Traveling with children can be…hard. Not only do they need extra items, but packing your days full of plans might not work out so well if one of them is having a bad day. By planning your trip to be kid-friendly and lowering your expectations, you’ll have a lot more fun.
Road trips can have you pulling your hair out while one child screams and the other one keeps licking the window. The constant “are we there yet” mantra can make even the most evenly keeled parent a little tense behind the wheel. Plan ahead and come up with some games to play along the way. There are many very neat travel-friendly board games with magnetized pieces, or you can play car bingo and find the letter on a license plate! Keeping them entertained will make the time fly by. Also, consider allowing your preteens and teenagers to make a playlist for everyone to jam out to together. Limit the time and commit to hearing their favorites, even if it makes you cringe a little.
Airplanes are another touch-and-go experience with kids. Make sure to pack each one a travel bag with their favorite books, candy, and music. For the toddlers, have a lollipop on hand to help their ears during takeoff and landing. It’s easy to feel judged if your kids are misbehaving, but don’t let it make or break your trip. Please take a deep breath and let it all go. The worst that will happen is someone complains to their friend later on!
Once you’ve reached your destination, make sure you include downtime during each day. Kids are full of energy, but once they get overtired, that 4:30 pm dolphin excursion can be a nightmare. Set them up with a movie so they can relax before you go! Keeping snacks on hand is another great way to ensure you don’t get hangry and fussy kids. A protein bar or bag of chips can make a massive difference if you’re out and about but not ready for lunch or dinner.
Choose your destination wisely. Some popular vacation spots are not kid-friendly, and you want to save those for when you and your spouse need a little time away. Many places offer amenities that your children will love, so check reviews to get a good idea of the different hotels and local fun! Leave some afternoons open to explore the hotel pool or a local tourist attraction.
Above all, be flexible. There’s a time to schedule everything out and a time to roll with the flow. Traveling with children can have you running late for everything and getting frustrated, so take stock of your plans each morning and don’t feel bad if you need to restructure the day. For experiences, you can’t miss or things like airline flights, aim to leave at least a half-hour earlier than you need to, and you give yourself extra time for when your kids start dragging their feet! You’ll feel so much better about it all, and your kids will, too!