Parents know that planning a vacation with children is an entirely different matter than planning a getaway for two. If you want to make the most of your trip, have fun as a family, and keep your sanity, check out these tips for traveling with little ones.
Pack Special Toys
A vacation is the time when you want to pull out some special toys to make a long road trip or plane ride something they’ll look forward to instead of dread. Even if you normally try to avoid putting your kids in front of a screen on a regular basis, a special occasion like a vacation may be a good reason to invest in a portable DVD player or some kid-friendly games for your iPad. These sorts of high-tech, special occasion toys are more likely to keep them entertained — and quiet.
Nothing turns a vacation day into a nightmare as quickly as a child who is hungry or thirsty. Anticipate this by packing filling yet healthy snacks and beverages. If you’re planning to travel by plane or internationally, be sure to check TSA rules or customs regulations for details regarding what types of food and drink you are able to pack.
This is especially important for airplane trips or for a long day at a theme park. When you’re heading out the door, make sure the items you’ll be carrying can be easily accounted for — one not-too-heavy bag per adult is a good number. You’ll be grateful to not have to keep track of several children and several bags at the same time. (Note: If your children are old enough to carry a small backpack with some of their own items in it, then let them! But stick to the one-bag-per-person rule, and don’t give children that responsibility unless you’re sure they can keep track of their respective items.)
Avoid the Rush
Anticipate when crowds are likely to be at their worst, and avoid them like the plague when possible. If you’re planning dinner at a nicer restaurant, show up at an earlier time, when the restaurant is quieter and you can request a table out of the way. You’ll have a lot more peace of mind and enjoy your meal more if you’re not worrying about your children disrupting other people’s meals — and your children may find it easier to stay low-key if they aren’t surrounded by lots of noise and other distractions.
Don’t Forget the Basics
While a vacation is a great time for everyone to cut loose, relax, and take a break from routine, be cautious about letting things get too lax. Children displaced from their normal routines can become exhausted, hyper, and unpredictable. Try to maintain some semblance of normalcy by making sure children consume healthy food and enjoy adequate (and reasonably scheduled) sleep.
Chris Turberville-Tully works with ESA, ESA-ServicedApartments.co.uk. Southampton, just one of their many locations, is home to historic and maritime attractions, as well as having a beautiful marina for visitors to enjoy.