Taking family trips is great during any season, but summer getaways are always especially refreshing. This is often the only time of year everyone is free, between school and work schedules. Even at this late stage of the summer, there is still time to plan a family excursion! In my experience, when you’re traveling with kids, the issues that come up are always ones I could have easily avoided with a little planning ahead of time. Here are some of the tricks I use to make our family trips enjoyable, and hassle free, for everyone.
1. Make the Destination a Mystery
Make the trip more fun and exciting for the kids! Don’t tell them where you’re going ahead of time, and they will be thrilled to find out their bags are packed and you’re heading out of town! If this seems a bit too adventurous, make it a game and create as much mystery around it as possible. You can build anticipation and keep the kids excited by giving them clues but not revealing the destination. Kids love games, and this will keep them guessing until the last minute. Of course, you want to make sure that it’s a place they will enjoy when they get there so it’s not a letdown!
2. Pack Your Carry-on Strategically
Think carefully about everything you will need for your carry-on, and create a list that will ensure you don’t leave any items behind. The trip will be lengthy, and kids can get very moody if they don’t have certain items nearby. It’s essential to pack a good supply of snacks, diapers, bottles and anything else that your child can’t do without for a few hours. Keep in mind also that flights can be delayed and checked luggage sometimes gets lost, so you may end up depending on your carry-on longer than you anticipated.
3. Choose a Suitable Family Friendly Hotel
Before you make your reservations for a hotel, make sure it’s actually going to be suitable for your needs. There are certain features that make a hotel truly family friendly, and I don’t book until I know these conditions are met. Also, make sure you don’t just take the hotel at face value. I used Gogobot to read user reviews, and was able to find a great list of Orlando hotels that suited my families needs. Look for other features like: does the room have a place that makes it easy to store food and prepare snacks. This means a microwave and a fridge in the room. It makes a big difference, as it allow you to store things like baby bottles, snacks and beverages.
4. Flying With Babies
When flying with a baby, you want to have the most convenient, lightweight accessories you can find. The right baby carrier can make everything go much smoother. Going hand in hand with this is finding one easy to put on and off. Baby backpacks can be useful, but they are better for getting around the airport than for the flight itself. They tend to be clumsy to put on and take off and babies don’t usually sleep very well in them. Ring slings can also be very efficient, as they can serve as baby changer, blanket, breastfeeding cover and sunshade at different times. Test out the different options, and determine which one will be the most comfortable, and suitable, for your needs.
5. Make Traveling Fun
Whether traveling by car or plane, the last thing you want is a cranky child. Avoid this from happening by keeping your children entertained during the traveling. Whether this means a favorite book, a favorite toy, or an electronic device, make sure to pack accordingly. A portable DVD player can be a worthwhile investment, as a few favorite movies are sure to sooth your child. If you are traveling abroad, make sure you research issues of DVD compatibility, which vary from country to country. Also, if you are driving to your destination, consider stopping somewhere fun along the way! This will make the journey much more fun, and it won’t seem as long with a pit stop along the way.
There is still plenty of time to plan a great family vacation this summer. I hope these tips find you well, and that they help guide your vacation in the right direction! Remember, have fun and be safe!
What tips do you have when traveling with kids? Any stories of traveling with kids that need to be shared? We want to hear them! Share in the comments!
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