Time for a family vacation. These are the memory generating events that you’ll fondly look back on. They can also become the stuff of family legend! Whether you’re flying, cruising or hitting the open road there are several proactive steps you can take to make sure you’re ready to travel with the kids. The goal is to find ways to reduce any potential for stress. You’ll already have your hands full, so don’t add to the situation.
Here are ten ways to ensure you are ready to travel with kids.
Your travels can be broken down into two categories: BK and AK or “Before Kids” and “After Kids.” Before kids, you could be a lot more spontaneous. If you didn’t like the hotel when you landed, then you could easily go across the street for better accommodations. There will be none of that with the kids in tow. Look for places with deals on adjoining suites or special family rates. There is even a separate category that is dedicated to “family friendly hotels.” That’s where you need to start.
Obviously, the weather at your destination is going to be the final determination as to what you should pack. There are plenty of great travel packing hacks like rolling your clothes for more space and diminishing wrinkles or using old shower caps for your shoes. Because of the kids, you should also leave extra room for the things you’re going to pick up on the trip such as T-shirts, hats and other items. You might want to invest in a small rolling suitcase for the young ones. That way they can pack up their own toys and essentials. This will make them feel fully vested in the trip.
Bring Your Own
To make sure you are guaranteed a comfortable stay, you might consider packing your own sheets, towels and pillowcases. Don’t forget that no matter where you’re going, hundreds if not thousands of people have already used those comfort items. If you take the time to research how you can find quality essential items such as towels before you go on your trip, you will feel a lot better knowing you can have some leisurely down time with items from your own home. The same can be said for bringing along your kid’s favorite pillow. That could go a long way to making them feel more at home in a strange place.
Rent Instead of Carrying
The younger the kid, the more compound the travel issues can become. You might need a stroller, playpen, crib, car seat and highchair at your destination. The stroller and the car seat would be easy to manage and check in with baggage. As for the other items, consider renting those on the other side. Many hotels can provide cribs. There are also companies that can drop off rentals of those items to wherever you’re staying. The less you have to lug, the better off you’ll be.
Talk Through the Journey
You don’t just want to wake up one day and tell your child they’re going on a plane ride. Although you’ve might have made a trip like this before, this is going to be a huge event for them. Before the trip, try to introduce the concept of airplanes and flying to them through books and playtime. You also need to prepare them for the potential long lines and the need to sit still for several hours.
Pack for Distractions
Whether you’re traveling by plane or car, boredom is going to be an issue for your kids. Don’t depend on airline entertainment. Instead, try to load up or bring movies the kids can watch on a laptop, mini-player or pad. Let them pick the shows they want to watch even if they’ve already seen them a hundred times! Game apps are another great airplane distraction.
Have Snacks and Drinks at the Ready
For road trips, a mini-cooler stocked with juice, water and fruit is the perfect travel companion. For flights, you also need to be in charge of the snacks and drinks for your kids. In other words, don’t count on the flight attendants. This means allowing for extra time in the terminal to grab some drinks and munchies for the flight.
Allow Extra Time for Everything
Having kids means you have to factor in more time for everything. This is extremely challenging on a vacation when you have to race for a flight or check-out by a certain hour. No matter what you think you need, give yourself an extra half-hour. If you get to the airport super early, then let the kids have a good “run.” It might just get them tired enough to sleep during the flight!
Take a Backseat Ride
If you’re traveling by car, you might want to spend some time in the backseat if your young one is getting especially fussy. A little mommy/daddy time is all it should take to calm them down.
Stick to Your Routines
Not only will you get jet lagged but also so will your young ones. It is important to stick to the same routines you have at home with regard to meal times and sleep times. This might not always be possible but the closer you can get to those routines, the more comfortable everyone will be.
Finally, remember to have fun. This is what your vacation is all about. Don’t lose sight of that!
Kacey Mya Bradley is a lifestyle blogger for “The Drifter Collective.” Throughout her life, she has found excitement in the world around her. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations, cultures, and styles, while communicating these endeavors through her passion for writing and expression. Her love for the world around her is portrayed through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.
The Drifter Collective: An eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us.