5 Tips to Make Traveling with Kids More Fun for Everyone
You’re dedicated to sharing your love of travel with your children, but with every delayed flight and unplanned pitstop, you find yourself questioning that conviction. Because while traveling with kids can be incredibly rewarding, it can also be incredibly stressful. It’s not easy to plan a vacation the whole family will enjoy, let alone keep the peace when everyone’s jet-lagged and stressed out.
That doesn’t mean it’s not worth it, however. There’s nothing quite like seeing your kids experience a new culture for the first time or watching them excitedly recount their adventures to friends. Instead of scrapping the whole family vacation idea the next time you’re stressed out and far from home, use these tips to make family travel easier on everyone.
Involve kids in planning
If kids feel like they’re just tagging along on Mom and Dad’s holiday, they’re less likely to be excited for the trip. Engage your kids in the planning process in age-appropriate ways. Preschoolers and elementary schoolers may help pack and pick out toys to take, while middle and high school-aged kids can research the destination and maybe even choose an activity or two of their own.
Stave off travel boredom
Focusing on the road keeps your mind busy while driving, but for kids in the back seat, long miles on the road can feel endless. Cut down on complaints of boredom by setting up in-car wifi. With an in-car hotspot, your kids can stay busy watching videos and playing games on their tablets. Just remember to set everyone up with headphones so you can keep listening to your own music and podcasts in the front seat.
Pay extra for an easier flight
Flying instead? Spare yourself a stressful travel experience by booking an early morning flight and paying extra to fly direct. Early flights are less likely to be crowded or face delays than flights later in the day, and any parent who has missed a connecting flight with a gaggle of kids in tow can tell you why direct flights are worth it. Other tips for a low-stress flight include wearing clothes that come on and off easily — so no buttons, zippers, or laces — and packing plenty of snacks and water to keep kids content during the flight.
It’s tempting to take everything but the kitchen sink when traveling with kids, but hauling all that luggage is likely to be more trouble than it’s worth. Pack the necessities like car seats and travel strollers, but avoid filling luggage with clothing and bulky entertainment items. You can always do laundry and buy small items while traveling to avoid overloading your luggage.
Book a holiday rental
Don’t stay in a hotel room where you’ll have to be quiet as a mouse after the kids go to bed and supervise your children wherever they go. Holiday home rentals are far more family-friendly than hotels, with separate bedrooms, multiple bathrooms, and the ability to cook your own meals. Instead of living out of suitcases for a week, you can feel like you’re at home — only better.
The worst thing you can do when traveling with kids? Expecting it to be just like the vacations you took before becoming parents. While traveling as a family is special in its own right, it’s not the same as traveling kid-free. Instead of trying to pack everything into one trip and getting frustrated when your itinerary doesn’t go as planned, go into family travel with a relaxed schedule and an open mind. While you might not hit every attraction or avoid every backseat squabble, the memories you create together make the little stresses more than worth it.
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