If you have ever traveled with more than three people, you should know that it is relatively far from traveling on your own. There are more things that you should consider, especially the itinerary itself. Traveling with a group of adults may be challenging to manage. Imagine traveling with your kids. Sounds stressful, right?
Luckily, it may seem overwhelming the first time around. Once you have overcome a few challenges and made the necessary adjustments, traveling with the entire family could be something that everyone will look forward to every year. Here are ten essential tips to help you and your family plan a kid-friendly trip and make every moment enjoyable.
1. Leave earlier for your scheduled flight.
One important thing that parents may miss out on during their first trip as a family is that everything takes much more time than just you and your partner. When traveling with kids, every single process will take longer than you expect. Going to the airport, getting through security, toilet breaks, even boarding the plane can take longer with kids.
Kids don’t control their bladders, wants, not even their own emotions, and you definitely do not want to miss a flight because you spent fifteen minutes trying to find the bathroom or a nearby convenience store.
2. Talk it over with your kids.
The concept is simple; if your kids are not happy about the trip, you probably won’t enjoy it. It is important to note that kids are more picky and sensitive about everything that is going on in their lives. You do not want to bring them anywhere or do anything that they are uncomfortable doing. Otherwise, you will have to deal with whining toddlers for the rest of the trip.
Once you have a plan in mind, have an outline and discuss it with your kids. Tell them where you are going and show them the fun activities that they can enjoy. They need to know what to expect, and you should also value their feedback. If it is their first time, please brief them about the airport procedures and proper behavior in different locations.
3. Let kids pick the activities.
As your kids grow older, they will want to have a say in the planning as well. Asking your kids what they want to do during the holiday will ensure that everyone is enjoying the trip. Do not make everything about you and include their interests in the itinerary as well. Put in the extra effort to show them a bunch of options that they can choose from.
4. Prepare ahead of time.
Plan everything, from the essential items to the clothes and even the bags you will use. You want to make sure that you do not bring more luggage than you can carry, so try not to overpack. Make a list of necessary and double-check if you have everything ready a night or two nights before the trip.
5. Make advanced reservations.
It is also essential to note that kids do not have the same tolerance as adults when traveling. Some will feel tired immediately after landing and whine about getting food or some sleep. That is why it is a good idea to pre-book your hotels when planning for the trip and pay the required down payment with credit cards to secure your reservations.
You can also book private transportations, sightseeing tours, private guides, restaurants, and museum tickets in advance. Try pre-booking all the destinations in your itinerary beforehand and do some research like things to do in Richmond, VA, or other desirable locations. This way, you do not have to worry about looking for a place to stay or an activity to do. Simply follow the schedule you have planned and not worry about arriving at fully-booked locations.
6. Never take your eyes off your kid.
It is a basic rule among parents to never leave their children unattended. They can get distracted easily and wander off. Losing your kid at the local mall is a huge nightmare; imagine losing them while you are in a different state or country. Fortunately, you can tell your kids to always stay with you, wherever you go.
If necessary, tell them to hold your hand at all times. It might be easier if you are traveling with another adult as you can share duties. Have one of them watch the kid while you are buying snacks or tickets. If you know your kid might potentially sneak away to a random toy store without asking for permission, you might want to consider using a small GPS tracker.
7. Bring electronic devices and accessories.
The key to a quiet trip with kids is keeping them happy and entertained. Ensure that all your electronic devices, from smartphones to tablets, are fully charged before your scheduled flight. Bring all the necessary cables and chargers to ensure that your battery does not run out during the travel.
Once you land, electronic devices are a great way of keeping them quiet throughout the ride from the airport to the hotel or other destinations. It can also keep them busy while waiting at restaurants or during long lines. Download games, movies, and shows that can be watched offline so that Wi-Fi will not be a problem.
8. Use public transportation.
When you reach a new location, kids tend to be curious about everything. You can bet that they will want to get their hands on anything and everything that meets their eye. Public transportation is an excellent way for them to explore the area and try new things. Let them experience a new view of the environment and let their curiosity grow.
9. Bring your patience with you.
You have to accept that things will not always go according to plan. There will be unexpected inconveniences such as closed attractions, unavailable destinations, moody toddlers, and other possible issues that are all normal occurrences when you travel with kids. Be patient and try not to lose it when things do not go your way.
How you react to your children can make a huge impact on their emotional well-being. If you can, try not to make it more stressful than it already is. Keep your family happy, your kids interested, and accept small changes in the itinerary. The key to solving minor or major issues when traveling is simply going with the flow instead of making a big deal out of the situation.
10. Plan your rest periods.
When you get to the new location, it might be easy to forget about taking a quick nap because of all the excitement. However, ensuring that all family members are well-rested and refreshed can help them remain energized to get an entire day’s worth of itinerary done. While it is normal to be excited during the first family outing, it is crucial to rest.
Besides, rest does not always equate to sleeping. You can just stay at the hotel with your family, play board games, or relax at a nearby park. Giving your bodies time to rest can help them push through a long day and get through jam-packed activities that are planned for the week.