Whether it’s your first or nth time, going on a trip with the entire family can feel a bit overwhelming. It may seem to be becoming slightly more tolerable as you do it repeatedly, and there will be times when you’ll feel the need to make it perfect. Still, this can be difficult to achieve in the face of the particular challenges that come with traveling with kids.
Fortunately, advanced planning and preparation can help you get through your vacation time with less stress while still gaining a fun-filled experience for parents and kids alike. To make sure it goes as smoothly as possible, here are four practical tips you should try to achieve a stress-free holiday with your family:
1. Set Your Departure with Plenty of Time to Spare
One thing that will surely ruin potentially wonderful family memories is missing precious moments because you didn’t have enough time. From missing your flight to arriving late for a show, you can avoid stressful moments and replace them with wonderful ones by adjusting your departure time accordingly.
To make sure you have plenty of time to spare, you must set your preparation time 20 minutes early for each action for every child you plan to go on vacation with. This also applies to adults who tend to do things slowly.
Remember that traveling with the whole family means you have to adjust to everyone’s pace. This means everything might take longer compared to when you’re traveling alone, including the airport check-in, security checks, buying snacks, and even boarding the plane.
Flying is only one of many examples, though. Adjusting your departure time applies to all aspects of your trip, like going to restaurants, visiting museums, or going on a tour.
2. Pre-Book Whatever You Can
Pre-booking your flight is a given, but there are more aspects of your vacation that you can book early to give leeway for more fun. If you’re used to just winging it once you arrive at your destination, you need to make a change when you’re traveling with children.
This means you should already book a hotel before your trip. Ideally, this should be accomplished right after you confirm your destination. This will also allow you to get early hotel booking deals to save on your lodging.
For one, you’ll already have a place you can stay upon your arrival where you can drop off your bags and let your family rest when necessary. This will also give you a bit more flexibility for the subsequent items in your itinerary.
Of course, pre-booking doesn’t have to be limited to your flight and lodging. You can also buy movie tickets online, reserve a table at a restaurant, or book seats for a show in advance to avoid long queues.
3. Pack Wisely
Packing is another crucial aspect of a trip that tends to cause stress for parents. This is mainly because of the fact that many of them want to pack nearly every item that their children use at home.
While the intent probably revolves around making sure that the kids have everything they need, bringing too many items can be counterproductive. Aside from adding to the overall weight of your luggage, carrying too many bags can be exhausting, especially if you’re with at least one child who still needs to be carried.
This is why it is recommended that you pack only the essentials. The less you bring, the better.
Keep in mind that traveling, in itself, will likely cause major changes in your children’s routines, so the attempt to preserve those routines by bringing everything your kids use at home would be quite pointless. Not only will you not achieve what you have planned for the trip, but you will also become frustrated and tired.
Remember that the holiday is supposed to be a chance for the family to have fun. In fact, it is a break from your usual days, so be sure to embrace it.
Wherever you go, there will always be a chance to buy what you need, when you need them. Just be sure to do some research about your destination first before you create a packing checklist to make sure that the things you might need are available where you’re going.
4. Leave Room for Your Own Kind of Fun
In most vacations, parents tend to plan their itineraries around their children – what they would enjoy, what will make them comfortable, and where they want to go. But doing this can leave moms and dads exhausted from fulfilling every single wish the little ones have, much like a genie trying to grant the unlimited wishes of their master.
Many parents learn about this the hard way. Over time, they realize that they look forward to holidays less and less because they don’t enjoy it themselves.
Fortunately, there is a way that this can change. With the right balance, you can make sure that parents get to look forward to the family holiday, too. The key is to leave room for your kind of fun.
Whether it’s reading your favorite novel or spending time in nature, you have to set aside time for yourself. After all, a break is what you need after watching your child join ballet dance classes for kids or chasing them down with sunscreen while at a waterpark. Make sure to include activities for parents in your holiday schedule.
Plan Early, Stress Less
At the core of all these holiday trip tips is one thing: advanced planning. Make sure to think about the trip months ahead of time and do some research when necessary to make sure that your plan covers all the essentials. Doing so will also help reduce the amount of work for the parents and will ensure that everyone in the family gets to have fun.