We know the idea of South America travel with kids can be intimidating, and you may be asking where to even begin. Rest assured, because, at the end of the day, the family values coursing through this amazing continent translate incredibly well to a family vacation. Travel parties of both multi-generational wisdom and toddler energy keep your private journey vibrant!
We have compiled a list of our top ten tips for traveling with kids to South America. Our expert travel designers are all clued in to the following tricks. But it never hurts to read ahead and get ready for the planning process well in advance of your trip. From the right hotel room, to what to pack, and which activities/tours to ask for, we cover all the bases!
How to travel with kids?
So, without further ado, we will cut right to the chase. These ten travel tips for exploring South America with your little ones will help you relax into your customized itinerary and travel with integrity as a family.
1. Stay in a family room or apartment
We don’t want to sugar coat it – these rooms can often be hard to find on your own. Hotels in South America on the more luxury side (four-star and five-star properties) tend to not allow more than three people to a room, even when it comes to small children. This said, options definitely exist in a range of hotel categories, and our travel experts know which hotels offer them.
This is why it is crucial to ask your travel designer to prioritize this type of room for you and your family during your trip. They will check availability for your specific dates in fabulous family-friendly properties like Las Qolqas Eco Resort in Ollantaytambo, Peru, or the Napo Wildlife Center in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
2. Slow down
It may feel counter-intuitive, but we recommend building at least a small amount of downtime into your itinerary. Of course, it’s important for young children especially, to be on the move and entertained throughout your tailor-made journey. But there’s also a fine line between exciting activity-filled days and travel burnout.
3. Keep safe
In the new normal of travel, the term “safe travels” has taken on a whole new meaning. You can rest assured traveling as a family with Kuoda because we have the World Travel & Tourism Council’s “Safe Travels Stamp.” In addition to booking with an agency that has risen to the occasion in these challenging times, we have the following advice for staying safe on the ground in South America.
When and if you have some downtime built into your itinerary, don’t go out past 9pm. And if you have a late dinner somewhere, always arrange for a safe taxi either through your hotel or restaurant. Never flag down an unknown cab off the street. These safe taxi services are indispensable and paying a little bit more is well worth the added security.
4. Triple-check your packing list
As a family, we recommend sitting down and creating individual packing lists with all of your essential clothing, accessories, and at least one superfluous item per child. This way, they can have something familiar with them throughout the trip, and limiting it to just one thing will keep your collective luggage light.
We suggest making these lists at least 1-2 months before your trip and triple-checking them as a family before actually packing your suitcases. If you can continue to pare them down at each check-in, even better! Having less luggage will uncomplicate the transition moments in your itinerary, moving from one hotel to the next, and it will also contribute to an eco-friendly travel experience.
5. Take healthy snacks
For adult travelers with more sophisticated palates, traveling in South America is a gastronomical wonderland, especially in the superfood haven of Peru. However, for our smaller companions, the options available may be too much to handle, especially in a new environment.
This is why it’s a great idea to bring some healthy and recognizable snacks from home. If luggage space is tight, you can even ask your private guide to help you buy some in the larger cities, where there is a great variety of more familiar snack foods at the chain grocery stores.
6. Determine your preferences
The amazing thing about South America family vacations is that for the most part, if you can dream it, you can do it. Horseback riding, mountain biking, chocolate-making, some of the best star-gazing, kayaking, white water rafting, communing with incredibly diverse wildlife, and traditional arts & crafts are all on the list of possibilities – plus so much more.
For this reason, you must talk extensively with your travel designer about what your preferences are in terms of travel interests. Everyone in the family can have a say about what they would like to see or do, and we can most certainly craft an immersive experience incorporating all of those things.
7. Take a mini test trip
What better excuse to take a mini-road trip to a nearby national park or beach than to prepare for the trip of a lifetime in South America, especially if your children are very young, say 2-3 years old. This is a great way to see what works for them and what doesn’t, in addition to preparing them for what a longer trip might be like.
8. Find “kid-friendly” tours
So, we’ve already mentioned the wealth of possibilities for tours and activities on a curated travel journey to South America. Yet not all of these activities are appropriate for children of all ages. A lot of adventure activities, like mountain biking or white-water rafting, have an age minimum usually around 10-12 years.
But there is a caveat because we understand that sometimes children as young as 5 or 6 start intense bike or ski training and can handle a bit more adventure. You will be able to sign a liability agreement to allow your younger adventurous children to partake in some of these amazing excursions. There are also plenty of “kid-friendly” tours that don’t involve adrenaline at all!
9. Take a lot of pictures
Believe us when we say, you will want to take a lot of photos! A great way to get the whole family involved is taking turns using the camera, and/or phone, so that each day someone else gets to capture exactly what they want to remember. Another fun idea is to then make a photo book from these photos to cherish the memories of those authentic travel experiences together.
10. Expect the unexpected
When we say expect the unexpected, we mean that we want to encourage you to make room for exciting surprises, and new experiences altogether. A mischievous capuchin monkey in the Amazon may steal your water bottle, or you may see a shooting star fly across the surface of the milky way in the Atacama Desert.
Why choose Kuoda for your family vacation to South America
First and foremost, many of our team members in the Cusco office, as well as our private guides and drivers, are parents, and/or grandparents. They have the patience necessary, and then some, to go at your own pace while traveling with kids. They know when to tell exciting stories, bringing Inca legends to life, and also when to take a step back.
Contact us today to start planning for your perfect vacation with the whole family, traveling through some of the world’s most exhilarating, diverse, and welcoming destinations!