It’s that time of year… summer is almost here and that means summer vacation time. Wahoo! We have always loved traveling with the family and making memories on a good road trip. However, it can also be stressful and challenging if you’re not well prepared. I thought I would share a few tips on how to make traveling with kids fun and stress-free from my experiences.
Some of our favorite family vacation road trips on the east coast have been traveling to the following destinations — Outer Banks in North Carolina, Florida (Disney World and Clearwater Beach), Niagara Falls; Stowe, Vermont; Bar Harbor, Maine, and the Great Smoky Mountains.
Here are a few tips we’ve learned along the way when traveling with small kids.
1. Plan Ahead
Before you travel, take the time to plan ahead. Make sure you research your destination and find out what activities and attractions are available for children. We took my youngest daughter to Disney World for the first time when she was 8-months-old. I know that might sound crazy, but I researched and Disney has great baby centers in each park so it was so easy to stop in to feed her and take a rest. I knew where all of them were at each park and it worked out great.
2. Keep Kids Entertained
Keeping your children entertained during travel is essential to a stress-free experience. Pack plenty of toys, books, and games to keep them occupied. You can also download
movies or TV shows onto a tablet or other device to keep them entertained during long flights or car rides. We always tried to limit iPad time, but when traveling we were always a bit more lenient on it.
3. Snacks and Drinks
Pack plenty of snacks and drinks for your children. This will not only keep them satisfied but also save you money on expensive airport or restaurant snacks. I always pack snacks for us, too.
4. Be Flexible
Traveling with children can be unpredictable, so it’s important to be flexible. This might be a big change for you, it was us. But just be prepared to change your plans if necessary and take breaks if your children become tired or cranky. Don’t try to pack too much into your itinerary and make sure to leave plenty of time for rest and relaxation.
5. Travel at Night (if you can)
My husband and I used to always leave a little later in the evenings and let the kids sleep while we drive. As we got older that got a little tougher for us, but when we were younger this was the best. Kids fall asleep and you drive through the night or at least until you find a hotel later in the evening. We always loved using this option.
6. Involve Your Children
Finally, involve your children in the planning process. Ask them what they would like to do and where they would like to go. This will not only make them feel included but also ensure that everyone has a fun and enjoyable trip. Our girls always enjoyed being a part of the planning process. We’d show them YouTube videos of where we were going or places online to help pick out activities.
In our experience, traveling with kids is the best. Hope these tips help and you have the best summer vacation. Happy travels.