Ten Family Travel Tips

Ten Family Travel Tips
Family fun

Family travel is both wonderful and daunting. It requires careful planning and organization. The good news is that every time it gets easier.

  1. Safety is number one. Make sure everyone is hydrated, accounted for and protected from the sun. Our pediatrician assured us we could bring our newborn to Jamaica. We kept him in the shade in his car seat under the sun shield.

  2. Create a must-pack list with items such as phone chargers. Save it for future reference to help avoid forgetting necessities. Pack related items in zip lock bags and have extra plastic bags just in case...

  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. Try to stay focused on your goal to have fun. Hope you get to enjoy the sunset and experience other simple pleasures.

  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 UV rays 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. Try to schedule flights when your kids should be sleeping.

  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 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!

What helps your family travel run smoothly?

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