Planning a family getaway can be exciting. Thinking about all the memories that will be made is why we want to travel in the first place. However, traveling with kids can also lead to anxiety. Children will be children and unpredictable situations can be expected. If you start thinking about all the things that can go wrong, it will take the fun out of the vacation. Here are some tips and tricks to take the stress out of family travel so you can have fun and create lasting fond memories of your time together.
Everything takes longer with kids. Trying to rush through airports or car trips will do nothing but heighten your anxiety. Give yourself extra time and slow everything down. It will pay off when you arrive calm, cool and collected. If you are traveling by air, opt for a longer layover instead of having to rush directly onto the flight.
Things will happen. Bad weather, flight delays, flat tires, etc., there’s nothing you can do about certain things that happen when traveling. Losing your cool can ruin your day set the tone for the rest of the trip. Relax and laugh it off. Whatever the situation, enjoy the time together as a family.
A happy child can turn into a miserable kid in the blink of an eye if they get hungry. There isn’t always a perfect point to stop and get a bite at an establishment whenever their appetite goes from 0 to 60, so snacks are important to keep handy at all times. Hint: pack extra because adults in your travel party can get cranky too.
You never know when your child will barf and if you aren’t prepared, it can turn those travel days upside down. Always travel with some paper towels, pre-moistened wipes and some gallon zipper bags. It’s also wise to keep extra clothes and shoes handy too because, let’s face it, vomit tends to spew everywhere and no one wants to be smelling that smell for the rest of the travel day.
It’s probably wise to invest in a GPS tracking device that you can attach to your child’s wrist or bag and follow along on an app. If nothing else, it’s worth the peace of mind it will give you.
Young kids want to play. Sometimes parents forget this and schedule too many activities that may bore young kids and sour their moods. Look for accommodations that have a playground and/or pool and give them time to be a kid. Also, it’s a good idea to keep games on hand for those long travel times to keep them preoccupied and having fun.
For one thing, you can save a lot of money by eating in. Another great advantage is that you can prepare the food you know your children will eat. Kids can easily turn up their nose on menu items they aren’t familiar with, which can add stress to dining out. A third benefit is that your family can eat healthier when preparing the food yourself.
Keeping their shows and games ready to go on your mobile devices will help your child get through those long travel days or times when bad weather keeps you inside your hotel room. Remember to pack separate headphones for every child too.
If anyone in your family takes prescription medicine, make sure to pack it first, preferably in its original packaging. If the original packaging isn’t available, take a copy of the prescription with you, just in case you are stopped at a border crossing or your luggage is searched. Nothing will dampen a vacation faster than someone feeling bad, especially children. Keep some over-the-counter medicine on hand for motion sickness, headaches, upset stomachs and allergies handy.
A new toy or book will grab a child’s attention faster than something they are familiar with and can keep them occupied for hours. It doesn’t have to be something elaborate or expensive, just something that is new and exciting.
This applies mainly to younger children but routines are very important, especially those that center around going to bed. Do you read every night to your child? Make sure you continue to read every night when traveling as well. Not only will your child sleep better but they will feel safer and more comfortable by staying in a particular routine on the road.
Keeping these tips in mind when traveling with children will help your child remain happy and feeling comfortable. It will also take some of the stress and anxiety out of traveling with kids so everyone can concentrate on having fun and making memories that will last a lifetime.