When planning a trip with children, it can sometimes feel like the less you plan, the better. If you come up with a detailed schedule that you are determined to stick to, you are bound to be disappointed. There is always a moment, for me at least, when I seriously contemplate letting the kids run around said city and letting them stop at anything they deem interesting enough. Which would end up with us eating ice cream approximately eight times in one day, spending 4 hours at the Children’s Museum and splashing around in an old puddle with questionable organisms floating on top.
I will not pretend to have traveling with kids all figured out. I am a believer that it is borderline impossible for travel to be completely stress free. I am simply here to offer some recommendations that have made my travels a little easier, and allowed me to make peace with the fact that I will never do it perfectly.
My #1 Tip?
Pick one-three activities or sights, depending on the length of your trip, that you absolutely want to see and do and pick times for those to happen. Make reservations when necessary and possible, and know that you have a loose structure for your upcoming trip. In the event you have some free time, and no one is crying or hungry, you now have the ability to fill that time in with whatever you please!
You should also allow yourself extra time with everything. When driving, you will have to take bathroom breaks and at certain stops, there will likely be distractions. Be sure that you account for this extra time that you will need. Don’t be disappointed if the trip doesn’t go according to plan. Spontaneous trips can be even more fun, and you might end up trying things that you never expected to discover.
When traveling with kids, you must know what to pack. It is important to not overpack and must haul items around unnecessarily, of course, but you must also pack everything that you need. It is helpful to create packing lists ahead of time and to print two of them out. The first can be for the initial packing, and the second can be for the return trip to make sure that you have everything.
The most important thing to remember to pack is a supply of snacks. When traveling in the car, it is helpful to bring a bag full of snacks to keep everyone energized. It is also important to pack snacks when traveling by plane to keep everyone going through the flight. Be sure that you pack entertainment, bathroom supplies, clothes, first aid supplies, and any items that will be needed during transportation.
If you are going on a trip that requires a flight it can especially be stressful and require a lot more planning. When flying with kids everyone needs especially when you are responsible for several people. Even just going through security can take a lot out of you…and don’t even get me started on delays. I found a list of the least stressful cities to fly to, and now work to ensure if we have a layover or are going to one of these places we make every effort to use these airports. They are more family-friendly than others and go above and beyond in serving their customers.
You know your family better than anyone, so you will know how to optimize your vacations. Just keep these tips in mind when planning your next trip and destination! Bottom line; planning, research and being proactive will always make for a low stress trip. As always, share how you keep vacations with your children as stress free as possible- it truly takes a village!