If you’re looking to branch out from your typical vacation spots to check out a major metropolitan area, you may be second-guessing your decision if you have kids in tow.
Between keeping your kids entertained to navigating a big city, there’s undoubtedly some stress involved when you want to find a balance between exploring somewhere new and not going crazy in the process.
Don’t give up your big city travel dreams just yet. With the right preparation and planning, you can take your family anywhere from the Big Apple to the City of Angels and every major metro area in-between when you keep these five travel tips in the back of your mind.
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Let Someone Else Take the Wheel
Whether it’s worrying about parking, dealing with traffic, or simply the price tag that comes with renting a car, getting from Point A to Point B is huge stress when traveling in a big city.
Thankfully, major metro areas often have reasonable public transportation systems (think: the DC Metro or the London Underground). Additionally, ride-sharing services such as Lyft are all the rage right now and allow you to get around the city at a fraction of the price of a taxi. In fact, you can score hidden promo codes for Lyft and similar ride-sharing platforms, which keep even more money in your pocket as you travel the city stress-free.
Book Major Attractions in Advance
Perhaps this is a no-brainer, but snagging tickets and bookings for famous attractions is an absolute must-do. If you’re taking in a “must-see” attraction such as touring the Eiffel Tower or Statue of Liberty, advanced booking can save you hours in line. The less time you’re stuck in the line, the more time you get to spend having fun as a family.
When in doubt, take a minimalist approach to pack when visiting a big city. When you pack too much, you inevitably end up worrying about timing while going through often-crowded airports. It’s also much easier to lose track of your belongings in the hustle-and-bustle of the big city: by having less on hand, you can worry less as well.
Scout Your Foodie Spots Beforehand
Never “wing it” in terms of your food options in a big city. Strive to do at least some research beforehand regarding restaurants in the area where you’ll be staying. After all, most big cities such as Chicago and New York City are known for their respective cuisines. Reading reviews and recommendations before your trip can keep you from getting stuck at chain restaurants day after day.
Opt for the Off-Season
The calendar makes a huge difference in terms of how crowded any given tourist hotspot will be. Staying away from the summer and holiday months can likewise save you money and ensure that there are fewer fellow tourists out and about. Considering that crowds can make or break your trip in terms of what you can do and how long you spend at any given attraction, the off-season is often worthwhile in the grand scheme of things.
Heading out on vacation with your family doesn’t have to be a headache, nor should it be. With these tips in the back of your mind, you can enjoy a stress-free trip that focuses on actually having fun.