Family travel tips

Flytographer’s founder, Nicole Smith, has plenty of experience traveling with her family and shares some reflections inspired by her recent trip to New York City with her teenage son. Here at Flytographer, we are on a mission to get mom back in the family photos. Make your next trip unforgettable with these simple family travel tips! 🌎✈️

From weekend road trips to overseas adventures, family vacations create lifelong memories, strengthen bonds, and spark inspiration. Family trips are certainly different from a romantic getaway or an epic solo adventure but seeing the world through your own child’s eyes brings a special kind of wonder—and even the mishaps make for a great story. 

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  1. Get inspired together
  2. Co-plan with your family members
  3. Choose family-friendly experiences
  4. Bring travel day activities for the littles
  5. Schedule downtime
  6. Relive the magic memories
  7. FAQ

Photo: Kari in New York City for Flytographer. Nicole and family capture memories in New York City with a mother and son photoshoot at the Gapstow Bridge & Skyline.

1. Get inspired together

Traveling as a group can be tricky. Everyone has different ideas about what makes the perfect vacation. If the whole family is involved in the planning stage, you can include experiences everyone will enjoy. 

Involving older kids is important too. Teens have their own priorities for choosing vacation destinations, so early involvement is key for a smooth trip and one of our favourite family travel tips. Technology can help here too, according to Nicole. “We made a ‘shared note’ on our iPhones where we collaborated about places we wanted to see and things we wanted to do,” she says. 📝

When deciding on a destination, consider places everyone will enjoy. American National Parks are great choices for all ages, as young children enjoy the natural playground while older kids can try more adventurous outdoor activities like rafting, climbing, or horseback riding. 🏞️

Photo: Madison in Jackson Hole for Flytographer. Jessica and family capture memories in Grand Teton National Park with a family photoshoot at Outer Park Road.

2. Co-plan with your family members

Once you’ve zeroed in on a destination—whether that’s a long-haul visit to Europe or a road trip in your own state—start planning some fun experiences together to build anticipation.

For younger children, being out of their routine can be stressful, so helping them prepare for the disruption with YouTube videos of your destination is one of our favourite family travel tips. If you’re planning a trip to Disney, for example, check out the Disney Parks YouTube channel and experience the rides virtually in the comfort of your own home. 🎢

“Co-planning with your kids months ahead helps build anticipation that can be just as fun as the experience itself,” says Nicole. “We booked Knicks tickets in November for a March game, and it was so fun watching every game imagining ‘We will be there soon IRL!’” 🏀

Booking accommodation, travel, and events in advance saves a stressful scramble later. Pulling off the highway whenever you get tired is fine on a road trip for two, but with young kids in the back, you’ll always need an answer to “are we nearly there?” so be sure to book places to recharge along the way.

Photo: Sara in Maui for Flytographer. Caramel and family capture memories in Maui with a family photoshoot at Kapalua Ironwoods.

3. Choose family-friendly experiences

When planning travel and accommodation, research fun things to do together. Travel is all about new experiences, so let the kids pick something and step out of your own comfort zone! On her recent trip to New York, Nicole involved her teen in making an itinerary. “We planned which Broadway shows we wanted to see and booked ahead,” she explains. 🎭

Memories are the best souvenir, and shared experiences bring the family closer together. Try a cooking class, family-friendly sightseeing tour, or other activity the whole family will enjoy. Don’t forget to capture beautiful memories with everyone in the frame by finding a local Flytographer! Find out why parents are opting for longer photo sessions rather than shorter with kids in tow. 📸

Photo: Scheherazade in Dubai for Flytographer. Viveta and family capture memories in Dubai with a family photoshoot in the Dubai Desert.

4. Bring travel day activities for the littles

They say the journey is more important than the destination. This may be true of life but when traveling with younger kids, the journey can be pretty rough. Keeping small children quiet and calm on a long flight is a stressful task, but it is doable with some planning and our best family travel tips.

If your baby or toddler sleeps well in the car or a stroller, chances are they will also sleep on the plane. The engines are like a giant white noise machine, and if the child can lie down on your lap, it’s first class all the way. You may want to consider an overnight flight for this reason. ✈️

Little ones have a short attention span, but they are also easily delighted, so bring lots of activities in your carry-on bag and dispense as necessary. Of course, remember to pack plenty of diapers, snacks, and a change of clothes too! Older kids are usually happy with headphones and the entertainment system or iPad.

The biggest problem is what to do with the car seat and stroller. You need the stroller through the airport, but you may be unable to take it on board. The answer is to gate-check rather than give it up at check-in so you have it up to the aircraft door and get it back immediately on landing. Buy a seat for your baby (yes, even if they are under two and can technically travel for free on your lap) and take the car seat on board with you. That way, your car seat won’t get damaged in transit and your infant is safe in case of turbulence during the flight.

One of the perks of traveling with kiddos through an airport is early boarding (ask to board early if they don’t announce it), so you can get settled in before the rush. Bonus: you can often skip the long security line. 

Photo: Jessica K. in Lisbon for Flytographer. Ramneek and family capture memories in Lisbon with a family photoshoot at Miradouro de Sao Pedro de Alcantara & Bairro Alto.

5. Schedule downtime

When planning a once-in-a-lifetime trip, it’s tempting to overschedule, but this will lead to exhaustion and meltdowns. Also, the kids might get cranky. 🙃 The younger the kids, the more downtime you will need. For example, plan an activity in the morning and head back to the hotel room or Airbnb for a nap or pool time in the afternoon. 

It’s also a good idea to find playgrounds. After a couple hours of being quiet and not touching the exhibits, young kids need to cut loose on the monkey bars more than ever. 

Teens and adults also need time to relax, unwind, and take in the experience. Nicole says taking a breather was key to enjoying her trip to New York and is one of her best family travel tips. “We spent time wandering pockets of the city together with no agenda, and that was really fun too. It’s good to build in unscheduled blocks so serendipity can lead you to unexpected things,” she adds.

Photo: Kari in New York City for Flytographer. Nicole and family capture memories in New York City with a family photoshoot at the Gapstow Bridge & Skyline.

6. Relive the magic memories

Family vacations can be a whirlwind of excitement, so make sure you take home some great memories in addition to a few souvenirs! Encourage your kids to keep travel journals—not only is this a great quiet-time activity but it’s also something they can enjoy reading back later. If they’re too young to write, they can draw instead.

Teens and adults have another way to document their travels in a digital diary—social media. For safety, save your posts for your return. And don’t rely on selfies to record your adventures. Studies show that when kids see printed photos of themselves, it boosts their self-esteem, so take the opportunity to capture beautiful family portraits you can be proud of with a Flytographer session. 📸

In addition to taking beautiful pictures, Nicole has another great tip for remembering the good times. “Music is a great intentional way of reliving memories,” she says. “There are certain songs we played before, during, and after the trip that helped bring us back to the memories. Consider a trip playlist to hype you up and to play as you explore the streets together.”

Making a playlist with everyone’s favourite song is a fun trip-planning experience and perfect preparation for long car rides. 🎶

Photo: Kris in Santorini for Flytographer. Shilpa and family capture memories in Santorini with a family photoshoot in Imerovilgi Village.

Frequently asked questions

How do I prepare for a family trip?

By planning together, booking some kid-friendly activities, and not over-scheduling yourselves, preparing for a family trip can be a fun experience. 

Why travel with family is the best way to spend time?

Travel has so many benefits. Sharing new experiences is great for family bonding and creating core memories, while getting away from the routine means less screen time and more family time together.

How to organize family travel?

With your planning in place and everyone excited for the trip, it’s a good idea to keep everything written down in one place—whether that’s in your phone’s calendar, a notes app, a spreadsheet, or an old-fashioned notebook.

Photo: Tracy in Portland, Maine for Flytographer. Kim and family capture memories in Portland with a family photoshoot.

Capture everyone in frame

Too often parents return from a fabulous vacation with one person missing from all the photos. Book a hassle-free local Flytographer to capture beautiful memories on your next getaway to look back on for years to come, with the whole family in the frame. Explore family travel tips from real travellers all around the world with Flytographer’s Travel Tips. Beat the post-vacation blues with something to look forward to—a set of beautiful family photographs for your travel gallery wall, coffee table book, or photo frames. 💫 📸