Family vacations are perfect for bonding with your children and making lifetime memories. However, scheduling a vacation may leave you a little worried. There’s a lot of planning and packing to take care of beforehand, and then there are long hours of travel to deal with. It’s worth the work, though. Here are seven travel tips for your family.
- Pick a Place for Everyone
Your vacation will be much more fun if you choose a spot everyone can enjoy. Hiking Mount Everest may have to wait until the kids are older, but there are plenty of destinations that you can enjoy together. A high-energy family who loves to stay on the go may appreciate a theme park or a trip to a big city. A beach vacation can be more laid-back and relaxing. If you have a mixed bag of energy levels, perhaps a ski lodge is a great choice — you can spend the day on the slopes or relax by the fireplace.
If your children are old enough, ask them what they want to do. Present some feasible choices and tell them the pros and cons of each destination. Maybe a big city would be exciting, for example, but it would mean a long flight. A remote beach would be relaxing, but some family members may get bored. Try to compromise and find a place where there’s something everyone can enjoy.
- Book Ahead
Traveling with children involves a lot of surprises along the way: unexpected bathroom trips, lost stuffed animals or even illnesses. Plan as much of your vacation as you can. Shop for cruise deals that are all-inclusive, book your hotel rooms before you arrive, or make reservations at that trendy theme-park restaurant. You don’t need to add avoidable surprises to your itinerary; a little planning goes a long way toward making your vacation smoother.
- Consider Longer Layovers
At first, having a long layover may sound like a bad idea. It just leaves you with more time to keep travel-weary children busy, right? However, a few hours between flights can ensure extra time. You can stop for a meal, go to the bathroom, walk through the gift shops to stretch your legs, and simply know you won’t need to run to the gate for your next flight.
- Pack Extra Gear for Babies and Toddlers
It probably goes without saying, but small children make messes quickly and easily. Drinks spill, bathroom breaks can be few and far between, and mud puddles are irresistible. Pack extra clothing for your little ones unless you can access a washing machine on the trip. Extra diapers can save you from trying to find a store on your journey.
- Make a First-Aid Kit
Hopefully, everyone will stay healthy on your vacation. There are no guarantees, though. Pack a kit with a thermometer, children’s medication, ear drops, saline nose spray and other items kids need when they’re sick. Be sure to stock up on bandages, antibiotic cream and cleansing wipes if someone skins a knee. Your kit should definitely include any prescription medication your family takes.
- Bring Headphones
A set of headphones or earbuds can be a lifesaver when traveling. Your child can play games or watch shows on a tablet or phone without disturbing those around them. Bring some for yourself so that you can enjoy a show if the kids fall asleep and you want some downtime.
- Don’t Overbook Your Agenda
While scheduling the most important activities is good, it’s also essential not to pack your itinerary with unlimited plans. You may need more time to get from one destination to the other. Someone may need an extra bathroom break or a short nap, and you may all benefit from a little breathing room in your day. Everyone can appreciate a little wiggle room in the schedule.
Family vacations create lifetime memories. Don’t be afraid to get out there with your children — just do some planning so that everyone can enjoy the trip.