Family travel. The thought of it can strike fear into the hearts of the bravest of men. Long rides in planes and cars, countless pee breaks, and directions that just don’t know when to be right. Sometimes just leaving the house can take so long that you may feel ready to give up.
But family travel doesn’t have to be hard. In fact, it can be downright incredible. Travel can help you grow as a family by seeing each other in a new light, outside of your comfort zone. To help you make the most out of your vacation time, here are 8 ways to make family travel amazing!
Ignore the weather forecast! You know they’re never right anyway. Prepare for any possibility with gear for hot days on ski trips, cold days on beach trips, and rain, always prepare for rain!
Remember that kids aren’t as developed as you are, so they get overheated or chilled faster, and sometimes they don’t know it until it’s too late. Don’t forget about the trip home either. While de-boarding a plane after a week in the Caribbean in your flip-flops might sound fun, stepping out into the cold drizzle to get to your car will suck.
Make sure you’ve got a kit prepared for emergencies. Band-aids (you know the kids like the Star Wars ones, so don’t skimp out), ointments, sunscreen, allergy meds, etc.
Check out this list of must-have gear to keep kids healthy, and you’ll be off to the races.
Check your documents
Don’t be that Dad that shows up at the border just to get turned away because you forgot to renew your passports! International travel can require a load of paperwork, so wherever you’re going, make sure you’ve got all the documents lined up before you go.
Visas can usually be purchased at the destination, but not always, so check before you go. There is a really cool site that allows you to check Visa requirements for any country, check it out!
Don’t forget the snacks
Nothing says family fun like hanger! All logic and reason disappear and tempers become as short as freshly cut grass. Don’t let this happen to you!
Make sure you have healthy, portable snacks ready to keep the love flowing in your little family. Granola bars, fresh or dried fruit, and nuts n’ raisins will help keep you and your tots adventuring until lunch time.
Leave the toys at home
You might think I’m crazy for saying this, but I’m serious! Your kids won’t need toys when you’re away. They’ll have a whole new world around them to explore. Whether it’s a beach, a cottage or a jungle, leaving, or at least limiting toys to one a piece will help spark your kids’ imagination and open them up to the world around them! Movies and video games can be good for the car ride, but once you close that door, lock the tech in the trunk.
It’s not all about you
Sure, you work hard all week and you deserve a break, but your kids feel the same way. School can be tough and kids need to unwind as much as Dad. Make sure you plan a few activities around what they like. Find something your kids love and focus at least a couple of hours on it. It’s those moments that spark a light in the minds of kids and can mean the difference between amazing family memories and bland ones.
Hand over that camera
I know you love taking pictures with your new camera, but monkey-see, monkey-do. Kids love doing what they see their parent’s doing, so handing over the camera to your little ones is a great way to let them get a new perspective on the world around them. You never know, you may end up with a few fun photos of yourself this year!
It’s super important to remember that your kids experience life at a different speed than you do. Sometimes it’s lightning fast, but usually, it’s painfully slow. Give them time to stop and smell the roses, count the sheep, chase the butterflies or whatever else catches their attention. Remember you’re on vacation, time isn’t as pressing as it is when you’re at work.
To help you schedule, think about how long it would normally take you to do something, and double it. You may not get a chance to see everything on your list, but at least you’ll have a great time doing the things you do see.
Make family travel amazing!
Remember to let kids be kids. Doing this can give them the chance to experience something new that might stick with them for the rest of their lives. If you take your time and focus on each other, when your family gets home, you’ll end with memories you can share with each other for a lifetime.