Waiting For the Tide to Come In! (Image courtesy of Pixabay)
For some parents, the thought of traveling with their children brings forth images of temper tantrums, missed exchanges, and tears of frustration.
Your vacation doesn’t have to leave you more drained at the end than when you started. With a little smart planning and some clever tools, your trip can be easier and more fun for the entire family.
Our guest blogger, Daniel Sherwin, has just what you need for your next trip!
Make it Easy . . . Plan Ahead
Starting your planning and preparations early can greatly simplify your vacation. One recommendation is to avoid overbooking your trip. Allow plenty of time to reach each destination. Remember, dirty diapers, skinned knees, or “hangry” happens, and if luggage is late -- or you find yourself stuck in traffic -- you’re setting yourself up for trouble with a tight schedule.
If you find getting your trip properly lined up is an unwieldy proposition, HuffPost suggests connecting with a travel agent, or you can book with a property like the Mill House Inn which serves as your in-house travel agent or, as they call themselves at MHI, your Personal Assistants. They know the area best and are onsite to help. You can pass your details and desires on to a pro and alleviate some stress right off the bat!
Get Everyone Excited!
Parents.com recommends involving the whole family with planning your itinerary. You can let each family member choose an activity for your trip -- but make sure you follow through! Having something of their own to look forward to will mean everyone is enthusiastic. However, don’t fall victim to catering to your kids’ every whim.
For instance, your children may think a fast-food restaurant with a built-in playground is perfect for every meal. You can do that sometimes, but make sure to take them to places you want to eat as well. Get them excited about exploring something new, to think like a local. Going outside their comfort zone will also help foster cooperation and self-control.
Sylvia Muller of the Mill House Inn recently shared some of her favorite activities for kids of all ages in the Hamptons. Check out her recent blog post Four Days in the Life of a Kid.
Pack in Advance and Make a List
Packing can sometimes seem like a major undertaking when you’re trying to prep the whole family. You should aim to have everything ready at least a full day before your departure. Your Modern Family suggests making a packing list for each family member.
Try to have items like clothing laid out a full week in advance, and save the last day’s packing for things like charging cords and favorite toys. You should let your kids weigh-in on what they are taking, too, even if it’s just selecting a single clothing item. Giving them ownership helps generate excitement, your kids will be happy to know their special “something” is coming along.
You should also plan for things that can make your life easier. For instance, a small travel crib can greatly increase the ability to travel when you have little ones.
Well-designed travel cribs are portable, lightweight, and easy to use. They fold up nicely into a carrying case (with handles), perfect for transporting them to and fro. A portable crib also assures you that your baby will have a clean, comfortable place to sleep at the end of a long day.
Be Ready for the Slow Times
If you have any lengthy layovers or expect to endure hours in a car or plane, travel games can ease boredom and make time and miles fly by. For quiet entertainment, you can find free printable travel games for kids. Everything from connect-the-dots to word searches are available.
Another idea is old-fashioned, interactive road trip games like Rock, Paper, Scissors or a traditional spelling bee. For older kids (and even adults!), there are some entertaining apps that can help lighten dull hours of transit.
Whether you opt for ebooks, trivia, music, or movies, they’ll keep things moving when time might otherwise stand still.
Create a Few Special Memories
Instead of picturing the whole trip as one warm-and-fuzzy moment after another, remember that skinned knees and stained shirts are part of your memory making too. Laugh with your children and make the most of times when things don’t go as planned.
Hiccups happen. If you need to skip something you wanted to take in, aim for including it next time and savor the time with your family instead of getting upset about what tourist attractions you miss.
Make it Your Best Ever Vacation
Your next family vacation can be your best ever. Plan well, do something for everyone, and make smart choices. With these simple tips, you can enjoy every moment!
From personal experience, I believe it is never too early to gift your children the travel bug. I started travelling to Europe around age 4 and quickly learned not to be afraid of any adventure!