Traveling with Kids Made Easy
One of the best things that you can do as a family is to travel together! But, traveling with kids can be a feat!
Remember the time when going on a trip was easy, fun, and free from worries? Well, that was before you had kids.
Traveling with kids seems like a great thing to do (and it is!). But if you are not well prepared, having a good time can become a challenge. So, make sure that you apply some good forward planning and organization. Here are some quick tips to help you smoothen out the process:
1. Be ready for the “grey space”
“Grey space” is a term for all the moments that you will have to spend waiting in lines, at the airports or waiting for transport. No matter how hard you try, be prepared to deal with this as this grey space always shows up. A few ideas on your list can include getting a quick treat from the vending machine, using a coloring book, and playing a verbal game.
2. Keep organizing everything
Even if you are on a short trip, good organization skills can be your vacation lifesaver. Make it a point to pack smartly – including everything that you or your kids might need, from clothes and toiletries to earphones and medicines, and everything in between. One great thing to do is to let just one parent take care of the packing. This helps to avoid arguments over which thing is where that often happen when both parents pack the luggage. When one person is in-charge, he has the responsibility of ensuring organizational packing and remembering everything.
3. Snacks are your friend
If you have to enforce the regular dietary restrictions on your kids while on a vacation, it could become quite stressful. Of course, you may allow them to enjoy some treats that they are not usually allowed – after all, travel is all about having fun, isn’t it? However, maintaining a fine balance is still important. Not to mention, overdoses of sugar and caffeine can make things difficult for the parents. So, make sure that your kids don’t consume enough of them to get out-of-control. Pack some of their favorite snacks, which are not too unhealthy, and use them to fill grey spaces, improve their moods, avoid tantrums, or as rewards for behaving well.
4. Sharing is caring
No matter where you are traveling, invite kids of all ages to participate in the trip planning process. Tell them all about the destination (get those excitement levels up high!) to give them something to look forward to. If you are unsure where to travel, you can work out some options, tell them about them, and then let them share their suggestions about the destination and the activities. You can show younger children some pictures, while older ones can be encouraged to do a little research on their own.
Here’s what happens when you do this: your kids feel that they are playing an active role in planning the vacation. This creates a sense of responsibility in them, which equates to less fuss, whining, and misbehavior, plus their self-confidence gets developed. Certainly, a WIN-WIN situation!
5. Include some child-friendly activities
If you have selected a travel destination that is not child-centered, you can include some child-friendly activities and attractions to keep your kids from getting bored. You don’t have to go over the moon – things as simple as a short visit to a park, a Gondola ride, or ice-cream at the mall can do the job. Remember, boredom=bad mood for the kids.
6. Design the schedule realistically
You may want them to experience as many attractions as possible. But, if they are low on energy or in a bad mood, they won’t have the fun that you want them to have. What you should do is to go for the most interesting thing first, and then see what else you can squeeze into your schedule. Consider getting a better hotel room than you would have chosen if it was an adults-only trip, as you will be spending more time there with kids. If you feel that your kids are exhausted, you can also leave them with the hotel’s trusted babysitters while you head out for a while.
7. Be ready for picky eaters
Very few kids will eat anything that is given to them. Be ready for tantrums over food choices. You can secretly pack some food that they like, but use it only as a last resort. Take them to places that serve at least vaguely familiar food, but do encourage them to try out something new. Start with the best-tasting food so that their interest is intrigued and then invite them to taste the other options. Of course, if they make faces and start spoiling your experience, you can always hand out that familiar, beloved peanut-butter sandwich that you had tucked away in your handbag earlier!
8. Select your seating strategically
It is best to choose airlines with open seating. This way, you can select your seats next to families. Why is this recommended? Well, your kids can play with the other kids, and you can have friendly conversations with fellow parents (and maybe grab a few useful parenting or traveling tips, as well). Also, if your kids become noisy and irritating, you won’t be disturbing anybody who is not used to kids and seated far away from you. Maybe, you might even get some sympathy or help from the parents seated nearby.
9. Fighting junior jet lag
The best way to deal with jet lag in kids is to get lots of sunlight. Wake up early to go out and enjoy the sun. Come back around midday and take a short night. By the time the sun goes down, your kids would become ready for bed. You can also avoid crankiness by keeping track of blood sugar and making sure that the day’s activities are interesting for everybody.
10. Positive reinforcements
While it is easy to scold your kids if they misbehave, you can use positive reinforcement for a better effect while on a trip. You can sprinkle a little praise and a reward here and there throughout the day. For example, when a picky eater agrees to try something new, you can buy them ice cream.
The parenting rules that you normally use at home may be different from the ones which you will need to use on vacation. Don’t forget to use some rewards to fuel your kids’ motivation, no matter how what age they may be.
11. Inject some familiarity
Many children feel uneasy in new and unfamiliar places, such as a hotel room or airplane seat. You can help by bringing in something familiar for them, like a car seat, pillow, blanket, stuffed animal, or toy. This will inject some familiarity in the unfamiliar territory and put them at ease, guaranteeing a pleasant time for everybody.
Are you ready for the perfect vacation?
You know else is a good idea? Hiring an experienced travel concierge to design the perfect itinerary for you and your family! It doesn’t matter what kind of vacation you have in mind; a travel concierge is the best way to go!
Stenner Travel is a professional travel concierge agency that provides the ultimate travel experience for both leisure and business clients.
We can provide customized travel designs and solutions for all types of group or solo travel, and can be the right partner for your vacation! Get in touch with us today.