Family Travel Resources and Planning Tips

Family Travel usually takes a bit more planning and a whole lot more patience, than the trip around Europe or Asia you took in your 20’s to find yourself. From finding good deals on flights, to choosing a destination, or preparing your house and packing. There’s a lot to think about. 

Here you’ll find all our latest resources and tips on family travel planning, budgeting and packing. Plus Family Road Trip & Camping Tips, resources and printables. The fun doesn’t stop here as we are planning on adding more resources over time, and updating as we learn more through our travels. 

Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links. All the links to resources are one’s we either use, or come highly recommended and one’s we would use ourself on our travels. If you click one of the links and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you! See full disclosure and disclaimer policy here.

What you need to know before jetting off on your latest family adventures.

Silhouette of family of five at sunset on the beach, holding a sign that reads family.

Pre-Trip Planning

Can there be anything more stressful than realizing you forgot some key item on your to-do list as you head out the door to the airport? Passport expiring? Housesitter prep? Extra keys for the car for the road trip in case you accidentally lose them?

All our pre-trip planning resources for families are here to help you make organizing before you leave on your trip easier. So all you have to do is relax on vacation ( and ignore the kids arguing every 5 minutes).

Pre-Travel Checklists

Make a list and check it twice. Or let us help you with our comprehensive checklists and articles.

Pre-Travel Family Vacation Considerations

Before planning even starts, there are many things to consider about your next family adventure. Things like can your family afford to take time off work and school and how often you should take a family vacation (uh…as much as you can! Ok reality, stop ruining the fun).

Family Travel Gear

There’s so much to consider when packing up your kids and hitting the road. We have a full page of essential travel gear recommendations we’ve either tried out or would buy ourselves.

Choose a destination

The world is wide, and has so many great options for places to travel. Here are a few amazing places to add to your family travel bucket list:





Book and Save Money on Flights

Use websites like SkyscannerMomondo, and Google Flights and their explore tools. Put in your home airport to see a map of the world with all the flights on it to easily compare multiple destinations, prices and dates of travel. If you have more flexibiilty on dates and destinations, you can often get better deals.

  • Get your flight with Skyscanner – Begin your flight search here. It searches more little booking websites, budget airlines, and routes than others, so gives you a good overview of price options.

Scott’s Cheap Flights

When traveling, transportation costs can be a significant part of your budget.

Sign up free for Scott’s Cheap Flight’s newsletter, if your jump off point is any US airport. As a Canadian, I am super jealous of all the great deals people get (and announce in all the FB travel groups I belong to).

Here’s how it works:

  • Sign up to receive their emails (they have 3 tiers free up to elite – higher the tier the more airports, deals, and classes of seats you’ll get info on).
  • Set which US airports you want deals from.
  • Watch your email for the awesome deals they find, then book your favourite one.
  • Save up to 90% on flights. On average members save up to $550 a flight.

Just think of all the fun activities and fancy umbrella drinks you can buy with those savings across a family!

Join here for free to their limited plan and also have the option of upgrading to a free 14 day trial of their premium or elite membership to see if it’s something that interests you.

Where to find Awesome Lodging

Before booking our lodging for trips, I like to do research into the best places to stay. I ask around to friends and family for their recommendations. Keep an eye out in family travel facebook groups for places that consistently get recommended for my destination. I read reviews on trip advisor and the like.

Once I have an idea of what I’m looking for, then I head over to our go to booking sites:

  • for good deals on hotels, resorts, cottages & other accomodations
  • ​VRBO for family friendly accommodations that have the comforts of home, but without the cleaning!
  • Expedia – Expedia can help you find great deals, the best hotels in unfamiliar locations due to it’s robust search filters & can streamline purchasing insurance. Just be aware of cancellation policies before booking.

Booking directly with a hotel can give you more flexilibility with cancellation policies, changing reservations and other perks if you have rewards cards with a specific hotel chain.

If you travel frequently check out these popular hotel reward options with a global footprint:

  • IHG Hotels – A family and business favourite with over 6000+ hotels and perks like free night stays, guaranteed room availability, and late checkout.
  • Marriott Bonvoy – One of the largest hotel chains (7000+ hotels), so wherever you go there will likely be a Marriott to chose from.
  • Hilton Honors  Popular as it offers hotel choices for all budgets, plus it’s easier to get top tier status and has over 6400+ hotels globally.

Rental Car Resources

Discover Cars – Discover Cars helps you compare car rental deals from many different companies around the world. So that you can get the cheapest rate or choose the best one for your next trip.

Budgeting Tips For Family Travel

Budgeting is the key to a stress free and successful family vacation. Here you will find all our latest posts, printables and tips to help you make the most of your family trip, no matter what your budget or style of travel.

Start your travels off by creating a travel budget with our budget planner printables.

Read our post on where and how to find cheaper tickets online for tours, attractions and experiences.

Grab some expert tips on making family road trips or your summer travels more affordable and fun.

More ways to make budgeting fun and save money:

Packing Lists & Tips For Family Travel

Packing, you either love it, or hate it. Personally I love packing as it means I will soon be going on an adventure. Now unpacking is a whole other matter!

Either way, you’ve come to the right place if you are looking for some checklists, tips and hacks to make packing easier for your next journey. 

Travel Activities Ideas for Kids

One of the most dread sentences a parent can hear only 1 hour into your much anticipated family vacation: “Mom / Dad I’m bored.” It’s a good idea to have some fun age appropriate activities up your sleeve to make those long travel days, and vacation down times more manageable.

Coloring & Activities for Kids

Coloring, and Activity Books are calming and easy activities for kids of all ages to enjoy.

Kids Travel Activities & Journals – Printable

Family Road Trip Tips, Planning and Resources

Dreaming of an open road, wind blowing in your hair, kids peacefully keeping themselves entertained in the back seat? One can hope right. We have some essential road trip tips and planning resources to help make your family vacation & road trip prep more successful. We can’t guarantee your kids won’t fight in the back seat, but we can help you make things easier.

Don’t forget all your Family Road Trip Essentials. We’ve put together our favourites list to help you and your kids survive those long stretches on the road.

Road Trippers App

No matter where the road takes you, we highly recommend you download the Road Trippers App for planning out routes in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. They even estimate the cost of gas for your trip, which is a such a bonus.

  1. The free version offers basic perks such as planning itineraries up to 7 stops per trip, trip guides and map features. The free version would be great for short weekend trips close to home.
  2. The Plus Plan ups the services considerably with an ad free experience, and a very reasonable yearly price. Try the Plus version FREE for 30 Days. The plus plan gives you the ability to add 150 stops per trip, view live traffic conditions and to collaborate with friends and family. If you plan on road tripping a lot, or have a week long trip or longer in mind, the Pro version would give you a lot more flexibility. One trip pays for itself.

Essential Road Trip Planning Bundle – Printable

Go on your perfect adventure with the Complete Road Trip Planner Bundle. We’ve created a printable bundle of resources that contain everything you need to easily plan your dream road trip. We update our printables regularly, so you get free access to the updates.

Plan your route and budget (save money with frugal road trip tips) and create daily meal and trip plans, while  checking off all the important must dos  with packing lists, pre-trip checklists and vehicle preparation checklists. Create delicious road trip meals, and have the best meal tips at your finger tips. 

Get easily organized, so you can focus on what’s important, having FUN with your family!

Family Road Trip Meal Planning

Prevent hangry travel companions and save money on food costs with a family road trip meal plan. Not to mention less stops to buy food and snacks along the way, equals healthier food and more time at places you really want to be. We like to save up our road trip food money to splurge on our dinners and fun and unique places along the way.

Once you’ve had a look at our Road trip meal ideas and easy to pack snack ideas, head on over to our favourite healthy road trip snack recipes to fill up on.

Road Trip Activities for Kids and Adults

You definitely want to make sure the kids (and difficult adults) are entertained for those long stretches of roads. We are working on some printable road trip activity packs for kids, so check back soon.

Road trip activities to keep the family entertained:

Family Road Trip Destination Tips and Guides

Who has time to spend days researching a family road trip destination? To spend hours looking for all the best things to do, where to stay, and all secret tips?

Our family road trip destination guides and itineraries will give you all the tips you need to start your vacation off right, with wayyyyy less effort if you did it all yourself.

Here are some of our top articles for the USA and its National Parks:

  • Zion National Park, Utah, USA: Detailed Zion National Park Guide on where to stay, not to miss activities, 5 sample one day itineraries and all the park details you need to know, before you go.

Here are some of our top articles for fun places to road trip to in Canada:

  • Victoria, BC, Canada: Home of flowers, beaches, and mild year round weather. Victoria is my home town, so check out an insiders recommendations for the top free and cheap things to do (because you really don’t have to spend a lot of money to enjoy all Victoria has to offer). Plus our top 5 Favourite Parks, it was hard to choose just five.
  • Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada: Niagara Falls likely needs no introduction, but the Canada side is generally considered the side with better views and amenities (sorry US). Regardless of which side you visit (both have fun options), be sure to check out How to Plan a Trip to Niagara Falls.

Camping Tips, Planning and Resources

Camping with kids can be so much fun, but oh so much work. Planning is the key to an easy, fun and successful family camping trip. You’ll want to make sure you do some campground research, plan out your meals, and activities and have a packing list so you don’t forget important items.

Get the Ultimate Camping Planner to make planning your next family vacation easy & enjoyable.

Camping Meal Ideas

Quick, easy and make ahead camping meals that kids love, don’t have to be a magical unicorn.

Camping with Kids Tips & Ideas

Packed for Life 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,

Scroll to Top