1. ANALYZE YOUR DEMOGRAPHICS
There’s an ideal age for doing little more than throwing rocks in a lake with your kids. Don’t fight it. Make these your outdoor or theme park or rent-a-villa years. Save the country hopping for when the kids are older.
2. SOLICIT INPUT
Use maps, destination videos and books to get your brood excited. Let the kids make choices: Will it be the dinosaur museum on Day One or the Badlands hike? For help planning your itinerary, AMA members can visit an AMA centre for free maps and TourBooks. Members can also map their route using the new online TripTik. Talk with one of our trusted and experienced travel specialists to help with your family vacation plans.
3. ARRIVE EARLY AT THE AIRPORT
Air Canada’s check-in deadline for domestic travel is now 45 minutes—the same as WestJet. Give yourself enough time to check bags, drop off car seats, change diapers, etc. WestJet allows strollers and car seats for lap-held infants to be checked for free (one piece of child equipment is allotted for older kids). Air Canada allows umbrella strollers to be checked at the gate; other baby gear counts toward your baggage allowance.
4. GET THE CHEAP SEATS (OR DON’T)
Nowadays it’s a gamble if you’ll get seats together. Decide whether you want to pay for those seats—from $20 with WestJet; $26 on Air Canada—or whether you’ll do the onboard shuffle.
5. PACK A PICNIC
If you’re travelling with kids under age two, Canadian Air Transport Security Authority permits unlimited amounts of food and liquids, as well as ice packs. Medicine is also exempt from the 100 mL restriction.
6. BRING INFLIGHT ENTERTAINMENT
For little ones, bring big head phones as inflight ear buds won’t stay put. Pack surprises, snacks or new apps, and dole them out at the first seat kick.
7. OBSERVE THE ONE-THING-A-DAY RULE
Even if they share your love of sightseeing, most kids don’t thrive on a packed schedule. Make it fun for everyone by focusing on one great experience each day. Then, if it’s a café and park in the afternoon, so be it.
8. TAP THE RESOURCES
Many official city websites, from New York to Montreal, have excellent kid-friendly itineraries. Or use an app like Mom Maps to find nearby parks and restaurants (mainly in the U.S.).
9. ENJOY THE RIDE
Whatever meltdowns (by kids or parents), later you may find yourself looking at a holiday photo thinking, “what a great trip.” And wasn’t it?
The AMA Mobile App is the ultimate road trip app. You can book hotels, make your own TripTiks, find AMAReward savings and locate the lowest gas price near you.