Let’s not kid ourselves, family vacations can often be more stressful than relaxing, especially with young children in tow. While you and your spouse may dream of relaxing resorts and luxury cruises, odds are you’re squeezing everyone in the car for a road trip or hoping your kids fall asleep on the plane. That’s not to say we parents don’t love spending time away with the whole family, but it wouldn’t be nice to have a stress-free guarantee?
Well, guarantees may be hard to come by, but there are a number of ways to help keep your travel stress to a minimum. Keep a few of these tips in mind when your next vacation rolls around.
Get The Kids Involved
When choosing where to go, make sure your kids are part of the process. This will help ensure that they’re excited about the trip and the new experiences they’ll have. Start with bigger, more general questions like, “Would you prefer warm or cold weather?” “What kind of clothes do you want to wear?” and from there, you can start narrowing it down. Of course, you and your spouse may have a certain destination in mind. If that’s the case, try to give them other ways to get involved in the planning, like choosing what to eat for breakfast in the mornings, or what activities to do as a family.
Once you’ve narrowed it down, you can have the whole family vote from a list of potential locations. But prepare for the likelihood that someone will be upset with the outcome, and be ready to offer them some exciting selling-points to help ease their mind.
Pack As Light As Possible
Packing light will simplify everything from keeping track of luggage, to choosing daily outfits. And to really make sure you’re following through, stick to a one-bag-per-person rule. If this is truly impossible, you can add one additional large suitcase for the entire family. The less you bring, the less you’ll have to carry, and if you have to consider carrying your child at some point, a minimal amount of baggage will be ideal.
Limit the number of clothes you pack by planning to hand wash any soiled items in your hotel sink each night and either laying them flat or hanging them on the shower rack to dry. If this sounds like too much work, you should easily be able to find a local laundry service pretty much anywhere in the world.
Packing light will limit your child’s options for clothes, toys, food, etc., and therefore streamline the decision making process; keeping any arguments to a minimum.
Schedule Some Downtime
In addition to the many fun activities you have planned, you should also have a healthy balance of quiet time built into your schedule. High activity, day after day can leave your children more likely to feel tired, cranky, and irritable. Try scheduling the big activities and events for either the morning, or afternoon, and leave the other open for some lounging/relaxation time.
If your itinerary necessitates a full day of high energy sightseeing, then try to balance it out the following day with something more low-key. For example, if you’re spending Monday at the overwhelmingly crowded new theme park, then maybe Tuesday is the day you hang around the hotel pool and hit up a local restaurant. Giving your kids (and yourself) some downtime will lessen the chances of you feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation!
Let It Go
Traveling will rarely go completely according to plan. There will be inevitable delays, unexpected complications, and sometimes literal bumps in the road. If you’re traveling with multiple kids, chances are that somewhere along the way, these issues will cause or cater to a breakdown, temper tantrum, argument, or some combination of the three. My advice here may be easier said than done: let it go.
Just because that phrase reminds you of a song you may be sick of by now, doesn’t mean it you shouldn’t keep it in mind. If you feel yourself starting to lose it, take a breath, and remind yourself that you are setting the tone for your entire trip. The more easy-going you can be about things, the easier your vacation becomes. Setting this example will have a ripple effect on the rest of the family, encouraging them to treat any problems in the same, carefree manner.
Vacation stress may be inevitable, but there are definitely ways to reduce your travel anxieties when it comes to a trip. Keep these tips in mind, and they’ll go a long way to help you have a stress-free family vacation. What are some of your family travel tips?
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions are my own. See Disclosure for details