If you’re one of the millions of Americans that see the value of traveling as a family, then you also understand how stressful it can be to go on vacation with kids.
America’s most popular family vacations are road trips, national park visits, and theme parks.
And if you’re planning a few upcoming family trips then read on for these important tips!
1. Include the Whole Family in Planning
A great way to help the kids feel invested and excited about your upcoming family vacation is to let them be a part of the planning process.
Rather than the chaos of letting them shout out ideas, plan ahead a few options to choose from.
Include potential destinations and plans like:
- We could drive to Florida and stay for 5 days or fly to California and stay for 3 days.
- Would you rather go to the beach on the 1st or 2nd day?
- We could visit a zoo on day 3 or an aquarium. Which would you like more?
Allowing them to make some of the decisions will not only excite them but also make them appreciate the work it takes to plan a vacation.
2. Take a Break from Screen Time Rules
One of the best family travel hacks we have to offer is about screen time. It’s important to create daily limits for your children while using devices and tablets when you’re at home.
But while traveling, many parents throw the rule book out the window to help children behave and be happy while en route to their destination.
Having to sit through a several hour flight or drive becomes significantly more peaceful if a favorite movie or game is available.
We’re not saying you shouldn’t have guidelines at home. You should! But while traveling, an easy way to keep the kids happy is to let them play on their devices as much as they want.
3. Packing Hacks for Family Trips
We’ve all overpacked for a vacation with kids and suffered through hauling extra suitcases and strollers through an airport. Some of us have suffered from underpacking and not having the things that help your kids be comfortable and happy.
But there is another option! These packing tips can help you travel light and be happy!
- Book a hotel or Airbnb that has a crib or playpen available for your sleeping baby.
- Give each child a small backpack for the flight or drive. Help them pack whatever they need to stay happy and entertained (stuffies, coloring book, tablet, snacks, etc.)
- Book a stay with laundry facilities or services for longer stays so you can pack fewer clothes.
- Don’t pack toiletries. Once you arrive at your destination, stop at a grocery store for all the toiletries for the family. This may include diapers for the baby, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, body wash, hairspray, sunscreen, etc.
Use these packing hacks and more to save on space.
4. Fly Smart
The key to flying with kids is keeping them comfortable, fed, and entertained. As we mentioned before, this might include breaking your screen time rules. Let your kids fly in sweats or pajamas. And pack snacks!
Flying with kids is stressful enough, but if you’re traveling with a baby, flying can seem impossible. Wisemamma has all the answers to your baby flight questions, like:
- How old does my baby have to be to get on a plane?
- Do they need their own ticket?
- Can I bring formula through TSA?
- What should I pack?
It’s important to remember that no matter how much you prepare, there will be stressful moments while flying with kids. If they cry, it’ll be okay. If they make a mess, it’ll be okay. Be ready to roll with the punches.
5. Take Advantage of Road Trip Destinations
79% of American families go on at least 1 road trip each year. And if you’re trying to save money on your family vacation (and who isn’t) consider a road trip. Gas is far less expensive than flights for an entire family.
Ask yourself these questions:
- How far am I willing to drive/how long could my family last in the car?
- What destinations are within that driving distance from home?
- Are there things my children would enjoy at those destinations?
Present your findings to the kids along with other options and see how they feel about a potential road trip!
While you’re in the car, let each family member take a turn selecting music to listen to, games to play, or a movie to watch.
Make the most of your road trip and do some research ahead of time for interesting landmarks that are en route to your destination.
One of the most underrated ways to ensure that you and your kids have an enjoyable experience is to make sure everyone is well fed.
Snacks are essential. It’s also important to pack snacks that are easy to transport and won’t make a big, sticky mess. Think about packing small bags of goldfish crackers, cheerios, veggie straws, etc. These are all easily carried and can be ready at a moment’s notice.
Nobody wants to travel with a bunch of “hangry” kids, so keep snacks on hand and encourage everyone to drink plenty of water.
Traveling with the whole family will definitely take more time and preparation than solo trips would, but the memories made will make up for it!
Remember to plan ahead, pack light, and roll with the punches. Some of your plans won’t work out, and that’s okay. You’re together as a family and that’s what really matters!
Check out our travel feed for more tips for your family trips today!