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How to Plan & Organize Summer Travel With Kids

By Carolyn | April 28, 2021

Summer vacation season is approaching, which means it’s time to start planning that perfect family trip. Quality time with family and the ability to recharge and relax is what summer vacations are all about. What better way to reset?

That said, to make the most of your summer travel, it’s important to plan ahead. While traveling solo or road tripping with a significant other or a longtime friend may not be too challenging, kids represent the ultimate wild card when confined to a car, plane, or train for extended periods of time. 

Let’s dig into three of our favorite strategies to ensure stress-free, fun travel with the whole family this summer. 

  1. Expect Speed Bumps

OK, so maybe this isn’t the most positive way to start, but this is one of the most underrated tips for smooth travel. A trip will never go 100 percent smoothly. Accepting and understanding this ahead of time will reduce stress along the way. 

This story from summarizes this idea perfectly: 

“Our son really did leave his iPhone in a Barcelona taxi. It was the first day of a 13-day trip in Spain. We were getting to our first hotel, and our son didn’t notice until well after the taxi had pulled away.

“This led to a bit of misery and complaining from him throughout the rest of the trip, but since we didn’t even know what taxi company we’d used, we had to accept the loss and move on.” 

A lost iPhone is a bummer, but rather than spending the entire vacation worrying about it or trying to track down the taxi, the family moved on and enjoyed the rest of the trip as much as possible. Worry about what you can control. That’s all you can do, and that’s totally OK! 

  1. Time is precious 

Have you ever sprinted (or jogged) through an airport to make it to your gate on time? It’s a terrible feeling, right? Now, imagine doing that with kids. 

Yikes. While you may not be traveling by plane this summer, keep that feeling and experience in mind as you do prep for your trip. Every minute helps, and you cannot really have too much time. This also ties into point No. 1: Things will go wrong. When they do, it’s better to have that time buffer to sort it out. 

Apply this principle across your trip. Don’t jam-pack your days to the point that everything will need to run like clockwork to make it all happen. Give yourself plenty of wiggle room and use it! If you find yourself with extra time during the day, consider that a blessing then make your next move from there. 

Building in extra time for your trip will also prove vital for snack stops, restroom breaks, or sightseeing along the way. 

  1. Set the stage

Like No. 1 on this list, setting the stage is an often overlooked but incredibly important step for any family trip. 

Where are you going exactly? Why are you going there? What will you do once you get there? What can you look forward to along the way? 

The more your child understands ahead of time, the better they will be able to handle any unexpected turns along the way. Better yet, a fun and desired destination might just give them the fuel to tackle the trip with enthusiasm rather than with a grumble. 

Unless you’re making a short trip that you want to be a surprise, explaining everything ahead of time can greatly reduce stress for the whole family. 

How do you minimize stress and improve efficiency when you travel with your family? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks. Send me an email at and we’ll chat about it! 

Carolyn Haney, Cofounder and President of Haney Home Concierge

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