As summer starts to wind down for the year, your family may be planning to squeak in one last big trip, or be looking to plan the next one.
Here are some tips that can help make traveling with kids a little bit (or a lot!) smoother:
Fly (or Drive) Red-Eyes
What may seem unappealing to many can be a blessing to traveling parents. The red-eye flights that go overnight to your destination can really help curb jet lag and schedule-interruption for your little ones. If they’re young and have trouble sitting still for long periods of time, this is a great way to address that issue as well. When it’s time to board the plane or get in the car, putting them in their PJs, reading their favorite bedtime book, and giving them their favorite stuffed animal to drift to sleep with can be the magic trick to having them arrive rested to their destination the next day.
Parents, Please Prepare for Arrival
Arrange in advance for someone to meet you at the airport (or wherever you’re arriving) and pick you up. Having transportation pre-booked and arranged can make travel with family much, much easier and smoother than trying to figure out how to get a taxi and get to your hotel, especially in a foreign country or a big city. Being able to grab your bags and step right outside into a waiting transport keeps from wasting valuable time and good spirits!
Have a Solid Plan for Dealing with Jetlag
Even with a good red-eye plan, it’s important to build in plenty of rest and recovery time the first day of your vacation. While you may be tempted to “make the most” of your time away, naps and down time are a good thing – for everyone! – and might be the key to making the most of the vacation overall. Regular life is often so busy and scheduled and hectic, make your vacation time – especially the day after arrival – a time of rest and under-scheduling things. You can always add more if everyone is up for it, but no one’s going to have a great time if they’re under-rested from a big journey!
Make a Walking Out the Door List
Remember the movie Home Alone? The moments before you leave for the airport, train station, cruise terminal, etc., can be the most hectic of your vacation and important things can be left behind (hopefully not one of the kids, though!). You can make it a lot easier on yourself by making a list for the moment you walk out the door. Not a “Things to Pack” list, but the things you physically need to do or be carrying with you right as you go out the door – set the alarm, check the stove, lock the door, be sure you have your two suitcases, purse or wallet, phone, car keys, the baby’s milk from the fridge, the kid’s suitcase and jacket for the plane, the snacks from the counter, so they’re not still sitting waiting right there for you when you get back in a week…etc. A simple list drawn up the night before can save you a lot of thinking in the morning! And don’t forget the kids!