How best to prepare for a holiday with the kids

Travelling with KidsHow best to prepare for a holiday with the kids

If you love going on vacation, you may find that traveling with kids can really change the way you prepare for and get to your destination. All the routines you have for keeping chaos at a minimum go out the window. Different time zones, different beds and different food can cause anything from temper tantrums to joyful giggling.

Keeping your kids on an even keel when you travel is not impossible. It just takes some planning and preparation. Here are some ideas on how best to prepare for a holiday with the kids.

If you are traveling overseas, you will want to check ahead of time for visa and vaccination requirements. You will also need to make sure all passports are up to date.

There are some locations that do not cater to children. Be sure to do some research on your destination, and check if there are activities for children. Make sure your hotel has some amenities that will make your stay easier, such as a swimming pool, family restaurants, laundry facilities or a nearby park. If you can afford it, consider getting a suite so you have more room to spread out once you arrive. You may want to check into babysitting or daycare for travelers, in case you want some time by yourself – or your significant other.

Traveling usually means being in close quarters. Whether you travel by car, train or plane, lots of time sitting can lead to sore muscles, and those close quarters can lead to bruises from regular play. A first aid kit helps with pain, cuts or other injuries (to all of you!). It should include sunscreen, bug spray and child-appropriate medicines for travel illnesses. You also want to keep your prescription drugs in the kit, and it should be easily accessible to you.

Your packing should include a change of clothing for all family members. Whether you have a baby or a small child, you know too well that spills and other mishaps occur frequently, and wearing dirtied clothing can make a cranky child more miserable – not to mention you. Include some wet wipes with your packing for on-the-fly clean-ups.

Be sure you have plenty of activities planned for your child. You may hope your child will sleep, but if not, the videos and games you download onto your tablet will keep you all calmer. If you are on an especially long flight, where you might run out of battery life, don’t forget a few books to pick up the slack. Vary the time your kids spend on activities so they don’t get restless.

Snacks are key to a better trip. They can fill the gap between airline meals (especially if you have a picky eater who won’t eat the airline food) and finding a place to eat once you arrive at your destination. They are also a change-up from a movie or game, so that your child doesn’t get bored with one activity. For parents with babies, don’t forget to plan how much formula you will need to prepare and pack.

Wherever you can include your kids in planning the trip, you should. This will make them feel invested in the trip. For example, if you are going to Paris, read books about it, have your kids draw pictures of some of the sights, and teach your child a few key French phrases, such as ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. If you are going to the Grand Canyon, take your child shopping for the proper safety equipment, such as hiking boots, a compass and a hat to block the sun. The more your kids know about where you are traveling, the more they can dive into the activities right from the start.

Whether you are going by car, train or plane, you can help your children get involved by getting them luggage they pack themselves. There is a great selection of kids’ luggage that is not only cute, but also offers standard features such as wheels, easy-access pockets and hands-free straps. Your kids will enjoy being in charge of their own bag, from packing to rolling around the train station. However, you will have to keep watch over what goes in the luggage – maybe set some rules about how many stuffed animals are allowed.

Getting prepared for a holiday with your kids is a breeze. If you do some research, make lists of things to take, and study up on your destination, you and your kids are bound to have a great time.