Family vacations are the best way to make memories to last a lifetime. Unfortunately, they can also bring a lot of stress, noise and mess. Here are 12 simple ways to reduce the chaos of travelling with kids, giving you the vacation you really deserve.
- Be Prepared: This tip covers tons of different scenarios, and it’s definitely the most important. Have your trip planned out carefully, even if you’re usually a pretty spontaneous person, and make sure you’ve prepared for any eventuality.
- Bring Medicine: One of the forms of preparedness that many parents forget is medicine. You probably won’t need to bring your whole cabinet along, but bring a basic first aid kit, pediatric painkillers and a thermometer, just in case one of the little ones seems to be getting sick on the journey. Better safe than sorry. If you’re travelling somewhere a little more tropical, bug spray always comes in handy to keep those nasty critters at bay.
- Keep It Clean: Bring along hand sanitizer, antibacterial wipes, and all of the baby wipes you can get your hands on. You never know what sort of mess you’ll encounter and how hygienic your surroundings might be. This one is especially important if you’re travelling somewhere a little more exotic, or if you’re going to be in contact with animals.
- Bring Entertainment: Although you won’t want to load your suitcases with toys, try to bring along a few beloved toys in your carry on, particularly if you’re facing a long flight or car journey.
- Bring Something New: Be prepared for the chance that this week could be the moment when your child finally gets sick of their old favorite toy. Pack a new toy that they’ve never placed with before and whip it out right as the tantrum is about to start- kids love new things, and you’ll definitely need the distraction.
- Pack Technology: If you’re planning on taking a plane or putting the kids in the backseat for an extended period of time, it can never hurt to have a little technology to distract them. If you have a tablet, load as many kid-friendly apps and games on as possible so they have plenty to keep themselves occupied, reducing boredom and frustration.
- Pack Healthy Snacks: Although it may be tempting to bring along sugary treats to keep the kids happy and off your back, this can lead to a sugar rush and an eventual grouchy crash. Bring healthy, nutritious snacks so that they never go hungry and keep the blood sugar levels as stable as possible.
- Label Them: If you’re going to be travelling somewhere busy or you’re at all concerned about your child wandering off, write your cellphone number, address and contact details on your child’s arm so that they can be identified and you can be located as quickly as possible if they disappear.
- Let Them Choose: Older kids can get a little sullen on family vacations, to encourage them to choose places from the travel guide that they’d like to visit, and give them some say in the itinerary.
10.Be Weather Aware: Pack for a variety of weather circumstances, with options for layering and plenty of rain gear just in case.
11. Get Kiddie Cameras: Grab a few cheap disposable cameras and let the little ones snap away at things that interest them- this will help them focus on where they are and keep them entertained and involved.
12. Leave Yourself Time: Give yourself hours of extra time before you set off to catch your plane, train or bus- this will ensure that no matter what happens, you’ll get where you want to go in the end.