When you think about traveling with children, your first thought might be to feel overwhelmed and stressed before you have even gone on the actual vacation. There is no doubt that traveling with children, especially young children, can be exhausting and challenging. But there are so many benefits of traveling with kids most important of which is the memories and bonding that it gives us as a family. So with these few tips on traveling with children, you can minimize the stress and leave room for all those wonderful memories.
6 Tips for Traveling With Children
1. Hope for the best, plan for the worst-
Spontaneity is great and all but not when it comes to traveling with kids. Planning is your friend. Plan ahead and plan for unforeseeable events. Print off a travel checklist to make sure you have everything you’ll need packing wise. Bring extra diapers, bring an extra change of clothes (or 2). Parenting Murphy’s Law, you just know that bad thing is going to happen. So just be prepared.
2. Plan around their schedule-
I know it can be super tempting to try to fit in as much as possible on vacation because you want to experience as much as you can and get your money’s worth. I get it. But doing this with young kids is setting yourself up for tantrums and crying and misery on everyone’s part. Yours and theirs. So plan around nap times and bedtimes. Try to do the most fun thing or most important thing first thing in the morning or at the time when they are most happy. Everyone will enjoy it more.
3. Make a list of the most important things you want to do-
Make a list for each day or for your whole trip or both with your most important MUST do things. Things that you would be happy and feel accomplished with even if those are the ONLY things you get done. Everything else will be just a bonus That way if it rains or you have a grumpy tantruming child you can cut some of the extras but still feel at peace that you got to do the most important things on your list.
4. Go at their pace-
Again, it is tempting to just get as much done as possible on your vacation but you’ll do yourself a favor by slowing down and going at your child’s pace. This will prevent meltdowns from being overstimulated and overtired. But also when we slow down and just try to enjoy things the way our children see and experience them, we ourselves can have more fun and make more memories. Sometimes it takes seeing things from a child’s perspective to see the wonder and beauty.
5. Make a plan but be super flexible-
So I said planning is your friend. And it is but when traveling with kids things do not always go according to plan. Be adaptable and have a “go with the flow” mentality if something does not go according to your plan. So when things take a turn and you have to scrap plans, detour or alter your plan, just try to see the bright side. You’ll enjoy things more and you’ll be teaching your kids a great lesson as well. When something goes wrong, try to find the good!
6. Live in anticipation of the memory-
Someone gave me this advice and I thought it was brilliant. Even the “worst” vacation or one that has problem after problem or grumpy kids end up being the funny stories we tell for years to come or some of our fondest memories when our kids are grown. So just expect that things will go wrong and it may feel more stressful than fun in the moment but take a deep breath and just laugh because that time your toddler took off their shoes in the middle of a busy restaurant or your baby has a poop explosion all up their back will make for some funny stories later on.
Traveling with children may not always be easy but it is so worth it. Just remember to plan for the worst, slow down, and laugh off the crazy! You and your kids will make memories to last a lifetime.
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