There’s nothing like a good family vacation, but traveling with kids can be stressful! If you’re ready to plan a great family trip with options for everyone, there’s no better place than Lake Tahoe. With skiing, hiking, biking, and a plethora of shopping and entertainment, there’s plenty of things to do around Lake Tahoe for travelers of all ages. To keep things as stress-free as possible, we’ve put together some of our favorite tips for traveling with kids to Lake Tahoe!
1. Plan for “emergencies.”
On top of heavy traffic, bad weather, and airport layovers possibly throwing off your plans, traveling with children may mean you also have naps, meltdowns, potty breaks, and other emergencies. You can plan for these situations by giving yourself plenty of time for various activities, building in buffer time when making reservations, and being ready to adjust plans as needed. Take note of cancellation policies in case plans need to change at the last minute and be sure you’re well-stocked with essentials (like extra diapers or formula). By remaining flexible and planning ahead, these “emergency” situations seem much less stressful.
2. Stick to your child’s routine as much as possible.
As most parents know, when kids (especially infants and toddlers) get overtired or hungry, they tend to get cranky. Consider sticking to their normal routine as much as possible, while still enjoying your vacation. Plan nap times, snacks, meals, and rest in your itinerary. If Lake Tahoe is in a different time zone than you and your family are used to, sometimes it helps to plan ahead and adjust your child’s schedule accordingly to help them better adjust to the new time zone. You may also want to build in some transition time to help everyone get reacclimated when traveling and returning home.
3. Schedule skiing or snowboarding lessons.
If you’re planning to head to Tahoe for skiing or snowboarding with your kids, we recommend booking a lesson (especially if your child is new to the activity). Lessons can be a great family or group activity and help first-time skiers and youngsters feel more comfortable on the slopes. Plus, learning the basics or new techniques will help everyone make the most of their time on the slopes. Generally, kids can start ski lessons as soon as they’re potty trained.
4. Pack plenty of snacks and toys.
Whether you’re stuck in traffic, waiting in line, or your little one gets a little homesick or restless, having some snacks and a few of their favorite toys, books, and stuffed animals can be a great distraction. They can help you avoid meltdowns, which means everyone has more fun on your trip. Plus, you and your kids will likely work up an appetite or need a break while you’re hitting the trails or slopes around Lake Tahoe.
5. Pick a kid-friendly hotel.
There are plenty of hotel options around Tahoe, but some are more suited for families than others. Look for hotels that have kid-friendly amenities, such as large rooms, a swimming pool, and a convenient location near exciting Lake Tahoe destinations like Heavenly Village. (Your kids will love checking out the ice rink, mini golf, and movie theater there.) Did you know Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel was recently ranked one of the top family-friendly resorts in Lake Tahoe by Forbes?
6. Bring plenty of sunscreen and reapply often.
Chances are, you’ll be spending a lot of time outdoors in Lake Tahoe. While sunblock is important for everyone, it’s especially important for youngsters with sensitive skin that’s vulnerable to damaging rays. Be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen and reapply often — even when it’s winter or you’re in a shady area. It’s easier to get burned at Lake Tahoe’s higher altitudes.
7. Look for discounts.
There’s no doubt that traveling as a family can get pricey. Looking for deals and discounts can be a great way to make the most of your vacation. Many restaurants, including Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel, offer Happy Hour specials with free sodas and snacks for kids, Depending on when you’re traveling, you may also be able to snag good deals on flights, ski or snowboard rentals, souvenirs and mementos from your Tahoe trip, and more.
8. Bring extra chargers for electronic devices.
You’ll need your phone, tablet, and camera fully charged to navigate your way around Lake Tahoe and capture all those precious memories and scenic views. (Your kids will love the incredible views from the Heavenly Gondola.) Plus, electronic devices allow access to books, TV shows, games, and movies that keep kids occupied and helps them relax when they’re feeling a little homesick or restless. With that in mind, make sure extra chargers, batteries, and external chargers are on your Lake Tahoe packing list.
9. Save room in your suitcase for souvenirs.
Half the fun of going on vacation as a kid is finding the best souvenirs and mementos to bring back home. With that in mind, be sure to save room in your suitcase for all your goodies. The Shops at Heavenly Village have all sorts of stores kids will love, including the Rock Mountain Chocolate Factory and Village Toys.
10. Involve kids in the planning process.
Vacations are more fun and memorable when your kids are able to share their thoughts, opinions, and ideas as well. Allow them to be a part of the planning process —from picking activities and restaurants to figuring out what to pack. Taking some time to talk about the vacation and browse websites and brochures with them will help get everyone more excited.
Ready to start planning your Tahoe Vacation? We can’t wait to see you and your family!
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