If you follow us on Instagram (and if you don’t, you should start today!) you’ll have seen us share photos from one of our favorite traveling families: Jessica and Garrett Gee of The Bucket List Family.
Nearly two years ago, Jessica and Garrett decided to sell almost everything they owned and travel the world with their two kids, Dorothy and Manilla (both under four years old).
To say that these parents know a thing or two about effective family travel would be an understatement.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Jessica and Garrett at a lovely dinner hosted by Airbnb here in New York City, and they shared some of their top tips for traveling with kids:
1. Pack melatonin gummy treats so kids can sleep on the plane
What kid doesn’t love a gummy treat? I had known previously that melatonin is a great natural sleep aid, but I had no idea they made them in gummy form. If you’re taking a red-eye or long flight with your kids, pack a few of these to help them nap.
2. Dress the family in a similar color palette
If you want better family vacation pictures, here’s one trick you might not have considered before: only pack clothes that fit in a limited color palette. Before you leave, decide on the two or three colors everyone will wear, and limit your wardrobe choices to items that fit the bill. Blue and white is great for a nautical feel. Black, white and grey is always a good choice for city vacations. And if you’re going for a tropical vibe, try tangerine and pastel green.
3. Check geolocation tags on Instagram for activity ideas
Don’t rely solely on guidebooks or review sites when it comes to planning your itinerary. One of the most useful functions of Instagram is the ability to search by geolocation. As Jenna Wortham recently recommended in The New York Times: “Looking at the raw feed of geotagged posts offers a graphic map in real time, which you can comb through to make your own guidebook.”
4. Keep some consistency in your daily routines
When traveling, it’s tempting to slide into “treat yo self” mode and throw out all aspects of your family’s usual daily routines. After all, you’re on vacation, right? But there are serious health benefits to maintaining some of the habits you have at home, especially if your family does a lot of traveling.
Jessica and Garrett are able to stay in shape on the road by making it a point to work out every single day, no matter where they are in the world. They also try to cook their own meals as often as they can, instead of eating at restaurants all the time. Booking Airbnb homes that have kitchens instead of staying at hotels helps tremendously with this.
5. Unpack right away to feel at home
Don’t be that family living out of a suitcase all trip long! As soon as you get to your destination, unpack right away. This will help you feel settled and ready to explore your new surroundings. Need more convincing? Here are 9 more reasons to get into the habit of unpacking your luggage as soon as you arrive at your destination.
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5 Bonus Tips From Airbnb’s Co-Founder
I also had the pleasure of meeting Airbnb co-founder Nathan Blecharczyk at this event. He’s a father of one, with another on the way and is a serious Airbnb power user. He and his family have stayed at hundreds of Airbnb homes over the years, and he even rents out his own San Francisco home on the platform!
Here were his tips for how families can get the most out of their Airbnb experience:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask hosts for what you want
“Be upfront and specific on your needs when it comes to booking an Airbnb. I ask the host for specific needs for my family—washer/dryer, a crib—to ensure a hassle-free stay and to maintain some normalcy. And don’t forget to use the family-friendly search option—70% of our homes globally and 66% of our U.S. homes are family friendly.”
2. Be creative in your searches
“Airbnb offers all kinds of accommodations—treehouses, castles, private islands, urban farms, beach rentals and much more.”
3. Tap into your host’s knowledge of the area
“Instead of trolling through review sites, ask your host for local recommendations—from restaurants or where to get the freshest produce to cook your own meals, playgrounds, or even babysitters!”
4. Unpack as soon as you arrive
“I consider each Airbnb I visit to be my home for the time I’m there and like to feel like I’m not living out of a suitcase.”
5. Help other families by reviewing your Airbnb experience
“Families can get to know their host by filtering through detailed profiles and confirmed reviews, ensuring safety and satisfaction.”
About Carmen Sognonvi
Carmen Sognonvi is a luxury family travel content creator at Top Flight Family, named a top 10 family travel Instagram account by Time Out New York and Brit + Co. Her insights on travel have been featured in The Washington Post, INSIDER, Huffington Post, Wanderlust Travel Magazine, TravelPulse, HOTELS Magazine, and more. Carmen firmly believes that you can (and should) travel with your kids from a young age. She offers families practical solutions for travel, as well as tips on how to travel in luxury for less. She lives in New York City with her multiracial and multicultural family of four. Follow her on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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