What Parents Need To Know About Traveling With Kids
Approximately 35 percent of Americans take a family vacations that is 50-plus miles away from home — perhaps even two or three times a year versus one. While road trips are still king, many families are broadening their horizons by embarking on an international trip, escorted tour or cruise. While taking a holiday with the fam is a fun summer pastime, there’s not doubt that traveling with kids can be stressful. But with a little careful planning, you can organize a trip that won’t have you wishing you were back at home.
Research Your Destination
Don’t blindly choose a destination based on a recommendation or travel television show alone. Only you know what activities, accommodations, restaurants, etc., your kids will easily adapt to. Also, you don’t want to wind up at a place where the only thing to do is head to the casino or a college bar. Consider local attractions, how to get around, where you’ll stay and how you’ll get there — driving, flying, or booking a train.
Consider A Vacation Rental
Hotels can be expensive — especially if you need to book a suite or connecting rooms to accommodate your family. Consider renting a vacation home instead. For less cost, you’ll have more space. This is important so you can prevent everyone getting on each other’s nerves. Access to a kitchen can also save you some cash as you can prepare some of your meals instead of going to a restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It’s also a great way to prevent vacation pounds as you can ensure that you and your family are eating healthfully.
Prepare Meals And Snacks
Eating on the road can be tough as the majority of the options are unhealthy or unsatisfying (think a packaged sandwich at the gas station), so prepare easy meals and snacks that can be easily accessed from a cooler in the car. Some ideas include wrap sandwiches, hummus or peanut butter and whole grain crackers, chopped fruits and veggies, string cheese and plenty of water.
Pack An Activity Bag
A bored kid is a cranky kid, so make sure you pack an age-appropriate activity bag to keep them amused during transport, as well as at the destination during your downtime. Simple ideas include activity and coloring books, magazines, lightweight travel games and a deck of cards. Depending on how you feel about electronics (you don’t want everyone to be in their own world on a family vacation), consider adding an iPad customized with some educational games and television shows — not just blockbuster movies. Music is also a good idea to help keep kids of all ages amused
Baby On Board
Traveling with an infant can be challenging, so invest in a small, portable crib to increase the ability to travel with ease. The crib breaks down into a size that can easily be stowed away in a small carrying case with handles. These cribs will you bring you peace of mind that your baby has a clean place to sleep in a hotel room or home while visiting with relatives and friends.
If you’re flying with a baby, make sure you plan your seat ahead of time. Try to be as close to the front as possible as there’s more noise and vibrations in the back. Bulkhead rows allow for the added convenience of an attached bassinet if you don’t want to hold your infant on your lap the entire time — or you can buy a ticket for your child and bring a safety seat.
Be sure to pack enough supplies to handle everything from illness to diaper changes to a pacifier to protect tender ears due to cabin pressure changes. Lastly, be respectful of other individuals on the plane if your baby goes into a crying session. Apologize and make an effort to handle the situation the best way that you can.
There’s liable to be a hiccup or two on any vacation, but don’t let that ruin your fun. Research, plan and prepare before your voyage, and you — and your kids — will be less stressed. Remember, you’ll all be back to work and school before you know it, so enjoy!