|Family vacations. For some, those words bring back fond memories and warm feelings. For others, they evoke feelings of stress and the interruption of routines. While traveling with your children can provide you with some of your most cherished memories, we understand that it also brings along an entirely new set of plans and considerations. Fear not! We’ve pulled together five of our favorite tips to make your next family vacation as stress-free and relaxing as can be.
1 – Strategically Plan Your Travel Times
As a parent, you know that your children have certain times of day where they are more awake, tired, antsy and cranky. When you’re planning your travel, don’t fight their natural cycle of moods throughout the day! We’ve found that the best time to take a longer car ride or flight is when our little ones are a little tuckered out. A great way to make this happen? Swimming! Before checking out of your hotel, take them down to the pool and let them work off all of their energy (without them even knowing it).
2 – Give Them a Camera
Not only will you love the pictures they capture of their feet, flowers and their hotel bed, but you might even be surprised at what different views they see from their knee-high view. Giving them a disposable or kid-friendly digital camera will keep them focused on a singular task and also let them tell their own story of the trip.
3 – Have Them Keep a Travel Journal
Whether it’s in doodles, daily entries, a collection ticket stubs or all of the above, your kids will love keeping a record of their journey now and will be even happier when they’re older and have a library of memories to look back on. You can also have them make checklists for what they want to do during the next day and have them check off each activity as you go.
4 – Have A Surprise Bag for Checkpoints on Your Trip
When planning out your trip, make certain checkpoints along the way (we suggest every hour or so) to pull out a surprise gift to keep them entertained. Head to your local Dollar Store, pick up small toys and snacks and place a few in each bag for them. If you’re staying at one of our Country Inns and Suites By CarlsonSM properties, you can also use the Read It and Return Library to give them a new literary adventure to explore during your stay. The surprises will keep them engaged, involved and always looking forward to the next checkpoint!
5 – Bring Baby Wipes
Even if your children no longer need these wipes as part of their daily routine, don’t forget the baby wipes. These little helpers will be your secret weapon for washing sticky hands, cleaning toilet seats and wiping down restaurant tables. Messy hands or emergency bathroom breaks are no longer the incident they’ve been in the past.