With my job and my family taking up so much of my time, life can easily get in the way of preparing our next family vacation. But careful planning and a few travel lessons I’ve learned over time can go a long way towards making our vacations fun, relaxing and fulfilling. To help you with your next family getaway, here are a few planning tips.
Choose your destination carefully
You may want to travel to the other side of the planet, but since you are planning a trip with kids, consider carefully how far you want to go. Long flights, jet lag, different languages… All of these should shape how you go about your vacation.
If you’re planning your first family trip, or if you’re traveling with a baby or young children, consider staying within the same time-zone or flying somewhere with a short, direct flight from your local airport. Traveling can be tiring, and you don’t want your kids to be exhausted from the very start your trip.
Book your airport parking early
I don’t need to tell you that you need to buy your plane tickets or reserve your hotel room, but have you ever thought about booking your airport parking in advance? Making a reservation will ensure that you have a spot in your preferred parking lot when you get to the airport, avoiding the stressful last-minute search for a parking space. Especially when traveling with a kid, it’s the way to go to make sure you don’t start your vacation on the wrong foot. Since research for a parking spot is not as exciting as, say, researching the perfect beach at your destination, let a price comparison service like www.looking4parking.com do the job for you.
Keep a routine
Help the little ones get all the rest they need during your vacation (making them less likely to throw a tantrum), by sticking to a schedule that doesn’t deviate a lot from their daily routine. If your child usually has a nap after lunch, make sure they are in a nap-friendly environment around that time of the day (their stroller, the hotel bed or mommy’s baby carrier).
If you can, plan a few activities every day without over scheduling. One or two main activities a day are probably more than enough for the young ones. There is no need to overbook and end up stressing out about not hitting every spot on your list. It’s also important to plan some of these activities in advance to avoid the stressful and time-consuming on-the-day planning.
Don’t forget to bring along the things they love the most to make the new environment feel friendly and familiar from the start. A favorite bedtime story, the blanket or plush toy they adore or those cereals they crave every morning can go a long way in keeping your little explorers happy. Put these little things your kid can’t live without at the very top of your packing list.
Accommodation will be your second home
When booking your accommodation, consider it a home base instead of just a place to sleep. If your kids need food the second they open their eyes, a room fridge will make mornings easier since they’ll be able to have a bit of breakfast before having to leave the room. A large room or a suite with two separate sleeping areas will make your evenings better since you’ll have a place to prepare the next day (or watch a movie) without disturbing the kids. You’ll end up spending a lot more time in your accommodation than before you had children, so picking a comfortable place is a must.
Keep old electronics
When you upgrade your phone or your camera, keep the old one if it still works. An old cell phone can be used as a camera by the kids, helping them document their trip, or even as a tool for a trip-long treasure hunt or “I spy” game. Not only is it a simple way to keep them entertained, you might gain some insight into what appeals to them the most when looking at their pictures. Some of these pictures might even turn out better than yours (I know: frustrating!).
As with everything, starting to plan a journey is the hardest part. Hopefully, with these tips, you’ll be able to make planning less stressful, and make your vacation a memorable time for your family. In any case, family trips will give you stories to talk about for years and cherished memories for the kids. And, who knows, your kid might discover a life-long passion for exploring the world during this trip with you!