Family trips are an amazing way to create memories. But you want to be sure to create the good kind of memories instead of the teeth-clenching variety. And we all know that it can easily go either way when you’re traveling with the kiddos.
Kids simply aren’t built for long flights or car rides. Regardless of how well-behaved your littles may be, we can safely say that this isn’t their forte. But if you keep everyone busy and entertained throughout the trip, you can make some terrific memories that will last a lifetime.
This is the cardinal rule of traveling with kids (and hangry adults). Whatever you do, don’t skimp on the snacks. Try to bring a variety of snacks so people don’t get bored. You can separate them into Ziploc baggies for each day you’re away. This will help keep you organized and ready at all times.
Especially if you’re embarking on a road trip, it’s important to be organized. You’ll want everything you need at your fingertips, and this may require some advanced planning on your part. If you’re going on a road trip, use a backseat organizer for games, toys and coloring books to keep your kids entertained. If you’re hopping on a plane, keep a separate carryon bag for these items. A little organization can really go a long way on a family trip.
The typical road trip games can work anywhere, whether you’re a cab on the way to an excursion or on a plane en route to your destination. Creative games can also keep your kids interested in the journey, which is an important part of any vacation.
Plan a behavior system
If you have toddlers, you’re probably going to have some meltdowns. It’s just the way it goes. But if you lay out a behavior system upfront, this gives you a better chance at minimizing the damage. When you’re traveling, timeouts aren’t always an option. Try clipping stars with everyone’s name to the dashboard, seat in front of you or carryon bag. Just find a place where the clips can stay and everyone can see them. When someone’s clip comes down, that means they weren’t following the rules and they’ll miss out on the next treat.
Give everyone a job
It’s not just kids that need to stay busy, it helps with adult attention spans too. Give everyone a job on the trip and they may focus on their responsibility instead of getting into trouble. Some example jobs may be to open doors for everyone (designate one person to be the door opener), distribute snacks or control the radio. Each task can have its own set of rules, depending on how you want things to go. This will also take some responsibility off of your shoulders, which is always welcome.
Learn about your destination
Make the trip fun and educational by learning new facts about where you’re going, but make sure to keep them age appropriate to keep everyone interested. If you’re going to Disney World, you may show your toddlers pictures of the first Mickey Mouse cartoons (Steamboat Willy) to illustrate how much the drawings have changed. You may tell your older kids about how Walt Disney himself was the voice of Mickey Mouse until 1947. When your kids know more about the history and background of your destination, they may gain a deeper appreciation for your trip.
Traveling with kids can be challenging, but these are the moments that create lifelong memories. These trips are what your kids will recall when they’re planning trips with their own families. Prepare in advance and you’ll make each moment memorable.