Is Travel with Kids Really a Vacation?
Choosing the right destination:
Choosing a family friendly option doesn’t have to mean a vacation to Disney. Many wonderful resorts and destinations offer activities for children and childcare services. It can make all the difference in the world when kids are fully engaged in the activities and parents need some alone time as well.
Mode of Travel:
When flying, minimize the amount of time your children are pinned to their seats by sending in one adult with the bags and having the other stay back and board with the kids as late as possible.
In a separate bag, I pack general entertainment like books, games and a few toys they seem to enjoy the most. I also put anything specific to our destination (ie ski suits or beach toys).
Finally, I pack the travel bags. The first is my diaper bag with the addition of ample snacks, drinks (or empty drink bottle if traveling by air), tablets, headphones, books, crayons and stickers. I include an extra set of clothes and a plastic bag in case anyone gets sick or splits during travel. I am sure to put their travel documentation in this bag (or in my purse if I am carrying that separately). Next, I let the kids have a say in what they want to include in each of their small backpacks (books, toys and snacks). I don’t include any items that need to be removed for airport screening as it is easiest to remove from only one bag.
Enjoying the Vacation:
Don’t try to do too much. Although there are so many fun things to do and you want to fit them all in, everything takes longer with kids and everyone will feel stressed if you are pushing them and rushing. Limit major activities to one per day and build in a lot of downtime to the itinerary.
It doesn’t have to be over the top. I recently learned this lesson the hard way as friends and I gathered our children for a day at Disney. No knock on Disney but the walking between events, the difficulty in finding food everyone would eat, everyone needing bathroom breaks at different times and the excitement of seeing so much left kids and parents feeling stressed and frazzled. Later in the day we met at a small local park and everyone had a more enjoyable time playing on the swing set, having a picnic and being able to sit and just talk. Sometimes with kiddos, the simpler option is the better one for making family memories.