Spring breaks for families are a popular time to get away from the winter weather (for us northerners) and break up the monotony of the daily grind.
This year, finding a family-friendly spot that was warm and not Disney was important for us. While we want to do Disney in the future, this year wasn’t a year we were up for the challenge. We still have an 18-month-old “2-foot-tornado” on our hands, and plan to wait until she’s older until we take on the adventures of Disney.
After some weighing of the pros and cons of driving vs flying south, we decided to fly this year and researched some location options. Eventually, we set our sights on West Palm Beach, Florida.
Lots of parents have questions about the logistics of flying with kids…and no wonder, because it isn’t easy! Even if you travel a lot for work, traveling with kids is a whole different ball game. Here are some FAQs I know parents like me wrestle with:
Do kids need passports or ID’s?
Yes, kids need a passport for sure if you are traveling internationally. Otherwise, you may or may not need a copy of their birth certificates for domestic travel. I recommend checking the current guidelines of TSA and your airline. I prefer to bring my kids’ birth certificates just in case, but have never been asked for them.
Something I like to do for safety when traveling is to take a picture of my kids when we get to the airport (or any other busy bustling destination). Heaven forbid they would ever get lost, but if they do, the picture would enable security crews to have an accurate picture of the kids in their outfit of that day. I know we never like to think about such possibilities, but the more we prepare in unfamiliar places, the better!
Should I bring a stroller? If so, what do I do with it on the flight?
I recommend bringing a stroller if you plan to walk farther and/or faster than your baby or child can keep up with. Also, I find it safer to have the little ones in a stroller so that they can’t run away and get lost. If we are flying in or out of large airports, I find it best to use the stroller through the airport and gate-check it. The other option is to check it. If you have a small infant, and only one child, then an infant carrier would be another great alternative to a stroller.
Should I bring a car seat? If so, what do I do with it on the flight?
If you are renting a car or taking an Uber/taxi, then you will need to bring a car seat. If you have an infant-in-arms, you will need to check the car seat. If your child has a seat, then you can either use the seat on the airline if it meets TSA guidelines, or check it. The only time you may not really need a stroller is if you are going straight from the airport via hotel shuttle to the hotel, and not traveling anywhere else without the hotel shuttle.
How can I entertain my kids on the flight?
In-flight entertainment is probably my biggest parental challenge of traveling. I have spent waaaaay too much time prepping this portion of our vacations! If it’s a longer flight, many planes have in-seat movies and games available, with lots of great family and kid options. If you have your own electronic devices that provide movies or games, this is the time to enjoy those. Books & coloring books are great for older children. If your child is too young for screen-time to captivate his/her attention, then hopefully he or she is very young and loves to sleep! If not, then you are probably like me and have a 2-foot-tornado on your hands. If this is the case and you have a baby between 6 months and 24 months in age, then good luck to you! I am not sure how to entertain this age bracket on a flight. The best options I came up with were snacks & small toys, which lasted about 20 minutes! If any readers have some good ideas, please share them with me! I’d love to hear what has worked for you!
Packing list for a beach vacation with kids:
Enjoying the vacation:
The most important part of vacationing with your family is having fun! This is the whole reason you are taking the time, money and energy to get away, so keep things in perspective and try to roll with the punches. I know how stressful it can be to pack for a family, travel somewhere far away, and figure out logistics of somewhere unfamiliar. But it will be well worth it if you can relax and enjoy the ride while making memories with your loved ones! Seeing the joy on my children’s faces was SO worth all of the blood, sweat and tears that came with wrestling those swim floaties into their suitcase!
Where to stay:
There are lots of great places to stay in the Palm Beach area. We ended up staying at two different Marriott resorts, based on our preferences. Both were on Singer Island, and beachfront. The Palm Beach Marriott Singer Island Beach Resort & Spa & Marriott’s Ocean Pointe were awesome locations for families. At the Beach Resort & Spa, there is a pool with a water slide. Ocean Pointe had multiple pools and a splash pad, shuffle board, ping pong, & mini golf. Both hotels had a restaurant onsite, and campfires with s’mores on the beach at night! Rates can be high for beachfront lodging, so keep an eye out for travel deals and book early. Also, keep in mind traveling in January and February can save a lot of money as compared to March and April rates. We were able to do all of the above to save some money.
What to do:
Our family really enjoyed Singer Island. We didn’t feel the need to venture out and do anything other than enjoy the beach and pool, walk to dinner in the evenings, and listen to the free live music that played nightly. We were also able to shop for groceries and avoid incurring costs for breakfast and sometimes lunch during the day. There were a few family-friendly restaurants that we walked to for dinners, all within the same area. The local marina had a great restaurant, as well, and had great views, along with fish swimming next to the dock for the kids to admire.
However, there were several fun activities we could have explored including the Wildlife Sanctuary, Palm Beach Zoo, Sea Turtles, Shopping, & SCUBA to name a few. Check out options here: