Travel tips for Kingstonian families

Jessica’s daughters, Emma and Rose, sit poolside in Cuba.
Photo by Jessica Foley.

Living in Canada means sometimes you’d like to escape the cold winters and head somewhere warm for a few days. At least, that’s what it means for me! And living in Kingston allows for some interesting options when you’re booking your getaway.

I am by no means a travel expert, but we have taken vacations a handful of times with the kids so I feel like I have a little something to share on the subject!

Research yourself, then book with an agent

We always spend time browsing vacations online before we make a choice. Often it’s hard to decide between these beautiful photos and those ones. This is where a travel agent is a huge help.

Using an agent, for us, has rarely cost us more than the price of the vacation we find online.  Occasionally the agents will have more (or more recent) information on a resort or location that will help you make your final decision. They can also recommend chains that are better for families, or singles, or whatever you are specifically looking for.

The best part about booking through an agent is having someone else on board with your plans, and able to help you out if prices drop or something happens in your location before you get there. Their knowledge and expertise may be the key to getting you the vacation you deserve!

(Also I’m a huge fan of the shop local movement – let’s support real people in our town and neighbourhood to promote the local economy!)

Fly out of Montreal

We are about equidistant from Toronto and Montreal – this gives us the unique option of flying from either airport. In all our experiences, the Montreal flights are cheaper, often by over $100. At first, we thought this was because they don’t have March Break there (that was when we flew out there the first time), but subsequent research showed us that’s not necessarily the case. So when you are booking your next vacation with a flight, be sure to compare prices at the airports to help you find the best deal!

Be cautious booking a flight out of Kingston Airport

I have never flown out of Kingston. Almost every story I have ever heard of folks travelling in the winter, and leaving from the Kingston airport, involves no flight leaving from here at all. Cancelled flights, delays that mean the connection no longer works, and last minute bus and train options are often how those stories end.

Our airport is undergoing some transformations, and perhaps that will improve travel in poor weather, but for now I would suggest avoiding flying from Kingston, and instead plan a road trip as the first portion of your travel adventure!

This beautiful view in Cuba looks a heck of a lot warmer than what we see in Kingston during the winter!
Photo by Jessica Foley.

Travel light, but be prepared for anything

We used to travel with only a carryon sized piece of luggage each – which we would check – and a backpack or two for inside the plane. We quickly learned that there is a lot less waiting time at the baggage carousel if you fill just one giant suitcase (be careful of weight). As I’m sure everyone with kids knows: The less time standing around waiting, the better!

When you’re heading to a Caribbean locale, you don’t need a lot of clothes. A few swim suits and 3 or 4 mix and match pieces and you’re done. I routinely over pack, and when my kids were younger I always brought too much stuff for them. Kids really are happy with a beach and 2 shovels, or a pool and a floaty, and maybe some books for bedtime. Don’t over think it! Take two items out before you close your suitcase one last time – trust me.

And of course, as a parent, you know something will be left behind. But you know what? You haven’t fallen off the end of the earth. It’s pretty likely you can find what you need at an airport, or at the resort you’re heading to. I know I’ve bought all kinds of things (and likely paid a pretty penny for them) while travelling, and everything worked out just fine.

Lastly: Enjoy yourself

My kids remember having tons of fun when we went to the Dominican in 2015 (they were seven and three) – and we sent them to the Kid’s Club EVERY DAY! That means I sat around the pool having drinks and reading a book quietly without my kids around. It IS possible! Finding a great resort, with kids entertainment, is key to having a fun family getaway. Booking a flight from a cheaper airport is a bonus as well. Do some research and find a great travel agent, and you too can enjoy a vacation – with your kids!

Jessica’s daughters, Emma and Rose, exploring in the Dominican Republic in 2015.
Photo by Jessica Foley.

Jessica is a busy working mom who enjoys writing, editing, and blogging. She loves raising her family here in Kingston and tries hard to get out to all the amazing events around town.  You can find more of her writing on her blog A Modern Mom’s Life, and see what she gets up to with her family on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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