Are you planning a family vacation soon? Family vacations can be a wonderful way to bond with your children and show them more of the world. But preparing for a trip with kids can sometimes feel overwhelming. Knowing how to keep everyone safe and having fun can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. With a few key points in mind, you can plan a fun, safe trip that your entire family will enjoy:
Talk about Travel Safety as a Family
As a parent, your child’s health and safety are your number one concern. This doesn’t change when you go on trips. You’ll need to have a conversation with your kids about safety while you’re on vacation. For toddlers and younger children, lay down clear rules about sticking by your side, safely speaking with strangers and what to do if they get lost. If you have teens, you can allow them a little more freedom, but still have a discussion about travel safety for them as well. This is especially important if you decide to allow your teen to go out and explore your destination on their own. Make sure every family member has a working cell phone with international coverage if necessary, and make sure they have emergency contacts in their phone before you leave home. Be sure to check the State Department Travel Advisory site as well as the list of the safest nations to visit.
Bring Some Healthy Snacks Along
Keeping kids healthy is another major concern for parents when traveling. Fast food and airport options are often loaded with sugar, fat and sodium that can cause serious discomfort for your family. Instead of eating what you can find, consider bringing your own snacks along. For road trips, packing a cooler with car-friendly meals can save your family from having to eat fast food, and feeling terrible afterward. Simple options such as veggies with hummus, wrap sandwiches, protein boxes and reliable PB&J’s can make for some yummy, nutritious meals on the go.
If you’re flying, you can bring along some snacks as well! Parents may be surprised at the healthy options allowed on planes. Bringing your own snacks is a much more filling and healthy option than the salty and sugary food they serve on planes.
Have a Plan for Beating Boredom
When you’re traveling with kids, you need ways to prevent them from getting bored. Boredom on long drives or flights can lead to tantrums, meltdowns from kids and more stress for parents. So plan ahead with some fun activities kids will enjoy along the way. Bring a couple of books, pick up some travel games or pack some art supplies for your kids. Have older children or limited room? Tablets and smartphones can be a lifesaver for parents on long trips and they take up minimal space. Load smartphones or tablets with age-appropriate movies, games and apps before you leave your home. Consider lifting limits on screen time while on longer trips and allow your children to use these electronics to prevent boredom and distract them from any trip anxietythey may have.
Carefully Consider Accommodations
Sharing a hotel room is a great way to save money when you’re traveling with the entire family. Once you reach your destination, however, you may want to find an option with a little more space. Being cramped in close quarters can be stressful for kids and parents, and you may end up having less fun. Look for adjoining hotel rooms or suites to give your family a little more space to breathe. You can even look into renting out entire homes, or booking your trip with an all-inclusive resort with larger rooms. Kids who are used to sleeping in their own rooms will be more comfortable with their own space, and you will be thankful for some quiet time of your own.
Travel should be part of any child’s life. It allows them to explore the world while making lasting memories with their family. You can cut the stress out of your next family vacation by following the tips above. So plan ahead, be safe and enjoy your trip.