Traveling with children can become quite a nightmare if the proper precautions are not set in place. Kids need structure, so planning is crucial to a successful trip. Traveling with children can also be an enriching experience. Here are a few hard-learned lessons to absorb before traveling with the kids.
Make sure to pack accordingly. Children require different supplies depending on their age. Consider this factor when packing. For example, do not forget the stroller if traveling with small children. Kids wear out quickly, and a stroller offers a chance for respite in the middle of a long day.
Children also tend to fall asleep at some of the most inopportune times. It would be wise to let them sleep. Vacations are often hectic, and typical daily schedules go out the proverbial window, so try not to stress routine too much.
Schedule flights in sections.
When traveling via airplane, schedule flights in a broken up pattern. Avoid long flights as much as possible. Breaking up the travel time will keep children from getting too bored or restless. Changing flights is an exciting aspect of traveling, and the kids will make long-lasting memories. Be sure to bring the camera!
Bring snacks and entertainment.
Snacks and entertainment are lifesavers on a long trip when kids are involved. A cranky 4-year-old can be quickly silenced by the power of a bowl of Cheerios or a tasty fruit roll-up. Also, a movie or mobile game can offer a vital distraction for anxious children. Sitting through long hours of travel can be maddening for a kid. Give them something to do with their hands.
Do not be afraid to break the rules and the schedule.
When traveling, do not be afraid to break the rules and schedules of everyday life. Have dedicated kid time with no drinking or other adult party behaviors. Bedtimes and healthy diets are left for regular life. Have fun with the kids. Eat pizza, and go to bed after midnight. These are the experiences that build memories and relationships. Do not be so rigid that no one, including the kids, can have an ounce of fun while away from the pressure of the real world.
Plan outings for everyone.
Be careful not to let “plans” drive every aspect of the trip, but allow for everyone to experience an age-appropriate activity. Often, sticking too tightly to a plan can overshadow the fun of visiting a new place. Do not let a schedule kill the family’s joy. If one attraction takes more time than expect, it is not a big deal. Less is more. Keep in mind that the family does not need to see everything in one day… alternatively, even one visit. As long as the kids are happy, live in the moment.