The thought of traveling with children may stir mixed emotions, but it doesn’t have to be quite as frustrating as you imagine. By following a few tips offered by other parents, you can make the journey more enjoyable for you and the children.
You Don’t Have to Pack Everything
Packing for children can be a headache in itself, especially where younger children and infants are concerned. Fortunately, many things can be purchased while you are traveling without having to break the bank. If you or your children have special dietary needs and you know where you are staying, you can do some research ahead of time, so you know what is available and what food you will need to bring.
Make Plans in Advance
By setting up your accommodations early, you get more flexibility. This will help in booking rooms that will make it easier for you as a parent. For instance, you might want a first-floor room or a room near the swimming pool. If you have a larger family, you can also book neighboring rooms that have a connecting door. Waiting until the last minute usually means you’ll have to take whatever is available, and you may end up paying more because of that.
Be Aware of Flight Times
Many people feel frustrated by the sound of a crying or restless child, but no one can get more stressed by the commotion than the child’s parent. If you are flying, you need to take all of this into consideration. If your child has never flown before, you need to make a plan to help them with that experience. Having a noisy child on a nighttime flight is a bad idea. Try to schedule a flight during a time of day when your child is normally calm so you don’t have to deal with a squirmy child or an overtired one who can’t sleep.
Set Up a Buddy System
If you are traveling with multiple children, you may have a hard time keeping track of all of them, especially if there are more children than adults. To avoid losing a child, set up a buddy system. Younger children should be paired with an older child or adult, and these pairs should stick together. It is easier to find two children than it is to find one child, and if they do get lost, the older child will be more likely to stay calm and find help.
Be Prepared for Emergencies
Any number of things can happen while you are on vacation that you don’t plan on, so you need to be prepared. Make sure you have a first aid kit available at all times. If you are traveling by car or RV, you also need to be prepared for problems on the road. Your kids may get carsick, or you may have car problems. If you are traveling through remote areas, you may end up without cell service for a while, or it may be spotty. To avoid this, you can attach a signal booster to your vehicle to boost reception and extend your battery life.
Especially if they’re young, your children might be frightened or overwhelmed by their first travel experiences. Try to remember that this is a family vacation and that your family should be having fun. It’s okay to change your plans to meet your family’s needs. Focus on the fun things and try to make the things that aren’t as fun into a game. The last thing your child needs is for you to get upset with them for being stressed. This can be a great memory, so just go with the flow.