Spring break is just around the corner, and before you know it, summer will be knocking at our door. Roadtrips, warm beaches, and ice cold
lemonade cocktails are calling. The question is, will your family answer the call?
Traveling with kids is a rewarding, fulfilling, and yet often a little complicated. With potential time zone changes, unique menu options, and a lack of daily comforts…phew!… there can be some stress! Some kids may just roll with the punches that travel throws their way, but others may have a harder time adapting. We’re here to help you make it easier on yourself with some tips that can help make traveling easy on both the parents and kids, while creating memories of a lifetime.
- When in doubt, just ask! I always remember being asked about what I wanted to get out of my trip, which made every adventure even more meaningful and memorable. Obviously, I didn’t always get the winning vote, but many times I was able to help create the plan, which made me feel involved in the process. If your kids don’t know much about the area, try showing them some fun YouTube videos, colorful pictures, share some stories, and get them excited to see something…and then find out what that something is!
- Turn your trip into a treasure hunt. It’s not always easy for kids to buy into going wherever their parents tell them. If a child hasn’t heard of your destination, then how could they know what to get excited about? Giving kids a challenge can often entice their interest and intrigue them enough to play along. So how do you involve them? Think about doing scavenger hunt with with kids so that they can learn a bit of history, feel the fulfillment of checking items of a list, all while documenting all they saw for you to maintain a keepsake for years to come…win, win! There are more and more companies coming out with downloadable scavenger hunts for families to do on their own, and Explorateur Travel is one of them. We can make a tailor-made scavenger hunt, or you could buy a stock option with an instant download for various cities!
- Beat the jet lag. This goes for kids and adults, but particularly kids. No one likes getting off a sleep schedule (heck…don’t mess with me after a cross country flight!), but it is important to maintain momentum. Nothing shakes off the cobwebs like keeping moving. Check- in, drop the luggage, and move onto something completely engaging and enthralling to distract the whole family from the fact that you would rather be snuggled up and sleeping yourself into a funky schedule for the rest of the trip. This may be an early night in for everyone, but pushing through that initial wave of exhaustion will help you set your clock for the rest of your trip.
- Treat yourselves. It’s vacation! You may not normally “sugar up” the family midday or after dinner (everyone has a different system) and I’m not telling anyone how to parent, but I’m just saying that a gelato in Italy is a pretty swell treat for not acting like a stinker after a flight halfway across the world (I mean, I’ll behave for a creamy scoop). This may mean an exotic treat, extra iPad time, staying up later than normal, or even finding a playground among a busy city. Regardless of what it is, find some options in advance that are a unique experience for a kid on “vaca” and help find a positive reinforcement option for your child being a trooper!
- Make time for breaks. You might be thinking…”DUH.” I realize that this may seem like a no-brainer for anyone who has children, but it the prioritization to do nothing can tend to take a backseat during a chock-a-block full trip. Remember that you are on vacation. This is a time to prioritize your positive experiences, relaxation, and overall happiness. It may seem like the end of the world to stop for 30 minutes to cool off, grab a sandwich, have a drink…but is it really? Running 30 minutes late will rarely throw of an entire day, but a tired kid can easily derail your full itinerary in the blink of an eye (cue a full meltdown in public). If you are feeling like everyone is running on fumes, take the time to recharge, and don’t feel guilty for putting your family first. If you miss seeing one attraction… it will most like not ruin your entire trip!
- Enjoy the local resources. Not every family is traveling with an open-ended budget, and even those who are will enjoy finding a frugal option now and then! If you have a kitchen where you are staying, stock it full of snacks in advance. Also, refill any reusable water bottles when possible (read up on if the water in the city is drinkable, and don’t assume that it is not). Lastly, find interesting options that could save some cash! Is there a market with food stands? Are to-go meals cheaper than sitting down? These are options that are actually very culturally dependent and can save you some serious cash if you know the tips and tricks of a location. And all that cash you save? I’m thinking you might be treating yourself with a nice bottle of wine as a victory dance that everyone survived (and dare say, enjoyed) the vacation!
- Find open space to explore! There are kids everywhere you go, and they all have the same level of energy, curiosity, and need to explore. We are so lucky to live in a time with so much information readily available to us. There are so many blogs (oh…hey “Orlando Mom’s Blog!) on family travel for specific locations that you are sure to find great options for playgrounds, parks, and activities that may be outside the normal tourist itinerary. It seems that kids have less of a language barrier than adults and can adapt to various situations quickly, making a local playground a perfect place to experience the culture of the spot you are visiting. I suggest finding a spot to “regular” each morning during your trip for kids to get some extra energy out and to get ready for a day of exploring.
Just remember that if all doesn’t go to plan, make another plan! We’ve all been guilty of letting travel obstacles give us the blues, but that doesn’t change anything about why you took your trip! It’s best to have a few back up options in your back pocket so that if someone needs a nap (no judgement if that person happens to be a parent) or you just aren’t in the mood to do what you planned, you can switch gears without throwing off your day.
Blog post sponsored and written by the CEO & Founder of Explorateur Travel, LLC. Explorateur specializes in affordable a la carte planning options for families of all sizes and vacations of all destinations. Explorateur would love to help you plan your perfect family getaway and offload the stress of planning….after all, it is a vacation for moms too!