Vacations should be very relaxing, not a constant stream of stressful situations. Families always take an average of 5.3 road trips each year. With a little planning and organization, parents can save their sanity and make the travel time easy and stress free for the whole family. Here’s a planning checklist to make sure you leave all of your worries back at home.
1. Keep a flexible itinerary
It’s important to remember that unplanned events can account for a lot of the vacation time. You don’t want a delayed flight, slight snooze, or a cancelled tour to throw your entire itinerary off. Try to plan some activities for some specific days, but leave some days completely open. When your schedule’s flexible, you’re not rushing to complete everything on your travel wish list; you’re exploring a hidden street, catching up on sleep at the beach for a few hours, or relaxing at a cafe over an espresso. You’re learning to enjoy the down time, which is the entire cause you went on vacation in the first place.
2. Prepare Your Children
Talking to your chidren in advance about the trip and things you’re going to be doing helps set the stage for the what’s next in your child’s mind. For instance, if your kids have a special animal, blanket or lovie, getting out through security will be a lot easier if you warn them they will need to part with it for a few minutes at the airport.
3. Keep essentials in hand
More hours en route means you need your extra batteries and battery packs for computers, tablets, smartphones and video games. With the babies on board, pack extra diapers, changes of clothing, food and bottles. Be sure that this "essentials" bag is easily accessible in the car's front seat or as an airline carry-on.
4. Limit screen time
Deciding a family to limit the screen time on vacation will ensure everyone is present and engaged during the trip. Adults should tell their Facebook friends that they'll share photos when they return, and kids' electronics should be limited to long flights or car rides. If the chidren are antsy during down time on vacation, encourage them to write or draw in a travel journal.
5. Stay cool when you hit turbulence
Regardless of the all the planning, stops, singing or snacks, there may be much time that you just have to tune out the tears. Presuming that nothing is really wrong in the backseat and remind yourself that your child is safe in the car and will soon or eventually stop or fall asleep.