Summertime is quickly approaching and many of us use this time to travel with family. By planning ahead, getting organized, and remaining flexible, vacation with children can be a fun, memorable experience. Here are some tips to help you plan the best vacation for your family.
- Consider Travel: If you have young children you may want to stick to a location within driving distance. Lengthy plane trips can present quite a challenge for toddlers. If a plane trip is inevitable, try to bring things that will keep your children occupied for long periods of time. Remember that plane travel includes more than just the plane ride—there will usually be plenty of time sitting around the airport as well!
- Consider Destination: Younger children benefit from more interactive activities during vacation to keep them engaged. Zoos, aquariums, splash parks, and hands-on museums are excellent places that can hold the attention of younger children. You may want to hold off on the more adventurous endeavors like hiking, canoeing, snorkeling, and roller coasters until your children are older.
- Consider Accommodation: Remember that almost everything you do on vacation is different from your child’s daily schedule. If you can keep one aspect of the day similar to your home routine, it could help decrease the stress level a bit. For example: Consider staying somewhere with a kitchenette. This eliminates the hassle of going to a new restaurant for each meal. (And might save you money in the end!) Having access to a kitchen works especially well for those families with picky eaters.
- Check into local shops and businesses to see if they offer any classes for children. Sign them up for an hour or two so that you can get a little downtime! If you’re lucky enough to be traveling with another family, take turns watching the children so all parents get some quality time together to relax.
- Don’t overschedule! Obviously you want to get the most out of your time away, but if you pack too much into a short amount of time you may feel rushed and end up with whiny, cranky children. Include some downtime, or low-key activities each day in order to combat the hectic sightseeing schedule. Whenever possible, encourage them to take a nap, even if it takes place in the stroller, on a car ride, or at the beach.
- Finally, plan for the times when you and your child are likely to get most irritable. Many times it happens right before dinner. If you can have an activity planned and ready to go, you might be able to combat the crankiness a bit. Suggest a card game, pop a movie into the DVD player, or have them draw a picture in a journal. Think about what your child enjoys and use that to your advantage!
Traveling with children can be as rewarding as it can be challenging. Use these tips, as well as the tips from the website below, to reduce the challenges and increase the enjoyment.