room, you know it’s miserable.

And yet, reserving adjoining rooms can sometimes be more expensive than a hotel suite.

Instead, look for vacation home rentals at your destination, even if you’re only staying a night or two.

Our favorite rental home sites include HomeAway and Dwellable.

For longer-term trips, consider a home swap.

Go outdoors!

Camping or national park stays will always be more affordable than city hotel stays, because nearly every campground and park charge their nightly rates and park entrance fee rates by the carload or family, not per person.

Plan a vacation around several national parks with multi-day admittance fees per carload.

Take advantage of free and low-cost programs like Junior Rangers.

Note: National park historical lodges are one of our favorite ways to spend a night in a park, but because these hotels are often older and their rooms are smaller, they are rarely economical for large families.

Instead, consider a state park yurt or cabin stay if you don’t want to camp outdoors.

Look for attractions with family admission rates or family season passes

Some of our favorite wildlife parks, zoos, and children’s museums offer family season passes or annual memberships.

For families of four, the price of one family pass is equivalent to 3-4 visits, but when your family includes 3, 4, or more kids, an annual pass can be cheaper than a single day’s admittance.

Many of these attractions offer reciprocal benefits for museum members for similar types of museums in other parts of the country and world.

Some science museums and children’s museums offer a discount if you show your annual pass from another museum at their admittance desk.

Look online in advance, and remember to pack your membership cards.

Travel during ‘shoulder seasons.’

A ‘shoulder season’ includes the weeks just prior to and after a destination’s peak season.

For instance, a ski resort’s shoulder seasons would be late November-early December and early April.

A beach resort’s shoulder season may be May or September.

Visiting a popular or expensive destination during a shoulder season is more economical.

Save money by going off-peak and save on lodging and airfare.

Hint: This is especially true for a Disney theme park vacation.

We love traveling in the autumn, when the weather is still nice, but the resorts are less crowded… and less expensive.

Note: Resorts are more likely to upgrade families to roomier suites during a shoulder season as well.

After all, they’re likely sitting empty.

You can travel cheaply

With some planning and creativity, you can travel and create wonderful memories for your large family.

Do you have a large family?

What ways have you found how to travel cheaply?

How do you keep vacation costs down for your family of five or more?

Photo credit: Amy Whitley and Mike Baird, peruviaje and channone