Summer vacation will soon be upon us. I hope you can find some helpful tips from a Mom who has done her share of traveling.
Going the Distance with Kids: Family Vacation Tips from a Traveling Mom
It's the little things that pile up on a vacation. You start out with all the excitement while planning but somewhere in between the 10th bathroom break and flying ketchup packets, you realize that something went wrong with your family vacation. Never fear! All family vacations go a little haywire at some point, but getting away is so worth the trouble. You also don't have to be an expert planner or experienced vacationer to have something go wrong. However, you can lessen the effects of chaos and gain a better handle on your kids without going to your angry place. It's all in how you how you travel, pack your stuff and set up your travel kit.
1. Know Before You Go
Purchasing a vacation package seems simple enough. You shop online, find a great deal and bam, you're done. However, did you look at the fine print? What kind of hotel deal are you really getting? Sometimes it’s better to forgo the vacation package. In many cases, you won't really know the hotel that you're paying for until much later, and it may cost you more in the long run. Pick a hotel that's specifically geared towards families. The best hotels offer activities and entertainment areas like kiddie pools, water slides and arcades. You also want to find a hotel that has free breakfast, so you can fuel up before heading out on your getaway adventures. When my family of five decided to visit Hawaii, we knew we were interested in a family friendly resort. After a little research and some advice from other parents, we were able to find the best family friendly hotel in Honolulu for our bunch.
2. Pack It Up
Kids need stuff to keep them occupied, particularly on long drives. If you have movie players set up in your car, then you already have won half the battle. However, you can pack up games and snacks for the car that will make the drive less tedious. For snacks, think about dry goods such as pretzels and trail mix. You also want to keep a few sweets around like gummy bears or cookies as a reward for good traveling behavior.
When packing up your car or preparing for a flight, bring something small yet comfortable to help kids take naps. The ultimate paradise is a car ride with sleeping children. If you pack up blankets, pillows and stuffed animals to help make the ride more comfortable, you'll be a happier traveler indeed. If you’re traveling during the day, think about a sunshade to encourage naptime.
3. Safety First
With all the excitement surrounding vacations, it’s easy to overlook the more mundane aspects of your trip. But safety really is key, especially when traveling with your most precious cargo. Create your own first-aid kit with all the traditional essentials in addition to items geared to your family’s needs. Vacations often call for a great deal of walking, so make sure to bring blister Band-Aids in addition to the traditional kind. You will want plenty of ibuprofen, Benadryl and Tylenol in addition to any other medications your child may need, such as an EpiPen. Make extra copies of your insurance cards in case you take your original one swimming.
Finally, summer vacations invite many opportunities to cool down at the pool or surf the waves at the beach. It’s a great idea to register your children for swimming lessons prior to your trip, to make sure you’re all well versed in water safety.