Ensure family vacations are hassle-free with these useful travel tips

Family trips don't always play out exactly as planned. Hiccups have certainly happened to the best of us: cancelled flights, lost luggage or even unscheduled trips to an ER. This season, whether you're taking a road trip or jetting off on an international getaway, pack smart, fly right and stay protected to safeguard your vacation from the unexpected.

Follow these family travel tips to help ensure a memorable vacation—for all the right reasons...

1. Prepare and pack smart

    Write a packing list to keep organized and to prevent forgetting important items. Try using an app or Google Docs to keep your list updated for future trips. Make it easy for your kids to choose their clothes for any given day and pack entire outfits in reusable bags or nylon packing cubes; be sure to include hair accessories and jewellery, too. Make as many outfit bags as trip days to save time every morning and cut out decision dilemmas. Pack a travel-only toiletry bag that duplicates items your entire family will use, but remember to replace empty items after you return so it's ready to go for your next trip. Pack snacks for your kids, for road trips and for flights, but avoid high-sugar treats to keep hyperactivity at bay.

    2. Keep kids engaged

    Eye spy is fine in a pinch, but it won't hold up for the long haul. Whether you have kids in tow, tweens or teens, introducing an activity that will last the entire journey is a great way to create lifelong vacation memories—not just Instagram-able moments. Give your older kids a travel journal to document the road trip and encourage them to jot down their thoughts, record interesting facts, places of interest, and funny scenarios. The younger kids can collect mementos along the way for a scrapbook they can create back home; think postcards, tickets, brochures, and anything that makes a fond memory.

    3. Plan pit stops

    Break up long car journeys if you're driving extended distances. Have plenty of pit stops to let kids run off steam, or, if possible, factor in an overnight stay if they're really struggling. Research locations before you set off, and choose suitable places to stop that will provide a few hours of fun. Soft-play centres, open farms, rest areas, parks and gardens are good bets. Be sure to travel with a well-stocked first aid kit in your vehicle for minor cuts and scrapes, sunburn, bee stings, insect bites, and other ailments.

    4. Prepare for the unexpected

      For pure peace of mind, take steps to prepare and protect your family from costly medical bills if the unexpected happens—you or a loved one gets sick or injured. Pre-planning with a travel insurance advisor to discuss what type of coverage fits your needs can save a lot of money and unnecessary worry and aggravation during your trip.

      Consider a BCAA Single Trip Policy or Annual Plan, which provide you flexible coverage. If you only plan to travel once or twice a year, the BCAA Single Trip coverage is the most economical; if your family takes two or more trips within a year, the BCAA Annual Plan is a good bet, which provides coverage all year long. Simply confirm the number of days you'll be away on your longest trip and you'll be covered for all the other ones in between.

      Understandably, when you're making your vacation plans, you want to look for opportunities to save money, not spend more. Seek out plans and services that provide you with opportunities to save, like BCAA's Kids Go Free* option. Your kids—aged 21 and younger—are covered for free when you and your partner purchase travel insurance on a Family Plan.

      These simple family travel tips will help make your next holiday as stress-free as possible, especially knowing you've taken the right steps to be prepared.

      Travel worry-free wherever you go. Whether you’re a frequent flyer or cross-border shopper, stay protected with B.C.’s #1 Travel Insurance. BCAA offers affordable and flexible coverage for a single trip or all year long. Plus, BCAA members save 10%. Buy online in minutes at bcaa.com/travel.

      CREATED BY BCLIVING, IN PARTNERSHIP WITH BCAA TRAVEL INSURANCE

      Travel Insurance is sold through BCAA Insurance Agency Ltd. and is administered by North American Air Travel Insurance Agents Ltd. d.b.a. TuGo, a licensed insurance agent, 11th Floor 6081 No 3. Road, Richmond, BC Canada V6Y 2B2. Travel Insurance is underwritten by Industrial Alliance Pacific Insurance and Financial Services Inc. and certain Lloyd’s Underwriters, severally and not jointly. CAA trademarks owned by, and use is granted by the Canadian Automobile Association. * Dependent children are free on a family policy with two paying adults. Adults must be aged 59 or younger. Policy terms and conditions apply. See bcaa.com/wordings for details.