I’m thinking vacations this week. Yesterday’s post, Tips For An Educational Beach Vacation, really got me in the mood for taking a family trip. Travel expert Kendra Thornton shares tips for making that family vacation stress-free.
Every mom knows that the one thing you can expect with kids is the unexpected; especially in a new environment like the one you’re experiencing during a vacation. Everything is Go! Go! Go! and if you aren’t careful, it can all come to a sudden stop! Culminating with a sobbing kid on the floor. It really doesn’t have to be this way, and all it takes is just a little planning ahead of time.
Tip 1: Breakfast. This has got to be the biggest mistake some parents make. Don’t start the day with a fruit bar; instead, take the time to have a good breakfast before leaving the hotel. Many hotels and resorts have breakfast included in the rates and you should take advantage of these. Check out the Walt Disney World hotels in Orlando for some excellent, child-friendly options and plan to start the day with well-fed children.
Tip 2: Snacks. Chances are you’ll be running all day and the last thing you want is a hungry child who’s getting grouchier by the minute. Bring some treats, even if you only expect to be out for a short time. Lines are long, buses are late, and sometimes a quick trip takes hours. String cheese and pretzels travel well and can be eaten anywhere. Mix up a bag of trail mix with dried fruit and nuts for a slightly messier snack, or a quick topping for yogurt. It’s also kind of fun to use trail mix as a dip for frozen yogurt, if you happen to see a quick source of it while you’re out.
Tip 3: Boredom. Avoid it at all costs! Nothing seems to start a downhill slide faster than a kid with nothing better to do. One of my favorite things to do is add some audio books to a digital player and pull it out when there’s going to be a lot of downtime. Airports and even airplanes are some of the toughest places to be when you’re young, but somehow it all gets easier when you can pop on a pair of headphones and listen to a story. A really nice bonus effect of the story, especially on a bus or car ride, is that it often puts the little one to sleep. Sometimes a nap is all it takes to make the rest of the day go smoothly.
Tip 4: Sleep. Not the nap kind, the overnight kind. Even adults have trouble sleeping in a strange spot so why wouldn’t kids? You need to minimize any sleep problems before they happen. Bring the favorite blanket, the stuffed toy, the most popular book, anything that will make sleeping in a strange place less strange. Plan a little extra time when getting ready for bed and expect to do some cuddling until Junior falls asleep.
Tip 5: Returning. When you get back from a vacation, everyone is excited. Plan to return from your travels at least one day before your vacation ends. It takes time to get back to routines and settle in to everyday life so give yourself and your child that extra day to unwind.
There you have it. None of these are particularly difficult, but they can make the difference between having a great vacation, and hauling the kids around trying to make them behave.
Kendra Thornton: Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. I am a long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I’ve found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I have mixed my excitement for travel by bringing the taste of authentic cuisine to my own home with some of my unique recipes and sharing some of my personal traveling tips. Enjoy!