Thank you, Zappos for sponsoring this post. The question I get asked most often when it comes to family travel is “How do you do it with SO many kids?” Which is usually followed by, “I struggle with just two.” The truth is traveling with kids isn’t always easy, regardless if you have one child or five, but with as much practice as we have had the past few years we have figured out, mostly by trial & error, a few tips that help make your travel experiences much more enjoyable. So, if you are looking to strengthen your family bonds and avoid meltdowns than you will love my tips for traveling with a big family.
5 Super Helpful Tips For Traveling With A Big Family
1 Pack Comfortable Shoes… SERIOUSLY!
No matter where we travel it seems like we are always doing a ton of walking. The last thing any parent wants to hear when on a vacation is the sound of kids whining because their feet hurt. That is why when we head off on an adventure our kids (and Mike and I) are wearing Blundstones. Blundstones are built to go anywhere, do anything, and look great every step of the way. And, they truly live up to that statement. We hike in them during the day then clean them up and wear them to a fancy dinner. They are versatile, super cute and trendy (David Beckham agrees) and super comfortable on your feet.
The company started back in 1870 in Tasmania and they have been on the forefront of technology and working with the best partners to develop the most comfortable and protective footwear. Their dedication has even been awarded by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) earning them a Seal of Acceptance for products beneficial to foot health. Pretty impressive, right?
Our Favorite Place to Shop for Shoes & More- Zappos!!!
As a mom of five, I do not get a ton of time to shop. Which is why I love shopping at Zappos. I love that I can find my favorite shoes and trendy clothes from brands I love for EVERY member of our family all at one easy to search site. Plus, Zappos has amazing 27/7 customer support and their fast & free shipping with no minimum order is seriously the best! So, whether you want to find the perfect stylish Blundstone Boots for your crew or you need to stock up on next seasons wardrobe Zappos is definitely the place to go.
Ella is wearing the Blundstone Girls BL531
2 Carve Out Time Alone With Each Kid
Kids crave attention and when a child is part of a big family they have to always share their parent’s attention with their siblings. It is difficult enough to do this at home, but for some reason on vacation it seems to magnify and can really cause problems. To avoid jealousy we try to carve out some one-on-one time with at least one parent during the trip. The kids know about their special time in advance and they get to help plan what we do. This allows the jealousy to subside and it is often some of my favorite memories of our trip. *NOTE- the alone time doesn’t need to be time-consuming or expensive. It can be as simple as going on a walk with mom to find some coffee in the morning.
Ella is wearing the BL531, Mama Munchkin is wearing the Blundstone Women’s BL550
Of course, when you have five munchkins like we do you have to put some thought into making sure everyone gets a turn. This is one of the reasons in our family the kids get alone time with either mom or dad.
From Left to right BL565, BL531, BL500, BL062, & BL1463.
3 Squeeze In Time With Your Spouse
Just as important, or maybe even more important, than making sure each of your kids receives some attention you need to make sure you are squeezing in some time with your spouse. Whether you grab a coffee and hit up a local park so you can chat while the kids play or you hire a sitter for the night and escape on a date it is important that you take time to be present with your spouse. From my own experience, I can assure you the vacation is better for the whole family when mom & dad are in sync and happy.
Papa Munchkin (left) is wearing the Blundstone Men’s BL062 and Mama Munchkin is wearing the Blundstone Women’s BL550.
4 Schedule In Downtime
EI am a big supporter of doing your research and making a plan for each day when traveling with kids but it is very important to make sure you do not over-schedule your family. One way we prevent this is to actually pencil is downtime. I often find local parks, shopping areas, and kids museums that allow the kids to, well just be kids. A great way to do this is to ask locals where they hang out with their own kids. When the kids were younger we also made sure to schedule in naps and time to just relax in our hotel. Now that Olivia is 4 we tend to stay out most of the day and take breaks at places like parks and coffee shops. I have also noticed that often it is during the downtime that the kids really come together and bond too!
From left to right- BL1463, BL565, BL500
From left to right BL500, BL062, BL1463
From left to right BL500 & BL1463.
5 Set Reasonable Expectations
Some of the best advice I have ever been given regarding kids and travel is to set reasonable expectations. This was honestly a game changer for our family. Realizing what our kids were truly capable of, how many hours they could honestly handle a walking tour or museum visit (it’s about 3 hours for us), and whether or not it was worthwhile to book fancy dinners saved us a ton of stress and allowed us to enjoy our vacations much more.
Ella is wearing the Blundstone Girls BL531Liv is wearing the Blundstone Girls BL565Shea is wearing the Blundstone Men’s BL1463
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Laura Rike says
Such fantastic advice! My favorite is to know your kids… their limits, their interests, and what will be best for all involved. Traveling doesn’t have to be hard! You just have to be smart about your travel.
Mama Munchkin says
You are absolutely right!
Joanie @ One Dish Kitchen says
Great tips, we have 5 children and although they are (mostly) grown now, I remember how challenging but definitely fun taking trips with them was.
Mama Munchkin says
Thank you, Joanie, it definitely can be challenging at times. But, it is also so rewarding. I bet your kids still recall all those fond memories you created for them.
I love these tips!
Mama Munchkin says
I am so happy you found them helpful!
david litt says
So true. kids are in my opinion can make the trip more fun and at the same time are the biggest worries of the parents.