Travelling with children can be almost more hassle than it’s worth. Sure, you’d love to get away from home for a bit, both for your own sake, and to show your kids a great time on vacation. But from packing, to travelling, to enjoying your destination, the vacation process is simply different with children involved. Still, it can be perfectly manageable, and you and your spouse can still get plenty of enjoyment and relaxation out of a trip with your kids. Here a few five tips for simplifying holiday time with the family.
1. Prepare Your Kids
Particularly for young children, travel can be a bit of a shock. Adults love changing up the routine and soaking up the culture and atmosphere of a new environment – but for kids, these aspects of vacation can be stressful and upsetting. Instead of simply telling your kids about a trip, take some time preparing them for what it will be like – what foods they might be eating, what entertainment might be available, etc. This might just make your children more comfortable travelling, which makes for a smoother vacation.
2. Pack Light
For some parents planning vacations, there is a temptation to dash to Marks and Spencer to load up on new clothes, new bags, etc. And, of course, sometimes a bit of shopping is necessary. But where your kids are concerned, pack light. For most vacations, kids only need a few outfits and basic necessities, and if any great need arises you can usually meet it shopping on your trip. Packing light gives you and your kids less to keep track of.
3. Avoid Crowds
Another common temptation is to travel to crowded beaches or large resorts that advertise activities and features for kids. However, crowds lead to stress, and even if you put your kids into organized activities, your vacation revolves around those activities. Instead, try considering quieter, more remote locations for your travel – your kids will find ways to be entertained without the hassle and noise of a crowded destination.
4. Pack Some Fun
The biggest disaster that a parent can face on a vacation is a delay. A broken down car or a delayed flight is stressful on its own – but with kids in the picture it becomes worse. Most young children will become restless with these sorts of delays. So, to plan ahead for this sort of misfortune, pack some entertainment in your bag. Toys, electronic games, picture books, etc. can all help children to stay occupied during these delays.
5. Start Slow
Finally, if you are planning for your first trip with young children, start with something basic. The first vacation probably shouldn’t involve a long flight to a foreign country. Ease your young child into the concept of travel by trying a couple of short trips, perhaps driving to the nearest beach or other vacation destination. This allows kids to get used to the idea, so that they can enjoy future vacations more.