Family vacations often start with the best of intentions. There’s going to be lots and lots of fun. And when the vacation gradually descends into an exhausting and stressful experience, you announce that this will be the last time you take your family on vacation. You said the same thing last year. And the year before.
You don’t have to go through the same experience over and over though. Here are some tips that can help you plan that perfect vacation for your family.
Choose your destination together
Sit down with your kids and let them have a say when choosing your destination. Every destination is unique in its own way, and some are certainly family-friendly than others. This doesn’t mean you only plan a trip to a kids-friendly destination or an adult-friendly destination. If you have kids of different ages, make sure that the destination has something for everyone to do.
Maintain the excitement
Travel plans are usually made way before the trip, but that doesn’t mean you don’t think about it. Pick up a guidebook and a few travel brochures and share them with your children. Find books about the destination and read them with your kids. The internet has several websites with information and pictures of your vacation destination.
Create a list of things you’ll need to carry on your family vacation, such as travel documents, first aid kit, and travel insurance information. Include the telephone numbers of your medical insurance company, doctor, and dentist. Check the requirements for passport and visa several months beforehand to ensure you’re all set.
You might be tempted to pack everything into a single suitcase, but don’t try it. Just pack 3-4 outfits per child, and do the necessary load of laundry. It’ll save you lots of trouble later if you keep it simple.
If you are traveling by car, pack a backpack of surprise toys, games, snacks and books to keep your kids entertained during the long trip. If you’re flying, bring a 24-hour survival kit in case you lose your luggage or your flight is delayed.
Go at the right time
If you are traveling by road, leave late in the evening or early in the morning to avoid traffic jam and let the children take a nap. If you are traveling by air, be sure to leave more time for connections. If your kid has a nap routine,consider that when planning your trip. This will ensure that you have a much smoother trip.
Make it special
Let everyone in your family choose what they would like to do during the vacation. This will make everyone feel more involved and will start off the vacation on a more positive note. If your budget is tight, explain that in advance and say how much things will cost. Let the children research online to find what they would like to do.
Follow a routine
If you are traveling with young kids, try to follow a regular schedule of meals, baths, and bedtime. Bring their favorite books and toys, and try to create a familiar environment as much as possible. It’s amazing that healthy meals, nice baths and adequate sleep will help keep away the tantrums.