Traveling With Kids
Great Planning - Means Great Vacation!
Traveling with Kids - Without Going Crazy
It's that time of year again - Your Family Vacation.
You're now a parent!
You remember your own summer vacations and how special they were.
You got to spend all this time with Mom and Dad finally!!! You remember how hard they worked.
So as a parent you want to ensure your kids have long lasting memories of their family vacation. Time to start your own vacation traditions. It's tough enough just getting thru the day to day stuff, let alone a family vacation away from home!
Traveling with kids provides an extra challenge to trip planning. Here are some great tips for keeping it a worry free vacation and above all fun for everyone!
Involve the kids in the planning so they feel apart of the whole experience.
Obviously their participation will depend on their age and your patience. How about coloring a map of the route and have them follow along. Remember that classic question....Are we there yet???? This can also be very educational...a subtle geography lesson maybe. They can see where they are and where their vacation is taking them this year.
A little anticipation gets the kids geared up for the trip, why not have them reading books or watching movies about where you're going. Helping to find a hotel within a budget or planning which attractions to visit.
Let your kids do their own in the packing. Give them the opportunity to make their own chooses with some subtle guidance. If they're smaller let them choose a favorite toy and book to pop in their suitcase (make sure you have a few extras in your suitcase, for those "can't be without before bedtime items")
The Key is Keeping Them Occupied!!!
There is a great downloadable book with kids travel games called Ultimate Road Trip Games that can literally save the vacation. Print it the night before. There are 140 pages of excellent games to download immediately. How about a license plate game, extreme scavenger hunts or play Vehicle Vulture (it was modelled after Battleship).
Where possible the following items: books, toys, stickers, games, portable DVD and game players, books on tape, should be on your vacation packing list. Don't forget music CDs for the kids to sing to along to. These little tips can make a huge difference on how happy your child is while en route.
Family vacations are about making memories. Why not give your kids son their own disposable camera. It's quite amazing to see the eye of a child thru a camera lense. You never know...this may be the start of a passion for photography. Let them bring out their creative side.
If you're really organized put together an activity bag for each little one. Head over to your nearest Walmart or Dollar store, they always have little trinkets! Make it a surprise for when they start their vacation by car or even boarding the plane.Once you're at your destination, find a way for them to blow off some steam by playing active games or going for a walk on the beach. Physical activity is a great stress reliever for the whole family. (Try seat-bound yoga stretches in cars and planes!)
The Motto for Traveling with Kids - Be Prepared....
Remember extra moistened wipes, extra changes of clothes and extra snacks. Always buy extra drinks once you're through airport security if you're flying. Security rules restrict the amount of liquids you can bring in carry-on luggage., Don't forget extra toys and books, and extra bottle or pacifiers. I'm sure those zip loc recloseable freezer bags will become your new best friend.
Make Lists – And Double Check Them
So maybe "Before Kids" you could pack last minute, not now. If you forget something...no problem...that's what credit cards were for.
But heaven forbid you forget their favorite whatever!!! you'll never hear the end of it. A great tip for a worry free vacation is to pack the day before. This will ensure no last minute "panic packing". Let's start this holiday out right!!!!
Get the kids involved. Have them make their own lists. Have them check off all their items as they pack to ensure they haven't forgotten anything. Again within reason, guidelines and sanity!!!
Traveling with Kids - Their Schedule is Your schedule!
I've heard of families leaving on their family vacation at crazy hours of the day and night. They want to ensure they don't disrupt their kids' schedules where possible. Kids love routine. Welcome to the new world of traveling with kids! When traveling with a toddler or small child, when possible, travel on their schedule; specifically, their sleep schedule. It's well worth it...it's not about you anymore.
A long flight or car journey will be so much easier if you can do it while they're sleeping – usually overnight. Remember you'll be arriving at the destination exhausted.
This may be your best option for a quiet flight or drive and to keep your sanity. Plan for plenty of bathroom breaks or diaper changes, too.
Your Vacation Itinerary - Should Be Geared to What They enjoy!
Family vacation planning will be happier for everyone involved if you choose activities that you know your kids will enjoy. When traveling with kids, I do believe that you and the family should try something you've never done before. Experience something unique. This could be the start of a family tradition each year. Have everyone participate in that decision.
Another unique pastime while traveling with kids is to start a travel journal. Something easy but what great memories your kids will create. Have them write or draw pictures in a simple wire bound sketch pad. If possible do it daily. Journal some of the best things that happened that day! Make sure you date the entries....very cool idea.
You're Traveling with Kids - But It's Your Vacation As Well
You definitely need "adult time" when traveling with kids. When possible, plan on taking advantage of children's programs and babysitting at your destination. Pack the bubble bath and enjoy a relaxing tub once everyone's tucked into bed.
Healthy Snacks for Kids
Moderate the sugar intake, keep kids and adults well hydrated and avoid hunger pangs. Smaller meals or snacks eaten at frequent intervals can work really well.
The Dietitians of Canada insist that "snacking between meals is great for your kids!"Most children don't eat enough at meals to provide them with the nutrients they need. Besides, kids love to snack. This is crucial to traveling with kids.
You may have to restrict fruit and veggies if you're flying internationally. Snack-size portions are a fantastic idea for journeys. Choose crackers, cheese, and basically anything that's not packed with sugar. Save sugary snacks for an occasional treat when a little bribery is required. Remember to indulge yourself with a little chocolate as well...somehow it soothes the soul!
Older kids will want to help themselves. Keep nutritious snacks where they can see them. If the taco chips are at eye level and the carrots are in the bottle of a knapsack, guess what they'll snack on?
Thirst Quenching Ideas - serve the following:
plain or flavored milk
juicy fruits (watermelon, plums, peaches, oranges, cantaloupe)
succulent vegetables like cucumber and cherry tomatoes
Plan for An Emergency
Think about what you'd do if your child said they had a headache, stuffy nose, or tummy ache, if they fell down and hurt themselves, or if they started running a fever. Make up and emergency travel kit. Running out to the nearest drugstore in the middle of the night it not want you want to be doing on vacation.
The best vacation tip when traveling with kids - always carry your own toilet paper and hand sanitizer gel!
It's now time to look at some great family vacation ideas!!!
If you've arrived on this page without reading my Vacation Packing List Page with great tips on getting organized for this years vacation, click here and read on....
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