Are We There Yet? Travel Tips for Parents and Kids

For decades, the family vacation has played a memorable role in the idea of the American Dream. In the past, the mention of a family vacation called to mind images of irritable, fidgety kids packed into the backseat of the family station wagon. Today, parents and children alike have far more options for exploring their world. This article features a selection of thoroughly modern approaches to traveling with kids that is infinitely more appealing.

Even though you may be tempted to reach your destination as soon as possible, children may not appreciate your single-minded focus. Break up the monotony of a long road trip by taking advantage of rest areas and roadside attractions. This allows kids and parents to use the restroom, stretch their legs and burn off excess energy.

In a perfect world, every single moment of your family vacation would fall perfectly into place according to your itinerary. Unfortunately, this is not the case. As you plan the trip, it never hurts to create an entirely different contingency plan. This ensures that minor annoyances like lost reservations, attraction closures and sub-par accommodations do not threaten to ruin your time together. Familiarize yourself with second choices for hotels, entertainment and car rentals. When children are involved, it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Many children interpret boredom as hunger, so always pack healthy snacks while traveling. Avoid sweets and sugary drinks; instead, opt for filling treats like trail mix, dried fruit and whole grain crackers. This is especially useful for long flights with no layovers. If you are driving to your destination, pack a cooler with lunch meats, cheeses, yogurt and fresh fruits; this will save you from spending your money on greasy fast food.

If your family plans to travel via airplane, inquire whether the airline offers the option to pre-board. Getting small children settled in for a long flight involves a flurry of activity and movement, which is often difficult to accomplish with other passengers trying to find their own seats. Even if you have to pay a small fee to do so, you will find that it is well worth it.

At home, parents generally encourage kids to spend time away from the television, but most are willing to make an exception for long trips. Load a portable DVD player or other playback device with your child’s favorite cartoons and movies. Watching a beloved film works wonders for passing the time, and it also buys an hour or two of quiet time for adults. Better yet, bringing your own movies can save you the expense of ordering an on-demand film in your hotel room.

Vacation should be a time to bond with and enjoy the company of your entire family in a memorable setting. As your family grows, however, reaching your destination often becomes more hectic. Fortunately, there are many ideas and activities that will make your trip as painless as possible. Follow these guidelines and prepare yourself to make a memory for life!

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