How to: Stress-Free Family Trips

If you’ve ever done family trips with kids, you know it doesn’t take much for a “good day” to turn “bad”… and quick. We’ve been there and done that. And to be honest, when I think of the mistakes we made in the beginning it’s a wonder we did any family vacations after the first one. It was chaotic and so frustrating…. with plenty of crying (me doing most of it).
Thankfully the more we traveled with the kids, the smarter we became. It totally cut down on melt downs, boredom and mishaps. And who wouldn’t love that, right?
Here’s 4 things we discovered to help things go smoother when on the ole family vay-cay.

Involve kids in the planning

When my husband and I were taking my step-daughter to Florida this year we decided to get her in on the planning as well. We discussed what things did she want to do while there and gave her the chance to voice what attractions appealed most to her. Having her plan out some things got her excited about the trip which meant less whining later on. A total win-win!
I created a printable kid’s travel planner that she had fun filling out and it helped really get her get excited about the trip. Since she’s a bit of a worry wart and more of a “home body” than we are, she had several reservations. The planner let her see what we were going to be doing and have a better sense of what to expect.
If you think your kids would like the Printable Kid’s Travel Planner you can snag it for free further down in the post.

Look for kid specific attractions

If planning a vacation that isn’t a specific kid destination, like Disney for example, look for resorts or hotels with play areas for kids. If they have a place to run around, climb upon, and expend some energy it will make any day go smoother. One resort we visited in the Caribbean had costumed characters that frequented the grounds as well as a full splash pad area for kids. If staying in a city center rather than a resort, opt for ones near parks or playgrounds for easy play breaks that will keep the kids happy and try to book accommodations that don’t involve long commutes. When taking our kids to a Six Flags amusement park a few years back, it turned out our hotel was 45 minutes away, which added extra time onto an already long day. 

Get the medical insurance

What kid isn’t accident prone? Sometimes accidents happen… a trip and fall, a broken bone, or other mishap. As an anxious person, I like to get a handle on the location of the destination’s medical facilities ahead of time, both near the hotel or on the resort and also in the city vicinity where we are staying. Another must – we always make sure we have a first aid kit with us.
If you don’t opt for the travel insurance, make sure you have some sort of other insurance through your credit card or private insurance. Just be sure you contact them in advance to see exactly what’s covered.

Be mindful of time

I can’t stress this enough, and am totally guilty of wanting to do as many things in a day as possible. So while the idea of planning a full agenda of awesome activities sounds like a great idea don’t forget that kids tire easily and once the cranky pants are on, no one is having any fun. So with this in mind, we try to plan just a few things and see how the day goes. If we can do more, great, if not, we’ll save it for another day or scrap it altogether if time doesn’t permit.
So there you have it, some tips on traveling with the kiddos to help you survive the next time you are planning a trip. And hopefully, you won’t end up crying like I did. (lol)
Ciao for now…. and happy travels!

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