Traveling with children is fun, adventurous and oh yeah…..just a little stressful. After ten years of traveling with my own children, I have picked up some useful tips and tricks to make sure everyone has an enjoyable and relaxing vacation.
- Fly to your destination the afternoon or evening before you plan to start your vacation.
We used to depart on our flight early in the morning, which meant landing and hitting the ground running. Going right from the plane to our first sight-seeing spot or amusement park was stressful for everyone. Flying in the night before means we pay an extra night at the hotel, but the children have time to adjust, get some rest, and wake refreshed the next morning. Taking the time to ease into your vacation is worth it. I promise!
- For domestic travel, apply for TSA Precheck. For International, apply for Global Entry.
TSA Precheck is an expedited security screening program for passengers considered low-risk. In layman’s terms, we get to walk through our own separate security line and with no need to remove shoes, laptops, liquids, belts, etc. Imagine it! No trying to hold onto one kid while putting on your belt and attempting to wrangle a random shoe that was left on the screening belt. We know how hard it is to get shoes on when leaving the house let alone in an airport full of distractions! Precheck makes walking through security a lot easier.
- Get access to a Lounge in the Airport, and take full advantage of it!
Most airports have lounges that provide food, drinks, bathrooms, and places to charge all of your devices. They are a comfortable space away from the hustle and bustle of the airport. There are a number of ways to gain access to these lounges and they vary by airport, some examples include your credit card carrier, whether you are member of a priority club, if you have preferred status with your airline, or the type of air ticket you bought. Some lounges will even let you pay to enter. The airport lounge has been crucial in finding peace in a chaotic place for our family.
- Fill a carry on with activities and snacks for the kids
The flight itself contains the most variables. It can be frustrating to feel like you have no control. Our standard has been to entertain our kids to the best of our ability. For each trip I bring something new and exciting depending on my kids’ ages and personalities.
When my daughter loved coloring, I always had a new coloring book and crayons. For my son, the builder, I tried to find new and interesting lego sets. Don’t count on the in-flight service to provide snacks. It may be a while before they get to your row or turbulence can cancel the service entirely. Don’t let the kids go hungry. Good easy snacks are baggies of dried fruit, crackers, and water. Most airports have purified water stations where you can fill your own bottle that you bring from home. As a mom, I know that happy kids = happy flight.
- Remember the big picture!
When you finally arrive at your destination, remember that you are there to relax and enjoy a trip with your family. It is easy to feel the need to do everything and see everything, I assure you a healthy balance of action and downtime will pay off. Yes, the children may be upset if they have to miss that last ride at Disney, but if you push it, you risk them becoming overly tired, having a meltdown, and marring the rest of an incredible day.
After our family vacations, my children spend the most time talking about the experiences that weren’t planned. My husband and I realized that stressing over planning every minute isn’t what our children remember later in life. They remember that we spent time together as a family and had an adventure. Let me help remove some stress from your family vacation. I am more than happy to offer more suggestions and plan your next memorable family getaway!