Embarking on a family vacation is a terrific way to make life-long memories together—though the occasion may come with its fair share of stress. Unfortunately, moody teens and expressive little ones often become overwhelmed while away from home, overstimulated and overtired from excessive traveling.
Though a meltdown or two is to be expected, you can prevent tantrum-filled days and restless nights by following the tips below.
Avoid road trips where possible
Though a road trip with little ones may sound like a fun-filled adventure, with eye-spy games and singalongs to pass the time, the reality is often unpleasant and anxiety-ridden. Young ones need regular stimulation and movement to keep their minds and bodies at ease, so lengthy car rides can quickly turn disastrous.
Instead of forcing fussy kiddos to stick out a cross-country road trip, consider researching how to ship a car to another state for long-term stays and take a short flight to your destination.
Plan and prepare
While some spontaneity can be thrilling on vacation, prepping and planning are essential to keep the family safe and happy. Think through the details of each day, including what you’ll eat, how your kids will nap, and how you’ll get from place to place to avoid messy meltdowns in public places.
Planning ahead can also ensure you get the best deals and prices to make your vacation more affordable. As you make your detailed itinerary, include confirmation numbers, important contacts, and necessary documents to make travel a breeze.
Leave plenty of time, all the time
Few things are more stressful than rushing while in unfamiliar lands, so make sure you think ahead and leave plenty of time to arrive at your destinations. On average, planning an extra thirty minutes to an hour for travel time should be a perfect cushion for unexpected delays.
This policy applies to the airport, sightseeing destinations, reservations, and any other time-sensitive activities during your vacation. In the end, you’d rather stay ahead of schedule than fall behind and miss the adventure.
Pack light but smart
By the time your kids are toddlers, you know just what you need to bring for an afternoon out of the house. Their needs won’t magically multiply on vacation, so don’t bring more than you need. You’ll feel encumbered by heavy luggage if you do, making it more difficult to access your essentials and move from destination to destination.
Stick to their routine
Chances are, your kids are prone to meltdowns when tired or hungry, which doesn’t change on vacation. In fact, the stress of traveling can create a more volatile situation, and their little minds and bodies need the safety of routine to maintain equilibrium.
So, try to stick to their typical sleeping and eating schedules, helping them adjust to the new scenery and activities.
While you want to be a stickler about meals and sleep, you should strive for flexibility with everything else. After all, things will go wrong from time to time, whether it’s rain on your beach day or an unexpected cancellation.
Little ones feed off of your energy. If you let inconveniences affect your mood and demeanor, your children may become stressed and tantrum-prone. That said, if you need a break to calm down or relax, take it.
Additionally, don’t force terrified little ones to do something that isn’t right for them at the moment. Go with the flow, and everyone will have a better time.
By planning your itinerary, staying ahead of schedule, and remaining flexible during activities, you’ll be on your way to a fun-filled family vacation. After all, you only have so many years to explore with young ones, so take advantage of every second.