Let’s face it: the drama that comes with traveling with the entire family can take the fun and excitement out of it. With kids — especially small ones — in tow, you potentially face tantrums brought on by boredom, hunger, and other such discomforts. Not only that, but you also face the prospect of making sure that every member of the family is accounted for and has everything they need at all times. It’s a lot to take in.
However, despite these concerns, there’s really no need to look at a family trip with trepidation. Rather, there’s still much to look forward to — especially the priceless memories you will inevitably make that will be cherished by the family for many years to come. The key lies in how you approach such an adventure.
Plan and Book in Advance
Spontaneity in travel is a romantic notion best left to those who do not need to worry about their kids on the road. As a parent, planning the salient details of your family trip is a necessary evil, not just to ensure that everything goes without a hitch but so that you also somehow hold on to your sanity. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to start with research. While this, of course, means getting basic information on your destination such as climate, food, and the like, you also have to answer some very important questions, too. Do you need visas and vaccines? Can you breastfeed in public? The whole nine yards.
It goes without saying that you also need to make advanced bookings on everything from flights to hotels to car rentals. “Winging it” is next to impossible when traveling as a group as most establishments might be hard-pressed to accommodate your numbers, especially during peak season. More importantly, booking in advance is also proven to be more cost-effective. It’s wise, therefore, to book hotel accommodations, airline tickets, and car rentals well ahead of time to guarantee comfort and convenience on your trip, as well as get more bang for your travel budget with online promotions and cashback offers.
Last but not least (as far as planning goes), if you’ll be traveling by car, get your vehicle checked out. That includes checking the oil and tires, of course, as well as the brakes. If the brakes need work, that’s one area where investing in top of the line parts is worth it for the sake of your family’s safety.
Pack the Essentials
How you pack will also contribute greatly to the success of your family adventure. Remember that you are leaving the creature comforts of your own home, and such a change — even temporarily — can be jarring to the little ones.
With this in mind, make sure to pack the essentials. At the most fundamental level, this will include weather-appropriate clothing, especially when traveling to climates that are drastically different from your local weather. Being too hot or too cold can put a literal damper on your trip, after all, and you really don’t want to put a dent on your travel funds buying emergency clothing at your destination just because you packed wrong.
Plan for Comfort
In the same vein, you also want to make sure that you plan and pack for comfort. During long flights or road trips, boredom is undoubtedly your worst enemy. An idle child will often be more prone to tantrums and trouble, making it crucial, indeed, to pack fun toys and activities and even gadgets to keep kids engaged. Packing items and electronics that your kids already own and use on the regular is, of course, the most cost-effective way to do this. However, it may also be worth investing in something new yet affordable to keep things interesting.
Equally as important is making sure that your family is sufficiently nourished on the road. Stops for meals and snacks can be few and far between during long trips, as are healthy foods. So, it’s prudent to pack your own snacks and baby food to bridge the gap between mealtimes and ward off hunger. Not only do you save money by buying less food on the road, but you can also take this as an opportunity to maintain your family’s healthy food habits.
Needless to say, your family trip is not at all doomed for failure. Rather, consider these tried-and-tested and often budget-friendly measures to guarantee that it’s a resounding success. Let the eventual fond memories speak for themselves!
Laura Pearson is passionate about teaching and loves writing to help teachers, parents, and students. She is passionate in advocating that learning should be fun and should not just be confined in the classroom. Edutude is her brainchild to be able to share free resources for teachers and parents.