President of Delta Vacations Shares Tips When Traveling With Kids

USA News

  • Kama Winters has traveled extensively, personally and professionally.
  • She says that parents can think outside the box when it comes to traveling with kids.
  • This is Winters’ story, as told to Kelly Burch.

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Kama Winters. It has been edited for length and clarity.

Someone once told me you don’t take vacations with kids, you take trips. I understand what they were talking about — traveling with kids can be a lot of work. But I believe it can be fulfilling, meaningful and yes, even relaxing, too. 

As the president of Delta Vacations, I work to make travel as effortless as possible. I can’t help your pack your bags, promise your child won’t cry on the plane, or make jet lag disappear, but I can share what I’ve learned about traveling with children. 

The hardest part can be figuring out where to go

You decide you want to get away, but where? The whole world is at your fingertips, but all of that choice can be overwhelming. There are so many reviews online, that you can read every possible angle, good or bad. 

And yet, those reviews won’t give you the right answer for your family. Instead, think about what you want out of this vacation, whether that’s relaxation or cultural immersion. Think about the challenges for your family — like traveling with a stroller or dealing with poor sleepers. Then, pick the trip that feels most appropriate for your specific needs. 

Balance routine and novelty

One of the great parts of travel is broadening your horizons and exploring new things. But that can be overwhelming even for adults, and especially for kids. So, when I plan a family trip I balance activities and environments that my kids are familiar with while making sure there are one or two new activities each day. 

If you are going to a beach destination, yes, sign the whole family up for snorkeling, but also make sure there’s plenty of time for kids to just play in the sand if that’s what they love. Booking in plenty of downtimes, even on busy vacations like Disney, will keep everyone in a good mood. 

Listen to the kids’ feedback

After a trip, I love to sit back and listen when my kids — who are 8 and 11 — talk about where they went. Oftentimes, the things that stand out to kids aren’t the same things we notice as adults. And still, these small memories are what they come back to again and again, and what establishes their love of travel. So, take note of what they enjoy — for my kids, it’s cooking new cuisine — and integrate more of that into your next trip. 

Kids are more resilient than we think

Many parents are wary of travel, especially long flights because they worry about how the kids will fare. And yet, kids can handle more than we give them credit for. If your little one does pitch a fit on the plane, rest assured that there are lots of understanding adults around. Many of us are parents of young kids or were once, and we’re happy to lend a hand or offer a smile of support. 

Europe is a kid-friendly destination

This winter I’ll be taking my kids to Amsterdam. Next year we’re headed to Italy, and I’m already considering Greece in the future. Lots of parents think about taking a European vacation without their kids, but Europe is a great family-friendly destination. Kids can see first-hand the historic sites they’re learning about in school, visit museums, and try new food. Even the train ride between destinations can be an event for children.

Remembering the simple pleasures like that can make traveling with kids much more manageable. 

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