Summer break is here, which means many families will be traveling with their kiddos! Whether you are taking a big family vacation, or maybe a small weekend trip, being away from home is hard. So, why not make traveling with your kiddos as easy as possible? After years of practice, I have figured out some tips that make traveling a whole lot easier...here are my top 10 tips for traveling with kids..
1. Pack lots of snacks, and take some with you wherever you go. There is nothing worse than the whining of a hangry (hungy + angry = hangry) child. My simple solution is to always have a snack for each kiddo in my bag. You just never know when you are going to get stuck waiting in a long line at a restaurant, and something always happens that delays meals on a vacation. Having a baggie full of goldfish or a granola bar on hand can be a vacation life saver!
2. Pack a cooler with drinks. Chances are that you and your children will be walking a lot or spending more time in the sun doing activities than you normally do. Staying hydrated is a must! I try to keep a small cooler close at hand wherever we go while vacationing. You don't have to pack a huge rolling cooler around with you everywhere you go, but having a small bag with waters or juices will keep you from having a few melt downs, I promise!
3. Take breaks often! I know there seems like soooo much to pack into a vacation, but doing so without taking breaks will mean you are less likely to enjoy all of those activities. Even if your kids don't want to take a break every now and then, make them...they will behave so much better in the long run if they aren't completely worn out!
4. Don't overschedule! Just like I said above, I know there are so many things to see! Instead of trying to see every. single. thing. on the one vacation, enjoy a few things instead and plan to see the other things another time. Overscheduled kids are usually grumpy and don't really get to enjoy themselves to the fullest...trust me on this one... been there, done that!
5. Put the camera down! I'm not telling you not to take any pictures, but come on people! Enjoy yourselves, and don't spend your entire vacation looking through the lense of your camera. Let your kids play and see things without having to pose a gazillion times. They are more likely to have fond memories of your vacation if they aren't aggravated with you for making them pose for a photo every 5 minutes. Save the pics for the really cool things!
6. Have a backup plan in case of inclement weather. I have been on so many vacations where it rained for days...be sure to research the area where you are vacationing ahead of time to see what activities are available in case of rain. Your kids will not be happy staying in a hotel room the entire time.
7. Put sunscreen in every bag. How many times have you left your hotel or condo for an outdoor activity and realized your forgot to grab the sunscreen from your pool bag? Me, like a bazillion times! Now I buy a few travel sized sunscreens to put in our tote bags, my purse, and in the car...just in case! This way your kiddos (and you) are always protected from the sun's rays!
8. Pack alternate activities for down time. I usually bring crayons, coloring and activity books, leggos and a few other indoor activities that will keep the kids busy during indoor down time.
9. Put an I.D. tag on each kid. I always make sure my kids are wearing some sort of identification on their body while we are out of town. I make an I.D. tag for each of them with their name, the name of the hotel or resort we are staying at, and both mine and my husband's names and cell phone numbers just in case they get lost. DO NOT PUT YOUR ROOM NUMBER ON THE I.D. TAG, just in case the tag is dropped.
1o. BE PATIENT! This may be the most important tip ever. Vacations are meant to be enjoyed, and losing your patience is easy. Try to remember that when you get aggravated because the kids won't stop arguing over who gets to press the button on the elevator. Take a deep breath when they are complaining because they don't want to wait in line. Take a deep breath, remember why you are on vacation...which is to enjoy yourself and your family, and be calm. Your kids will react much more calmly if you stay level headed.