We decided about a year ago that we were going to focus on giving our children experiences for Christmas rather than things. Traveling with kids can be stressful and now that we are going from place to place with three children in tow I wanted to share with you what I have learned along the way and tips I’ve learned from others! 1.Include the kids in the anticipation of your vacation One of my favorite things about traveling is looking forward to the vacation, anticipation really is half of the fun. You can do this with your children by creating a countdown calendar or chain that they can count down with you each day. This will also give you a chance to talk about where you are going, what the culture is like, what kind of food will be there, and what adventures they have to look forward to.
2. Schedule in some down time Traveling with children always takes two times longer than it would take if you were traveling adults only. Plan for tantrums, naps, potty breaks, power struggles, and taking time to smell the roses. If by some miracle these events do not take place you will be pleasantly surprised and ahead of schedule. When we travel to a heavily populated area we try our best to have “down days” in between, this could mean taking a day to head to the beach, swim in the pool, or have a lazy afternoon watching a movie. It may sound like you are wasting your travel time, but taking these moments to reboot makes the trip so much more pleasurable for everyone.
3. Keep meal costs down There are multiple ways to save money when traveling with kids. Look for opportunities for children to eat free, rewards programs, pack your own snacks, have free continental breakfasts, eat out for lunch rather than dinner, or buy your own food to bring along.
4. Determine your expectations Before you even leave on vacation determine what your expectations are for this vacation. Is your main goal to create bonding moments with extended family or are you trying to create memories specifically for your children. If your children are old enough you could even involve them in this process. Knowing that a family vacation typically isn’t the most relaxing, maybe you could make a goal to enjoy something as a family that you couldn’t do at home. Or you could look for a specific experience that would really mean a lot to a member(s) in your family. Discussing your budget as part of the planning can help a lot in determining what you hope to do on your vacation and being realistic about it.
5. Bring some comforts from home
Children tend to travel much more comfortably if they have something from home that they love. This special something maybe a blanket, stuffed animal, music or books. You may also want to prepare a “travel pack” if you are commuting for long periods of time. This is also a great time to download new apps which can cut down on the crayons and coloring books you bring along.
6. Don’t forget Medicine
One of the worst experiences I’ve ever had has been traveling with my toddler and having an unexpected fever creep up in the middle of the night without having medicine available. Avoid moments like this by being prepared with a small first aid kit filled with supplies you may need including prescription medication. I never leave home without some ibuprofen, diaper cream, band aids, my son’s asthma medication, or Tylenol.
7. Expect some surprises
No matter how well you plan you can plan that there will be surprises. Plan on this and let it slide of your back and get an ice cream.
8. Plan ahead
Last minute travel is difficult, with children it can be incredibly horrible. You will want to plan ahead for accommodations when traveling with children to know whether you have questions about port a cribs, where to eat, or where to stay. These are the kind of decisions that will be a life saver if made well in advance so you can worry about other things the day of like “where did I put that binkie?
9. Give them a camera
If you have a child that can handle a hardy camera or one that has their own tablet encourage them to take footage of your trip as a family. This will help them to be extra engaged in their surroundings and you may be surprised with their point of view. You could even compile the footage/shots at the end of the vacation to create a video that you can share for years to come.
10. Track Them
If your children are small you may want to actually brand them by writing your name and number on their arm. If you want a less temporary tattoo like solution you can buy a children tracker or use a leash. For older children make sure to have meeting points, check in times, or enlist them in the buddy system.
11. Pack smart
Pack clothes that can be mixed and matched in different variations, so if you have a shirt or a pair of pants that is a loss you can change one part of the outfit rather than the whole thing. Keep in mind weather conditions and whether or not you will have access to a laundromat. If you don’t mind doing a little laundry yourself you could even pack some dry laundry detergent to do a little washing in your sink. Don’t forget the day to day necessities
12. Set a budget
Setting a budget can give you the opportunity to really take into account the must haves for your vacation and the wishes. If you prepare ahead of time you can save money on flights, hotel stays, eating, and entertainment.
We are planning a family trip to Disneyland this year and I am so excited to go because now that my kids have been once they have a better idea of what to expect. My parents have also decided to come along with us and that makes the trip even more special! We are saving up our points now to put them towards our travel expenses! Do you have any trips on traveling with kids? You might also like these posts:
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Hello! I am Camille, a wife, mother of four, Disney obsessed, certified teacher, and believer in creating your best momlife the way you see fit. Motherhood comes with its ups and downs, my hope is you’ll find something here to make your life a little better/easier. Let’s be friends on social!