Summer will soon be upon us and for many of us, that means summer vacation. You may be excited for a moment and then remember last year; crying on the plane, meltdown at a restaurant, bored kids. Ugh. That was not fun. We can’t guarantee you a perfect vacation with your children, but if you follow our tips, you and your children can have a happier, easier vacation.
Before the trip
Of course you have planned a wonderful trip with your little ones. You have already called ahead, made plans and reservations, and told your children about the vacation. Before you leave it might be helpful for you to give your little one a small backpack to pack. Froggie Backpack and Lunchie is the perfect size for a child to carry and stuff with a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, a couple books, and whatever else will make their trip more comfortable.
If you are going somewhere unfamiliar, you can start slowly introducing foods that you will encounter, start going to bed a little earlier or later based on the time difference, and telling your child what to expect. Showing your child pictures or videos is a great way to help them get excited about your vacation.
If you plan ahead for everything to take more time than you expect, you will be less frustrated when that happens. When traveling with kids, flexibility and patience are the names of the game. Prepare for plans to change and for things to go wrong.
There are many things about airports and airplanes that can be unnerving and surprising for children. Especially if they haven’t flown before. Flying early in the morning can be helpful because early flights are less likely to be delayed. If you have a long drive to the airport, consider staying in a hotel near the airport the night before. You can actually save money doing that, it can be cheaper than airport parking.
When you buy your tickets, start explaining to your children what flying is like and what to expect. Going through security can be scary, but less so if they know what to expect. You can even practice taking shoes off and putting your child’s backpack on the table for a few seconds.
For the plane, bring a tablet loaded with their favorite movies and games. If your child is in a car seat, you can bring it on the plane. You may want to put your little ones in pullups, even if they are normally staying dry. On a long flight, your kid may fall asleep and have an accident or they may need to go when the seatbelt sign is on.
When taking a long road trip with your kids, it helps to stop frequently. Try to find interesting places along the way to take a break or grab a bite to eat. You may want to pack healthy snacks because these things can be hard to find on the road. Make time to run around a little.
Before you leave, take some time to think of games you can play on the way. There are tons of different driving games that you don’t need anything but your mind to play. This is a great time for learning too. Talk about what you see. Does anything you see surprise them or you? Maybe you can learn a few facts about the areas you will be driving through and share them as you go.
Try to simplify. If you are staying overnight at a hotel, pack one bag with all of the family’s clothes and toothbrushes. That way you can leave the big bags in the car and just take one bag into the road hotel.
As mentioned before, patience and flexibility are vital. As adults you may be used to eating later, but with your child you may want to go out for dinner early. If you have an early dinner, restaurants will be less crowded and you will be able to get in and out faster. This will help you avoid frustration and tantrums.
Try to maintain nap schedules. Vacations are exhausting for adults and for kids. Even if they can’t nap, try to have a rest in the hotel room during their normal nap time. That will usually get them out of the sun during the hottest part of the day and it can be relaxing.
How to enjoy summer vacation with your kids
We hope these tips will help your family have a fun and memorable vacation