Travel Resources

My Favorite Family Travel Resources

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Looking to get started on Family Travel? Here are some of our favorite tool and resources to make family travel seamless!

You might expect to see this page full of travel blogs.

It isn’t.

There are a few blogs mentioned at the end of this post, but most of my travel knowledge has come from trial and error.

I didn’t start exploring the world of blogs until we were on our last trip in Costa Rica, so I might be a few years behind in the blog department. I know there are TONS of amazing travel blogs out there but I am not going to pretend I have used them for travel when I haven’t (yet).

Favorite Travel Apps

TripIt (free) – I love this app for keeping track of my itinerary.

 Our favorite resources for a fun, easy, efficient trip. These things have made our lives SO much better! TripIt makes the list!

TripIt automatically imports my itinerary from my email, including address, confirmation numbers, and everything I need from the reservation and saves it onto a timeline. I love a visual so the timeline feature works really well for my brain.

It manages ALL TYPES of reservations – accommodations, car rental, transportation, activities, restaurants, etc. The information downloads to the phone so that all that information is available offline, which is important when you’re on the plane and traveling internationally.

Trip Doc (free) – I only just found out about this app a few weeks ago so haven’t been able to take FULL advantage yet, but I will update this page when I do.  So far, I HAVE been able to use it to organize places I want to go and make notes of places suggested for me to visit.  I previously used an Evernote folder that kept lists of places recommended to me, but by using this app, they are more organized, easier to find, and are even mapped out!  Without even using the app to its full advantage yet, I am already truly in love with it. Thank you Delicious Baby for creating this!

Our favorite resources for a fun, easy, efficient trip. These things have made our lives SO much better! TripDoc makes the list!
TripDoc lists destinations and where you want to go IN that destination.
 Our favorite resources for a fun, easy, efficient trip. These things have made our lives SO much better! TripAdvisor makes the list!

TripAdvisor – I use the heck out of this website when we travel. As I have mentioned in other posts, I am all about some reviews. I prefer to have my expectations managed as much as I can. TripAdvisor never fails to provide SOME TYPE of restaurant regardless of where we are and no matter how remote we are.

Transportation Resources

Wingz is a rideshare that you can reserve ahead of time and is specifically for the airport and special events.  The ride-share companies where I live don’t offer the option to make a reservation and I don’t have it in me to wait until the last-minute to find a ride to the airport. That just isn’t happening. I have used Wingz several times now without any disappointment; it’s been perfect.

Our favorite resources for a fun, easy, efficient trip. These things have made our lives SO much better! Wingz makes the list!

For quicker lines at the airport, we’ve been using TSA PreCheck. I was just approved for Global Entry, so I am sure you will hear how that goes when we return from Mexico next month.

Resources for Accommodations

Airbnb – our go-to for finding appropriate accommodations. Great deals in some amazing locations.

Our favorite resources for a fun, easy, efficient trip. These things have made our lives SO much better! Airbnb makes the list!Our favorite resources for a fun, easy, efficient trip. These things have made our lives SO much better! HomeAway makes the list!

HomeAway – another app we use to book accommodations. Honestly, I’ve been happier with Airbnb, but that’s just a personal preference that I’m sure varies from person to person. We actually have a house in Colorado that we rent out on HomeAway, so I should probably love it more.

For quicker lines at the airport, we’ve been using TSA PreCheck. I was just approved for Global Entry, so I am sure you will hear how that goes when we return from Mexico next month.

*Travel note about applications like Airbnb and HomeAway – for most people who rent out their homes on these websites, the rental income is part of their livelihood. They depend on positive reviews from travelers like you and me to continue to get paid and provide for their families. Not only do I advocate leaving a positive review, but I am mentioning this to remind you that they are going to treat you with the greatest hospitality because it is important to them that you feel safe in their home and have a great time.

Road Trip ResourcesLooking to get started on Family Travel? Here are some of our favorite tool and resources to make family travel seamless! Waze made the list!

Waze (free) is great for navigation, avoiding traffic, and getting the low-down on what’s ahead. It uses communication among its users to notify you of accidents coming up, police officers, and even vehicles on the shoulder. I will note that it does not take the place of an actual map, so I use both Waze and the map at the same time.

Gas Buddy  (free) helps to keep the cost of traveling down by finding the nearest and cheapest gas stations to fuel up! You’d be surprised at how much the cost varies between gas stations, and the few dollars you save can add up. More savings = more travel!

Looking to get started on Family Travel? Here are some of our favorite tool and resources to make family travel seamless! Gas Buddy made the list!

I don’t have a favorite road-trip tracker app yet, so if you have one that you love, please let me know! I’d really like to have one before our next road trip! 

Please let me know in the comments!

Favorite Travel Blogs, Vlogs & Podcasts

Nigel’s Village is a YouTube channel with great travel advice for traveling with kids. She also has a Facebook and an Instagram where she shares great travel tips as well. After watching her vlogs, I purchased a new, travel-sized sound machine which has been perfect for the baby while we travel.

This new sound machine is very compact and is louder than it looks. The sound machine we use at home in the baby’s room is HUGE and we have had issues fitting in our suitcases in the past. This one is small enough to fit in my purse!

I also bought a Travelpro Maxlite suitcase on her recommendation, which I am about to test out on our trip to Mexico. For ultimate packing efficiency, I bought these packing cubes for the husband, these purple cubes for me and these blue packing cubes for the baby. I chose to buy them in the colors that correlate with their respective colors everywhere else. (I love color coding. My inner Monica Gellar is alive and well.)
*Update 8/15/2015 – Using the packing cubes was amazing. They made packing easier and more organized and they also kept our hotel room much cleaner because no one had to rummage through the suitcase for their belongings. You could simply take your packing cube out of the suitcase to find your things. I also totally forgot to get a picture of how beautiful our packed suitcase looked. Next time. 

Minimalist Moms Podcast – After listening to this episode about traveling with kids, I ended up buying this travel case for toiletries which I am about to test out on our trip to Mexico, but loved it so far on our weekender to Houston. The ladies on the podcast didn’t recommend it, but they recommended this one which led me down a rabbit hole leading me to the one I did end up purchasing.

However, I did purchase these Nalgene leak-proof bottles at The Container Store at the Minimalist Moms recommendation. We’ll see how they work out on our upcoming flight.

*Update 8/15/2017 – Flew to Mexico this past weekend and these bottles officially did not leak on the plane. Success!

Best travel resources for efficient, minimalist, and fun family travel. What are your favorite family travel resources?
Leak-proof Nalgene bottles purchased at The Container Store. They didn’t leak or bust open on the plane. Win!!

If you are looking for a great round-up of family travel blogs, Circle Of Moms has a great list you can find here.

Travel Resources to Stay Healthy on the Road

Mat & Kitchen – might not seem like an obvious resource for travel, but she and her family packed everything into a suitcase and went nomadic for a year. They currently reside in Brooklyn, New York, but they are always on the road and she is ALWAYS traveling so she has TONS of great family travel advice; especially if health is one of your values. I have gotten a lot of practical advice for eating healthy while traveling.

Vitamins – I have a travel version of everything because when I am traveling, I like to keep my routine consistent with my rhythm at home. This means I have a travel blender bottle (12 oz) stored in my suitcase, as well as my vitamin drink stick packs and my electrolytes. This way I have my basic health covered and I don’t have to search for a Gatorade or Pedialyte should the situation arise that we need something like that.

Vacation Deals

My in-laws used Travelzoo to buy the family a trip to an all-inclusive resort in Mexico. They got a great deal and it included airfare. I don’t remember the exact amount, but it came out to less than $500 a person. Again, that was for an all-inclusive and included airfare. (yes, on Spirit, which is the most disliked airline, but it’s still a flight to Mexico!) You can read more about how that trip, and flight, worked out in my post about the Mexico Trip.

We also purchased a great deal for a sushi dinner using Travelzoo.

Family Travel - where to start? What resources and work and which ones don't.
Enjoying her first sushi dinner.

A trip to Thailand for under $900…. not purchased. This close though. Next time.

Groupon is another app that I have used to buy weekend getaways. Long before we were married, we used Groupon to buy a getaway at Vintage Villas; a beautiful boutique hotel in the Texas Hill Country.

More Travel Resources

This post will be updated accordingly to reflect my experiences with the mentioned products and will add to the list as I find new tools to help with the family travel experience.

I found some new apps that I am excited to try out!

Do you have any favorite travel resources I should check out? Please mention them in the comments; I would love to check them out!

xo

EL

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The Family Fun Tour

Author: The Family Fun Tour

Currently living in Austin, Texas. Wife, mom, runner, snowboarder. Love to travel with my family.