The season of summer vacations is upon us, and as many of us pack up our suitcases to head off for some rest and relaxation with the family, juggling everything to make sure travel goes as smooth as possible can be incredibly hectic.
Whether you’re going by plane, train or automobile, here are a few must-dos to make traveling with the little ones less stressful.
- If traveling by road, make sure you get an accurate idea of where rest stops and bathrooms are. We all know when kids have to go, they have to go, and you want to be able to give them an idea of how long it’ll be before the next stop.
- Pack plenty of healthy snacks and drinks so you don’t have to stop at fast food restaurants or convenience stores.
- Audio books are a must, no matter how you’re traveling. They keep the kids occupied, entertained and quiet. This is especially important if you’re traveling publicly, as you don’t want them to disturb others on the plane or train.
- Portable movie players are just as amazing as audio books. When my daughter was small, we’d pack up her knapsack with her favorite DVDs, charge the portable DVD player and hit the road. Not only did it cut down on the, “Are we there yets?” but she often didn’t want to arrive before her movie was finished.
- Mini-games are a great way to keep the kids in the backseat from poking and prodding each other. Hasbro and Milton Bradley have a number of miniature versions of their games you can pack into the car and play with the whole family.
- Kid-friendly music is a fantastic way to get the whole family singing. I know, I know… there are only so many versions of “Wheels on the Bus” a person can stand, but you have to admit, “Wheels on the Bus,” is a lot less annoying than, “Are we there yet?”
- Eye-Spy, license plate and road sign games are an excellent way to educate and entertain. Backseat navigators may even help you find Exit 17 before it’s too late to turn off.
- If you’re traveling at night, dramamine, benadryl or melatonin will help kids relax and catch some zzz’s and avoid icky motion sickness while on the road. Be sure to follow dosing instructions to the letter.
- Don’t forget the wet napkins or baby wipes. Kids can get messy, and no matter where you are, a wet wipe can be a real life saver.
- Mentally prepare yourself. Travel can be taxing on everyone, so going into vacation mentally prepared will help you relax and handle everything that comes your way. Losing your temper when things get stressful is not indicative to a relaxing family vacation.
There are bound to be setbacks, especially when you’re traveling with kids, but entering into your family vacation prepared will definitely alleviate some of the pressure.