Family travel is our thing, it’s what we know, it’s how we live. Which means we also know a thing or two about family travel planning ? We’ve been travelling with our girls since they were babies. And over the years we have gathered a lot of family travel resources and family travel inspiration to start planning and preparing our next family trip.
Now the time has come we want to share this information with you!
In this article, we’ll give you everything we know about family travel planning and our favourite resources. Starting from the books, apps, websites and guides we use to our favourite travel gear for kids we take along. And of course, who inspires us for our travels? What are our favourite travel bloggers, vloggers, Instagrammers, …?
We know a lot but not everything. Anything we missed? Let us know in comments!
Let’s dive into it!
Family Travel Planning: Prepare your next family trip
I can’t emphasize it enough: planning and preparation are key! And to me, also part of the fun.
Don’t get me wrong, we have done our fair share of last-minute vacations and spontaneous trips. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t do those anymore! We love impulsive decisions. Especially travelling full time, we had to change our plans a lot.
Read more: 10 essential steps for planning long term travel with kids
However, research is important!! We research for hours on the destination, accommodation, activities (with kids) and gear we should take along with us.
We know how time-consuming research and planning can be, so we’ve done the work for you. In this article, we will share our best family travel planning tips, our top family travel resources and favourite family travel inspiration to use when you plan your next family trip.
Let me get one thing clear. Research does not mean you need to book or buy everything way ahead. You can, but you don’t have to. We almost always do everything last minute, even buying our travel gear. Research means you know your options when you travel to a certain place.
By doing good research, you will save a lot of money!
Read more: The ultimate guide to family travel on a budget
Best Family Travel Books, Guides and Apps to plan your trip
So you’ve decided you are going to travel with your kids. But you have no idea where to start! You have a blank canvas in front of you.
Should you book an organized trip? Or is it possible to plan the family vacation yourself? Let me tell you, it is! We plan everything ourselves. Nothing wrong with booking an organized trip, but don’t think it’s impossible to prepare your own itinerary.
Plan your family trip itinerary
One of the first things we do when we plan our next family trip is to buy a Lonely Planet. Really, these books are like our holy grail. Their one of our favourite family travel resources.
We love their different suggested itineraries, depending on how long your trip will be and which region you want to do. They provide incredible tips on where to stay or go and what activities to plan.
However, what we love most is their honesty. They don’t send you to an area if they think it is not worth it or too crowded. In their books, you can find the best local guides to plan an authentic activity.
Check the Lonely Planet Books on their site or on Amazon.
The one thing Lonely Planet doesn’t provide, however, is specific advice on travelling with kids. If I want to know more about that or itineraries in general, I start searching on Google, Pinterest and through my favourite blogs. More about that in the ‘Family Travel Inspiration’ section of this article.
Read more: 40 family travel blogs to follow
Our Favourite travel books for kids
We love the Lonely Planet Kids series. Travel books, an atlas, animal books, … Our girls are huge fans! Every time we walk into a store, they find another one they’d like.
Together with the National Geographic Kids series, they provide the perfect books and guides to prepare our kids for their next trip or to get them interested in nature and Planet Earth in general. Yuna, our oldest girl wants to be an explorer and these guides keep her busy for hours!
Check the Lonely Planet Kids books on their site or on Amazon.
Check the National Geographic Kids books here.
Best travel apps to plan your trip
Before we leave for a country, we always check the best apps to download for that destination.
For example, in Australia and New Zealand, you really need the WikiCamps app if you’re travelling by campervan or with your tent. Uber won’t help you in South East Asia, there you want Grab or even more local taxi apps. In our article about the 10 best travel apps, we listed our favourite apps we use during our travels.
Read more: 10 best travel apps every traveller should use
Best Family Travel Gear
What is the essential gear every family should pack before leaving on a trip with kids? That is a difficult question. It all depends on your own desires, your destination, type of journey or how old your kids are.
We have been travelling with our kids since they were babies, to more common but also off the beaten track destinations. Over the years we learned a lot about travel gear and what to buy in order to make your vacation comfortable with kids.
Most importantly, don’t overpack!
Oh, and don’t spend lots of money on things you or your kids won’t be using in the end. Trust me, with a few essentials you’ll pack light and everybody will be safe, happy and healthy!
We’ve listed our favourite travel gear for kids below. If you’re planning to travel with a van, we’ve made a list of our camper essentials you really need.
Best Luggage for parents and kids
Choosing the right luggage can make your life so much easier.
We have been travelling by backpack when we were younger and are still huge fans of the old school adventurous backpack. But let’s be honest, this isn’t the most efficient luggage when you travel with kids.
Rolling luggage is key!
Normally, we’ll choose our rolling suitcases by American Tourister. They’re easy to handle, sturdy and very efficient.
But during our first year of full-time travels, I used this hybrid backpack/trolley by Kathamandu. I absolutely love it! Essentially, it’s a trolley but you can easily transform it into a backpack. Easy for those moments when you need to have your hands free to help the kids or when you have to tackle situations where you can’t roll your luggage (such as hopping on and off boats in South East Asia).
When our kids were younger, they only had their own daypack and we would take along all of their luggage as well. Now that they’re a bit older, they love to have their own luggage. It gives them a sense of responsibility, makes them feel as important as we are ?.
Read more: Best luggage for kids of all ages
Packing cubes – the one thing you can’t miss on your family trip
I love our packing cubes!
Mums and dads, if you don’t know these yet, this is what you really need to buy! They made our lives so much easier during our travels! No more ‘taking one item out and the rest of your backpack or suitcase is ruined’. Going for a run? Just grab your T-shirt and legging and off you go.
Our kids learned to use them very quickly. One for the T-shirts, trousers/skirts, underwear, … Packing and unpacking speeded up considerably! If only I had known about them earlier!
We used the Eagle Creek packing cubes and they are amazing! Would definitely recommend them.
Check other packing cubes here. There even are a few packing cubes with fun designs for the kids.
Best Travel gear for babies – toddlers
Our girls are bigger now, but we’ve been travelling with them from the moment they were born. We absolutely believe travel shouldn’t stop when you have a baby or toddler. But it helps a lot to have the right gear. Here are our top products if you want to travel with babies or toddlers.
Travel Tent for Babies and Toddlers: You are going to love this tent! It is very light and compact to travel with (perfect for planes), keeps away the mosquitos and can be used on the beach. We bought our baby travel tent when we travelled for 5 weeks with an RV through the US. We used it everywhere! When there was no extra bed for babies, of course, but also on top of a regular bed to make sure our daughter wouldn’t fall out. Both our kids slept very well in them! Check different baby travel tents here.
Portable Travel Crib: For plane travel, we’d use the baby travel tent, but during our road trips we’d always bring a portable travel crib. They are very compact and so functional. You have your own baby bed with you everywhere and they’re easy to use during the day as a playpen. Check different portable travel cribs here.
Baby Carrier Ergonomic: If only we would have discovered these earlier! For our first daughter, we used to have a baby sling and a normal baby carrier. Only when our second girl was born, we discovered the ergonomic baby carriers. We had a Boba 4G and loved it! We walked with it for hours, our kids in front of us when they were little and on our back as toddlers. They are very compact to take along and a good investment as they work from baby till 4y old toddlers. Check different ergonomic baby carriers here.
Foldable or Inflatable Car Seat: Depending on your destination (especially when you fly), you can have a hard time finding a decent car seat. It is either very expensive or they just don’t have them everywhere around. Enter the foldable or inflatable car seats! The best invention ever! No more worries if you’ll be able to put your kid safely in the car! Check different foldable or inflatable car seats here.
Baby Backpack Hiking: An ergonomic baby carrier is fantastic, but if you’re planning to do long hikes you might want to consider a baby backpack for hiking. We bought a Deuter Kid Comfort Pro and loved it! The amazing thing is it has all kinds of side pockets, which means you don’t need to bring another daypack on your hike. And a top folds out which protects your kid from sun and rain. You can even use it as a chair when you’re eating somewhere. Our girls both loved it. They could see a lot and after a while would fall asleep on the soft cushion. Check different baby backpacks for hiking here.
Best fun travel gifts for kids
Let’s be fair… There is a lot of very useful and practical gear out there you should have when you travel with kids. But your kids also want a few fun things to take along with them don’t you think?
In our article about fun gifts for kids who love to travel, we give some great ideas on what to buy for your children. These products are both fun and useful!
We cover fun stuff for travel days, travel-friendly toys, fun travel-related books for kids, the best cameras for kids, explorer products for little adventurers and the best tablets, headphones, e-readers and boxes for kids.
Read more: The best travel gifts for kids
Our Favourite Family Travel Inspiration
We like to travel, wander around and discover the world around us. And luckily, we are not alone! One of the things we love most is getting inspired by other travel families, their stunning pictures and informative articles. Oh yes, and we love a good cheesy quote too ?.
We use this information to prepare our travels, to dream about other destinations and to get inspired. We’ve listed our favourite family travel inspiration below!
When we are looking for travel inspiration or information, one of the first places we go to is blogs. Mostly we just enter our search words in Google or Pinterest and we find the blog articles we need. But we do have some blogs we keep on returning to for our family travel inspiration.
Read more: our 40 favourite family travel blogs you should follow in 2020.
We’re quite active on Instagram ourselves, sharing our travels and advice with our pictures and videos.
It’s my favourite place at the moment to get inspired to travel! I love beautiful photography and Instagram gives me plenty of that!
Read more: 25 tips to improve your family travel photography
But even more important, it’s an amazing community who is always willing to give advice, or just be there if you need them.
We virtually met a lot of amazing families through our Instagram account, and I hope to meet lots of them in real life in the future. If you want some family travel inspiration yourself, I’ve written an article on my favourite travel families on the gram.
Read more: 50 travel families on Instagram you should follow
Don’t you just love Pinterest?
I use it as an inspiration for everything, from decorating my home to ideas for arts & crafts with the kids. But most of all, I use Pinterest to plan our next family trip.
When I am preparing our travels to a new country, Pinterest is my favourite place to go for family travel inspiration!
Check out and follow our Pinterest for travel tips, family travel, destination advice, photography tips, saving and making money and so much more!
Vlogging and videos are the future! Or actually, it is already the present! We’re just new in the travel vlogs scene (starting our own Youtube Channel), but there are some families out there who’ve been doing it since the very beginning and are huge on Youtube know!
Following families on youtube and watching them, is definitely a great way to connect with them and really get to know who they are. Although I sometimes find it quite time-consuming (that’s why I’ll look at them when I’m commuting or doing household tasks), it’s great to hear their voices and actually see their adventures!
The family that introduced us to family travel vlogging was The Bucket List Family. For a lot of people, they are the ultimate travel family. Although I wouldn’t go that far, I do have to admit I love following their Instagram and Youtube Channel. They made me realise how much value videos give, even if you’d only make them as a memory for yourself. Family travel vlogs are definitely a great family travel inspiration.
From there, we started to discover more families travelling the world and posting videos about it. We’ve written an article on our favourite travel families on YouTube.
Read more: Our favourite family travel vlogs
Inspiring (travel) quotes
Ah, quotes… You either love them or you hate them. We love a good cheesy quote at times and really can get inspired by some! They make me feel good, melancholic, nostalgic, inspired, …
One of our favourites is ‘We must adventure to know where we truly belong‘. It sums up who we are. We found this quote on a market in London, and now it is hanging in our house.
Quotes can make a great caption on Instagram too, we often use them on our Instagram feed.
Do you know the feeling? You read an amazing quote but then when the moment comes and you want to write a catchy caption for Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, you can’t come up with any of them!
That’s why we started to collect our favourite quotes and wrote an article with our 80 best travel quotes, accompanied by images of our travels.
Read more: 80 best travel quotes and images to inspire your wanderlust and 150 road trip captions for Instagram
One of the best places to find some great quotes is Pinterest. We have our own board on inspirational travel quotes, head over there for more inspiration. Also, check our boards on family quotes and song quotes.
I have to be honest and actually only recently discovered the concept of travel podcasts. I know, I’m probably way behind but anyway… I’m all into them now!
They are great for family travel inspiration when you’re planning a trip or dreaming of big adventures with your tribe! And as we’re all very busy, the great thing is you can listen to them while you’re running, commuting, doing household tasks, … A win-win situation I’d say ?! So that’s why we listed our favourite family travel podcasts for you.
Read more: 10 family travel podcasts you should listen to
Of course, there are way more podcasts about travelling in general. Some of our favourites are Travel with Rick Steves, Andy Steves Travel (son of…), Zero To Travel, The Rough Guide To Everywhere and Indie Travel. We’ll definitely write an article soon on those too!
Family Travel Health
Never leave without travel insurance! And if you’re already travelling without, take one now! We hope you’ll never need it, but you’ll be happy to have one if something does happen!
If you only travel short-time, your regular health insurance might cover your travels. Check the terms to make sure how long you can be abroad without losing your right on this insurance.
For long-term travel, or if you travel often, we can recommend World Nomads travel insurance, which is one of the best ones out there for travelling families. Get your free quote here.
In our article on how to prepare yourself for long-term travel, we talk about other health issues such as vaccinations and medication to take along during your travels.
Read more: 10 essential steps for planning long-term travel with kids
Useful Booking Sites for Family Travel
On our resources page, you can find all the sites we use for our general travel planning. Let’s highlight a few of our favourite family travel resources here.
When we look for family accommodations, we almost always look at Booking.com or Airbnb.
For regular hotels or guesthouses, we love Booking.com. They have the easiest search engine for families, where you can clearly select how many children are travelling with you and filter on other preferences you have.
Airbnb is a great website for families, maybe even better than Booking.com in some areas, where you can easily find apartments suitable for travelling with children. We’ve stayed in some amazing locations, where we had a huge apartment with separate bedrooms, a swimming pool and all the amenities we could hope for!
Don’t forget, however, there are other possibilities too. If you want to travel on a budget with your family, you could also housesit, swap houses or stay with a local. We had some great experiences house sitting in Australia and Couchsurfing in Malaysia!
Read more: The 20 best websites for housesitting, house swapping and staying with a local
If we need a flight, we always check Skyscanner first! It’s one of our top family travel resources. If you’re free to choose your destination, we love how you can search from one city to everywhere. This lets you pick the most budget-friendly destination to fly to. Or you ask Skyscanner the prices for an entire month so you can pick the cheapest date.
Another great booking site for plane tickets is Google Flights. I love how flexible the search options are, making sure you get the best deal on Google Flights.
For car hire, we recommend Rentalcars. They compare all the big car rental companies which will save you a lot of time! Besides Rentalcars, Skyscanner offers some great car deals as well. If you want to grab a taxi, you should check out Grab, Uber or other local companies. More about that in our article on the best apps every traveller should have.
Plan your activities and day trips
Beside the Lonely Planet, Tripadvisor is another great source of information to us for planning our daily trips. Although I have to be honest, I don’t always rely on the reviews given there. But Tripadvisor gives a nice overview of the activities possible in a certain destination.
In recent years, Airbnb Experiences has grown a lot. During our recent trips, we have checked their offer regularly. The great thing is you often end up with locals, which certainly adds to the experience. We’ve booked a few activities in Kuala Lumpur and Bali through Airbnb Experiences.
If I actually want to book an established tour or activity, we love to use either Klook, Viator or Get Your Guide. They often offer huge discounts on tours, activities, amusement parks or museum entries. Be sure to check these sites before you buy your ticket at the counter.
Share on Pinterest