Family vacations are all about making memories together and enjoying new experiences. Half the fun is watching your children discover the big, wide world around them for the first time. Don’t let temper tantrums and fickle behavior put a blight on your family getaway.
Ditch the Itinerary
It’s fine to have a plan in place, but parents know that spontaneity is the spice of life because even though children thrive on schedules, they’re unpredictable little creatures who don’t always react well to change. By all means, know what you want to do during your vacation. Bullet-point all the places you have to see and the activities you need to do. Now, stop. Understand that an hour-by-hour itinerary might not stand up under the strain of bored or fussy children. You have to pay attention to starting times and business hours, but keep the timeline relaxed.
That being said, maintain your child’s schedule when you’re exploring a new city. Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean that routines should go out the window. Enforce nap times for the kids — and the adults. You’ll need the rest. Make sure mealtimes are regular too. Hungry kids are cranky kids.
Take It Slow
Kids love to explore, so give your little ones time to figure out this unfamiliar place. If possible, let them wander through the airport a little. Give them the opportunity to check out the plane or the train as well, as long as you’re respectful of the other passengers. On a road trip, take frequent stops — not just for potty breaks, but to view roadside attractions.
Once you reach your destination, it’s essential to seek out kid-friendly activities. Don’t set a strict schedule. Your kids might love the zoo so much that they don’t want to leave right away. That’s all right — as long as you build in time to linger, learn, and make memories.
Stay Off the Beaten Path
Avoiding crowded tourist destinations ensures a serene getaway with or without children. When you travel with the kids, however, it’s especially helpful to stay in a tranquil spot. The hotels are quieter, the crowds outside are somewhat thinner, and there’s no pressure. You can search for hotels in Wrightsville Beach, for example, where the vibe is more laid back than it is at Myrtle Beach, Ft. Lauderdale, or Miami. Outside-the-box locales often offer lower prices at hotels, restaurants, and other attractions as well.
Choose a Kid-Friendly Destination
Maybe you’re dying for a golf vacation or can’t wait to see a museum in a particular city. That’s understandable — it’s your vacation too. With the kids in tow, however, you have to make sure some activities will entertain younger travelers. Whether it’s a water park, a hands-on kid museum, or a zoo, the children need fun experiences to occupy their time.
Follow these tips and you won’t come home feeling like you need a vacation from your vacation. How do you keep the kids happy when you take a trip?