Family Vacations: 5 Tips for Surviving Family Travel in Niagara Falls
If getting prepared to go on a vacation wasn’t stressful enough trying to get the house in order, keeping the workload to a minimum, and arranging for a house and pet sitter, you now have to deal with rounding up all the kids and getting to where you need to be — all while ensuring that the task is stress free. Through trial and error, you will eventually find ways to keep family vacations a success. Here I will share 5 tips to make for smooth, hassle-free family vacations to Niagara Falls.
GIVE YOURSELF LOTS OF TIME
You can’t just leave on a dime like you used to. Gone are the days of spontaneity, and this goes for all ages of kids. Packing for a family vacation requires a lot of planning out and extra luggage. Got a baby? Don’t forget diapers, baby wipes, extra clothes for guaranteed “spillage”, baby food and formula and medicine, a stroller…the list is endless. Toddlers? I made the mistake once of forgetting the pack and play. Unless you plan on running after your child 24/7 with no break whatsoever, this one is huge! Of course if you are taking a flight you won’t be bringing this, so it helps to book with a hotel that has cribs readily available. Definitely use this as a selling feature when booking ahead. If a crib is provided to you, remember to inspect it first. Many are old and structurally unsafe, and others come with bedding– such as folded full-sized sheets– that could present a hazard to your sleeping child.
Packing aside, just getting children dressed, fed and ready to go — without temper tantrums is a feat. Make your family vacation the smoothest transition as possible. Allow time for washroom breaks and don’t forget if your child has a tendency to get motion sickness to bring the Gravol!
Book Ahead and Look Into Family Vacation Packages
Finances can get really tight when budgeting for a family vacation, and if you have babies or toddlers, chances are that this is a time where finances are the most strenuous. I’ve learned that you should never book your vacation more than 4 months out or you will be paying an arm and a leg. Ideally, aim for 8-12 weeks in advance and be flexible on departure and arrival times. Also, I find it helps what days of the week you choose as well. For instance, Monday – Thursday will be cheaper then Friday – Monday. Weekend rates will definitely be higher in cost.
When money is tight, it is important to stay close to the hottest attractions without straying too far from your hotel. Clifton Hill has all the World Class Attractions Within A Block of Niagara Falls!
It doesn’t hurt to sign up for newsletters on hotel chains that you already like, so that you are well informed of any upcoming room deals. There are plenty of hotels in Niagara Falls with great mid-week room deals and family package deals, such as the Niagara Falls Family Fun Package at the Howard Johnson Hotel by the Falls. Stay in the know by signing up for their newsletters, blogs and generally just doing research ahead of time.
Be Prepared for the Climate
Children dressed comfortably for the weather and terrain will be happier. Pretty simple right? But this one tends to get overlooked. Check the Niagara Falls weather forecasts before you leave, and make sure you are all dressed for the environment. Don’t forget hats, gloves, umbrellas and comfortable shoes! It’s these little things that make all the difference between a happy child and a complete meltdown. If you forget to bring these items, your hotel will have a nearby shopping outlet to purchase what you need.
A great bonus to staying close to the Clifton Hill area hotels, is the close proximity to the Canada Trading Company. They have some great kid essentials in there, such as comfortable “Crocs” footwear, umbrellas, hats, gloves, sunglasses, etc. Not to mention, they carry interactive games to keep them occupied in the hotel room. The old adage “Hope for the best but be prepared for the worst” is so true.
Remember to Bring the Tablet/iPad and Download Apps
There are many toddler friendly apps nowadays, and thanks to technology you don’t need to necessarily cram your luggage with toys to make the family vacation enjoyable for everyone. Download movies and games to go, and choose apps for your Smartphones that are very helpful for traveling with babies. For example, “KIDzOUT” is a free apps that is a must-have tool for families on the go. Diaper changing stations, kid-friendly restaurants, parks and medical facilities are listed here for the places that you wish to travel. You can add and rate locations…making it a useful parent-to-parent tool!
Prepack Your Own Snacks
Inevitably the best part about being on vacation is not having to worry about doing any cooking, and you’ll want to dine at different Niagara Falls restaurants anyhow as part of the whole family vacation experience. However, for snacks on the go and to save a little money, pre-pack some healthy, good-for-you foods ahead of time to slash costs and avoid any road trip pit-stops on the way because of hunger pains. Fruits, veggies, granola bars and trail mix are great options. Also, don’t forget about plenty of juice and water that the kids can fill up on between meals — keep them feeling hydrated and fed to reduce the chance of mood swings!
Whether you are planning a family vacation road trip, or via air, these are all helpful tools I found to keeping the peace within the family dynamic, while keeping the cost low and staying prepared.