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While you may have enjoyed fun, footloose and fancy-free vacationing before the kids came along, that really doesn’t mean that you can’t have equally as fun and rewarding family travel. In fact, seeing new locations and exploring new experiences through the eyes of your kids—life really doesn’t get better, more rewarding or more inspiring than that.
Yes, family travel kids can bring added stressors — did we pack a pacifier? What if we run out of their snacks? What if they cry the whole way on the plan? — but there are some secrets to planning a stress-free getaway with the kids:
Prepare (A Lot) for Family Travel
It seems like Benjamin Franklin knew what he was talking about with family holidays when he said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
But seriously, the more time and effort you put into preparing for family travel, the smoother it will run. That means you’ll get more enjoyment out of it too. SCORE! Especially if this is your first getaway since the kids came along, you’ll want to put in extra effort.
Just because you’re on the road, doesn’t mean that routines need to change that much. If you know you’re going to be having a few long road trips, plan and pack food accordingly so you can keep to meal times.
Definitely find room in your bags for your kid’s favorite toys and buff up on your travel games; ‘Eye Spy’ only stays fun for an hour, at the very most!
Find the Best Family Travel Accommodations
These days, hotels are very child-friendly, and the staff is usually more than happy to help in any way that they can. Yet, if you’re the kind of parent who likes to have total control over meal times, clothes washing and how your day is structured, then you may be better off finding a holiday villa or condo instead.
There are vacation rentals in Gulf Shores, as well as New York, California – wherever you wish to go. Through private accommodation, you are able to unwind and not worry about having young kids in a hotel.
Remember to Relax
No matter how hard you plan and find the optimum location for your family travel destination, you can never prepare for all eventualities — and why would you want to, spontaneity is part of the fun of getting away! If, or when, something unexpected occurs, try to roll with it; it’s truly unlikely to be something you can’t handle.
Remember to relax, for several reasons. After all, it’s your vacation too, and you won’t come home feeling rejuvenated if you’ve been uptight the whole time.
More importantly, as a parent you’ll be modeling the behavior you want your kids to grow up mirroring; being able to relax and enjoy the moment is a wonderful lesson to pass down.
Krystle Cook – the creator of Home Jobs by MOM – put her psychology degree on a shelf and dived into a pile of diapers and dishes instead. She is a wife and mother to two rambunctious boys, sweating it out in her Texas hometown. She loves cooking, DIY home projects, and family fun activities.