6 Pro-Tips for Planning a Family Vacation With Kids
by Jenny Silverstone, guest contributor
Planning a family getaway with kids can seem daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little patience, preparation, and creativity you can help avoid tantrums, tears, and headaches and get the most out of your vacation.
Listed below are 6 pro-tips to help reduce the chaos and help you get you through your family vacation with your kids without losing your mind.
Get the kids involved
Don’t just have your kids show up when it’s time to leave. Get them involved in the planning process, and let them help pick out the destination, hotel(s), and parks that you’ll be going to.
It can be hard to please everyone with vacation plans, but it’s likely your kids will become more enthusiastic about the trip once they start to be involved in the planning process and realize all the fun things you can do together. If there’s an activity that they’re not too fond of, they’ll be less likely to be agitated and bored because they’ll know something they like is coming up next.
With the kids being involved from the very beginning, the whole vacation will be more enjoyable for everyone.
Pack lots of snacks
The last thing you need is a “hangry” child. Help avoid emotional meltdowns by keeping everyone’s (that includes mom and dad too!) tummies happy and full.
Pack healthy and simple snacks, like granola bars, fresh fruit, string cheese, veggie straws, and raisins. You could also pack some special snacks, like fruit snacks or even candy, for when you need some extra enticing for good behavior.
Packing food will also help you cut down on travel expenses, so you can stress less about how much money you’re spending.
Avoid the famous and repetitive "Are we there yet?" with a little preparation and creativity.
Whether you’re in the car, in a plane, or just sitting in the hotel room, you can help curb boredom with games, songs, activities, and lots of breaks.
Keep your kids busy throughout the journey with coloring books, travel games, books, toy cars, and the iPad with pre-downloaded educational games and shows. You could also hit up the dollar store before you leave and pack some surprise toys for your kids.
Choosing kid-friendly lodging will also go a long way in warding off the well known “I’m bored.” Search for a hotel with an arcade, playground, themed rooms, and planned activities when you’re planning your trip.
Hotel pools can often be the highlight of the trip for kids, but they can cause anxiety for parents with little ones, so you may want to make sure the pool is fenced in and has a zero-depth entry so you can relax a bit.
Packing light with kids seems nearly impossible, but it can be done!
Minimizing the luggage will save you money, time, and stress, and you can start by ditching the bulky baby gear. Switch out the stroller for a baby carrier, check to see if your hotel has Pack ‘n Plays, or utilize baby gear rental services.
Pack basic clothes that you can easily mix and match to keep them to a minimum. Stay at a place with a washer and dryer if possible, and only pack just enough diapers for a few days. You can always buy more wherever you are.
Plan for weather
Mother nature can always turn on you and set your kid (and you) into a terrible mood. Keep your trip running smoothly by preparing for the climate and bad weather.
If you’re planning a beach excursion, be sure to pack plenty of safe-sunscreen, drinking water, and maybe even a beach tent. A bad sunburn could easily ruin the rest of your vacation.
Pack some emergency ponchos for when you need to brave the elements and be sure to plan some backup days for when outdoor fun is just off the table.
Schedule in some downtime
The time pressures of traveling can quickly get to you and your kids, so be sure to take your time and schedule in some downtime.
You’re gonna have some cranky kids if you’re just in “go go go” mode the whole time. Your kids may have to adapt to a new time zone or different climate, or you may have little kids that still take daily naps, so you may want to be sure to factor that into your schedule.
Vacations are supposed to be restorative after all, so make sure your family has time to rest and recharge so everyone can get the most out of the trip.
Vacations with your kids can be stressful and tiresome, but with a little planning and patience, you can have a successful family vacation filled with lifelong memories.
These 6 tips will help you avoid meltdowns, crashes, and whiny behavior. You’ll be able to bond, explore, and learn about each other’s interests, and pretty soon your whole family will be looking forward to your next trip together!
Jenny Silverstone is the mother of two and a blogger for Mom Loves Best, where she documents her journey through parenthood and writes about her passions for travel, safety, and everything related to keeping her family healthy and spiritually grounded.
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