Taking your family on vacation is one of the most exciting times of the year. Whether you’re finally using your paid time off or just want some time away from home, you should look forward to a relaxing vacation.
Still, traveling with children can be hectic. Things you weren’t expecting can be an issue. How do you beat the unforeseen challenges? You try to prepare as best as you can.
1. Book Everything Ahead of Time
Some schedules don’t go according to plan, especially with kids. In that case, you don’t have time to dawdle around your destination, searching for the right place to eat or the nicest place to stay. Before you leave, you should have an itinerary to help you stay on track. Book your hotel and restaurant reservations ahead of time and you’ll have much more wiggle room when you’re on vacation.
2. Let Your Kids Choose
Your kids will probably want to be involved in the planning process. While you might not be able to let them pick out everything, they would delight in being able to choose one or two things your family does during the vacation. They might pick attractions or events that interest them and you can include them in your schedule.
Allowing kids to have a choice — no matter how significant — can help them feel like they have autonomy over their lives from a young age. Your children will feel like they’re a valued part of the family by choosing something the whole family does. Try to leave their options as open-ended as possible — after all, it’s their vacation, too.
3. Hand Out Contact Info
Your kids should know your contact information by a certain age, but if it’s too difficult to memorize or they’re too young, make sure they have your details on them somewhere. You might write your number on paper and stick it in their pockets, just in case you lose track of them. This trick can work well even with children who know your phone number, as it ensures you have a fail-safe plan.
4. Pack Over-the-Counter Medications
While not many people forget prescription medications, many fail to pack over-the-counter medicines that can help a family out in a pinch. Things like allergy medicine, headache medicine and medicine for upset stomachs can help a family, no matter how large or small.
For example, you won’t be able to avoid allergies everywhere. It’s always best to have a backup option in case something goes wrong — and these over-the-counter medications ensure you’ll be prepared for anything that comes your way, allergies or stomach issues.
5. Take Lots of Photos
One of the best ways to reminisce on fond memories is to look back at photos. Even if you may feel insecure about how you appear in pictures, you should strive to take as many as possible. Whether you keep them on your phone or put them in a physical photo album, the images will be the best way to reflect on this fond time in your life once you’re older. It might be one of the best ways to commemorate your children being the age they are.
6. Invest in the Future
If your family loves to take vacations to one particular spot, you may consider purchasing a vacation home or a condo in that area. It would take some saving up, but it could be a long-term goal worth pursuing. A vacation home is a space that’s all yours and you can choose to rent it out to other people to supplement your income and future vacations. It’s an excellent investment that almost pays for itself and could help your family immensely in the years to follow.
7. Bring Snacks
Food is a great way to occupy children when they seem unruly. It’s an excellent way to keep your kids busy while you’re handling logistics or waiting for the next part of your vacation to begin.
If you have the opportunity, try to feed your kids snacks away from screens and devices. Snacks without many distractions ensure your child feels as satiated as possible while getting the nutrients they need. Still, a fed child is better than the alternative and snacks could just save you from dealing with cranky kids.
8. Look for Discounts
Be on the lookout for discounts wherever you go. Some attractions and tours may offer discounts for families with children and restaurants occasionally have whole menus dedicated to children’s palates. It can never hurt to ask and you might just save your budget by finding out about a discount you never knew existed.
9. Learn the Basics
If you’re traveling somewhere you don’t know the language well, try to learn the basics before you depart. Knowing how to ask basic questions in the local language can help you communicate with the people you need to talk to and make learning fun for your children.
Kids find it much easier to learn another language than adults, likely because they learn the associations of words rather than the grammatical rules. Make the language-learning aspect into a game and your kids might be more than willing to learn it.
10. Keep Trying
Something will always go wrong. A perfect vacation does not exist, but you can either dwell on the setback or keep moving forward and try again with a new activity or reservation. When in doubt, always push forward. You’ll set a good example for your children and find something just as fun for them to do. A positive attitude can save a vacation.
Enjoy the Best Vacation Ever
While you will experience setbacks you could never have seen coming, you can make up for them by having the best time possible and enjoying your vacation. Visiting a new place through your children’s eyes is immensely rewarding and it will be worth every misstep. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to having the best family vacation yet.