All families deserve a break from their daily routines once in while. Whether your family enjoys relaxing at the beach or chooses to stay a in woodland cabin, vacationing as a family can create fond memories that will last a lifetime. Even if you and your family love visiting and learning about new places, though, sometimes travelling together can be stressful, especially if you are not used to spending so much time together.
Some advance planning prior to your trip can help keep young children from becoming cranky and exhausted when your vacation itinerary is full. Frequent breaks should be included in your travel schedule. The younger your kids are, the more stops they will need to visit the bathroom and have snacks or drinks.
When you are vacationing as a family, it is also a good idea for everyone who is on the trip to have some input into the attractions and things to do included in your schedule. Adults also need to be prepared to alter or give up plans for certain activities if their children become tired, sick or stressed, or if an activity that looks more interesting becomes available. Perhaps more than anything, the ability to be flexible is imperative in order to keep everyone smiling and having fun.
If you are thinking of taking a family vacation this year, below are some tips to keep in mind to help your trip go as smoothly as possible.
Gather Information on Activities and Restaurants Before You Go
If your family will be vacationing in a new place, it is smart to do some research ahead of time so that you will have some activities planned that your kids can look forward to. Purchasing tickets to popular attractions ahead of time is also a good idea in order to make sure that you can go on the day you want to.
Researching travel destinations is easy and can be done on a number of travel websites, as well as by looking through a travel guide book. In general, it is a good idea to have more things to do planned than you will have time for. That way, if a place you want to visit is closed on the day you go you will have other options.
Parents should also look for a couple of local restaurants that are welcoming of families with children that also serve foods that your kids will want to eat.
Make Sure to Bring Contact Information for Your Kids’ Doctors
In the event that one of your kids becomes ill, has an allergic reaction, or gets hurt on vacation and needs medical child care, it is a good idea to always carry contact information for your kids’ doctors with you. You should also carry a list of any medications your kids take. This is even more important if one of your children has allergies or other known health problems.
Limit or Eliminate Online Access
Kids tend to spend a great deal of time on smartphones, tablets and laptops, either hanging out on social media sites or communicating with their friends. While your family is on vacation, though, it is a good idea to limit the time your kids spend online, or even eliminate screen time altogether.
If your kids are spending too much time online, they will not be engaged in the activities you are doing on vacation, with you or with each other.
If you are worried about one of your kids becoming separated from you and not being able to get in touch, allowing them to carry his or her phone while it is turned off can be a good option.
Comfort While Travelling is Important
Whether you’re driving your own car or choose to rent a car, the success of your trip can depend on you and your kids being comfortable while travelling. Make sure the car you are using is large enough so that you can bring everything you need with you, especially if you are renting. Depending on the time of year you are travelling, things like air conditioning and heated seats can be lifesavers.
Always Have Healthy Snacks and Drinks on Hand
In order to maintain their energy and prevent dehydration, some kids will need to eat a snack and drink water every few hours, much more often than most adults. Healthy snacks that travel well include apples, bananas, nuts, granola bars, cheese sticks and sliced carrots. Plain water and low sugar juices will keep the whole family hydrated.