Like any trip, traveling with children can be difficult if you are not prepared. Washington DC is a busy metropolitan area that has lots of tourist attractions but is also a busy city with hazards and pitfalls galore. Check out these tips for traveling to Washington DC with kids to make your next trip a smooth success!
Be Prepared…No, Be OVERLY Prepared
Nothing is worse than getting to your hotel room and realizing that you don’t have Mr. I Can’t Sleep Without Him Bear or Ms. Holy Cow I’m Going to Throw a Total Fit Blanket. Your child will be a nightmare without the things that they are attached to. Instead of fighting them when packing, make as many concessions as you can feasibly fit into the suitcase. Let them bring their favorite toys or blankets or games. If it will make them happy during their small amounts of down time, it’s a must, make room in that suitcase. Also, make sure you bring along extras of things that typically get dirty really quickly. If you have a messy eater, pack some extra shirts and that type of thing. They will be less stressed and so will you if you can just throw on another shirt and deal with the ketchup stain later!
A lot of the sightseeing you can do in Washington DC is nearby and walking tours are a great way to see the sights on a budget. The last thing you want to do is end up dehydrated or have a dehydrated little one. Pack their favorite juice or pick some up along the way if you are flying and make sure you drink plenty of fluids as well. Extra snacks are never a bad idea to keep everyone satisfied between meals and it can also save you a costly stop at some tourist trap food location or gift shop when your kiddos want snacks and you don’t have any in the bag!
Book as many of your tours and restaurants ahead of time as possible. Not only will this keep you on a schedule it will also ensure that you don’t show up for things only to have to change plans at the last second due to long lines or rebooked tours. Kids are not going to want to wait patiently as you try and yelp search for a family friendly food spot nearby and they definitely are not going to be happy when you say “Sorry the Spy museum is really busy today so we’re going to do something else”. Traveling with kids successfully is all about being prepared for those moments so make sure you book as much as possible in advance to help keep yourself sane!
Find a Happy Medium
I don’t necessarily mean go find someone to talk to the spirits on your behalf, I mean balance is key. If you want to know the best tip for traveling to Washington DC with kids here it is: the happy medium is where you want to live. It is tempting to try and hit all of the great and historic monuments and museums but when you are traveling with kids you have to find a balance of fun and learning. There are plenty of fun things to do in DC that are affordable and exciting that will also teach them something (on the down low) and mixing these things in with the historic landmarks and museums will ensure that everyone has fun on their trip and also learns something!
No matter how well you plan there will always be a mishap, a snafu, someone is going to lose a shoe. The best advice for any trip with the kids is to be flexible and let it roll. Use these tips to help make your trip a success but remember that as long as you are all spending time together and having fun then you trip is a success…even if someone really does lose one of their shoes.