Ten Family Travel Tips

Family travel is daunting. The kids and I both have meltdowns trying to get out the door with everything we need before any type of vacation, but every time it gets easier.

Travel stress

Travel stress

Last August I  locked us out of our place  as we eagerly waited outside for the cab. I was hysterical and thought someone stole our luggage. It all worked out, but seemed impossible in the moment. Organization and planning on the front end (easier said than done!) help you keep your cool to avoid antics like mine...

And, these simple tips help. Please share your own tricks in the comments.

How to Survive Family Travel:

  1. Create a must-pack list with items such as phone chargers and save it for future reference to help avoid forgetting necessities. Pack related items in zip lock bags.
  2. Always have puke bags accessible weather you travel with kids by car, boat or plane!
  3. Carry extra changes of clothes during transit in case anyone gets sick or has a diaper blow-out, which also requires extra diapers and wipes.
  4. Always have extra snacks handy.
  5. Bring plenty of liquid (if you travel by air, be aware of airport security rules so your liquid doesn't get pitched) so everyone stays hydrated.
  6. If you travel with small children by plane, feed them anything from milk to lollipops during ascent and descent so their ears don't pop.
  7. Protect against the sun with sun glasses, hats, and long sleeves and pants when possible.
  8. Distract kids so they don't fight or fuss with books, stickers, puzzles and apps/videos on phones or other devices.
  9. Time travel with kid nap times bring extra peace.
  10.  Identify a reward to motivate your family such as a swim in the pool after a long drive (that was my parents' trick) or ice cream after a long challenge such as a hike.

Even though family vacations are supposed to be fun, they are also stressful and chaotic.  It's helpful to develop strategies to minimize stress. If your little ones are screaming, turn up the music to distract them (and you!). I nostalgically remember my Dad pulling over our mini van with four kids, my Mom and Grandma, multiple times as we traveled 500 miles a day on road trips.  He would scare us to behave with his stern voice, "I'm 34 years old! I shouldn't have to put up with this!" Now that I'm that age, I may try the same thing...although my voice isn't as stern as my Dad's.  Maybe I'll stick to snapping photos and turning up the tunes. I'm glad my husband's stern voice intimidates our kids!

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