By Daniel Sherwin of Dadsolo.com
Traveling with kids can be super rewarding but also fairly stressful. From worrying about the safety of your little ones to anticipating the next backseat meltdown, a family trip doesn’t necessarily sound like a relaxing way to spend your time off. But believe it or not, traveling with children doesn’t have to be stressful and exhausting. With some simple planning and the right mindset, you can enjoy your family adventure just as much as your children. Alliance Tutoring shares some tips to keep your next trip fun and memorable while minimizing potential disasters.
No matter how many activities you have planned, you’re bound to encounter lulls in the entertainment. Keep your kids engaged with a variety of games, books, and videos to ward off boredom. If you’re taking a road trip, consider adding a car wifi hotspot to your car so you can enjoy a fast and reliable internet connection anywhere. This will give your kids access to all their favorite games, shows, and music that will keep them entertained during long stretches of open road—just make sure you keep a car charger on hand so all of their devices stay powered up for the duration of your trip. When your children have had enough screen time, break out drawing supplies, coloring books, small toys, memory games, and travel journals.
Traffic or flight delays may prevent you from reaching your destination in time for your family’s next meal. And as you know, hungry kids are cranky kids! Be prepared with an arsenal of snacks to keep your kids satisfied—you’ll also be happy to have something to eat when dinner time rolls around and you’re still stuck at the airport. Some great travel-friendly, healthy snacks include granola bars, dried fruit, trail mix, raw veggies, and single-serving containers of hummus or nut butter. Remember to bring a reusable water bottle for each child to keep everyone hydrated. Try to limit the sugary snacks while you’re on the road. Too many sweet treats will result in a sugar-fueled frenzy followed by grogginess and irritability.
No one likes rummaging through a carload of stuff or dragging multiple pieces of luggage through a crowded airport. Save yourself some stress and encourage everyone in your family to pack light. Use smartphones and tablets to store books, games, maps, and guides, and take advantage of packing cubes to compress and organize clothing items. Keep all your on-the-road essentials in an easy-to-access tote. Stuffed Suitcase recommends giving your kids a sense of responsibility by having them pack and carry their own bags. To cut down on your own packing list, try to plan your outfits around versatile clothing and layers. If you’re a nursing mom, pack clothing made from breathable fabrics that are comfortable, functional and stylish.
There are a lot of good reasons to slow down, and traveling with kids is one of them. Try to limit the number of destinations you squeeze into a single trip. Staying in one location for longer will give you more time to relax, adjust to a new time zone, and enjoy a more local experience. EcoParent recommends leaving a day or two free at the beginning of your trip to give your children time to recover from jet lag.
Everything you plan will take longer than you expect, so give yourself time between scheduled activities and avoid rushing to your next stop. This will help you fully appreciate every moment of your family adventure. During road trips, take the scenic route and make lots of stops at roadside attractions. If you’re flying, schedule long layovers so your kids have time to burn energy between flights and so you won’t have to sprint to make your connection. Remember, you don’t have to return from your trip feeling exhausted!
Traveling with kids can be unpredictable. Lean into this with adaptable travel plans and a flexible mindset, and your trip will take your family to fun places you never imagined. Some of the best travel memories are created by making spontaneous decisions and unplanned detours. Take a deep breath, relax, and remember to enjoy yourself!