What’s better than enjoying your favorite magazine, food, and music while you’re buckled up safely on the plane, away from everything for a little while, so you can set your mind free from everyday challenges and routines?
Of course, that’s what everyone expects from their travels, but if you ask any parent, you’ll realize that traveling with kids isn’t all that easy. Actually, is traveling with kids even considered a vacation..?
It depends on to whom you’re asking the question. Try asking any teenager what it’s like to travel with their younger siblings, or parents with kids all under the age of 5. They’ll tell you vacations are possible, but it requires lots of planning, planning, and more planning.
Whatever it is, don’t let these events stop you from traveling with your little ones. There are so many ways to enjoy your vacations together! Discover these 10 secrets for a wonderful family trip now.
1. Get recommendations from people
What do you usually do before you travel? You do your research, particularly about the destinations you’re planning on exploring. It’s even better if you already have a few places in mind. That’s the first step!
Just before you make your decision, it’s always good to get recommendations from other people. For example, you can read travel blogs by travelers with experiences traveling with kids, such as ytravel, Traveling Canucks, Solo Mom Takes Flight, Travel with Bender, and the Vacation Gals. Whether you’re traveling with toddlers, young children or teenagers, these blogs offer some of the best travel tips and recommendations you’ll find out there!
2. You don’t need to go too far
Parents, ask yourself this question: Do you take family vacations mainly to enjoy yourself, or to make your kids happy? If you pick the first option, there’s nothing wrong with that. You deserve to be happy after all, and having children shouldn’t be the reason to why you have to stop having fun.
If the latter is your answer, that’s okay too. The good thing is, there’s no need to go too far from home. Kids, especially 5 years and below, don’t really care where they go. All they care about is having fun and spending time with you!
Thanks to cheap flights, flying to neighboring countries is easier now. Furthermore, when you travel short distance, you can also travel light.
3. Pick a destination that your whole family will enjoy
As stated in point 2, kids don’t really care where they go. Even so, that doesn’t mean you should pick a place where they won’t enjoy, or only you will enjoy.
While you get recommendations from other people on family-friendly destinations, ask your kids what they like, too. If they like the beach, take them to an island getaway. If they like roller-coasters, take them to theme parks.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you’ve discussed everything thoroughly with every member of your holiday trip. Nobody should feel left out. After all, a wonderful vacation is when happiness is shared together.
4. Let everybody know what’s expected of everyone
Even if the only thing you can tell your kids is to behave themselves, just do that. At least your kids are aware of what’s expected of them. They’d know that you wouldn’t be happy if they misbehave. It’s always good to brief everyone in the group about your travel plans, such as where to go, what the whole family will do, and many other essential information to ensure that your family vacation will run smoothly.
However, be reminded that sometimes things don’t go according to plan, which is why it would be great to try make your kids understand this at the beginning of the trip. Try it, and perhaps you’ll see them throwing less tantrums on the road.
5. You don’t always have to do everything together
Although I’ve mentioned that it’s important to keep everyone involved in your family vacation as much as possible so they won’t feel left out or excluded from the group, it’s also important to acknowledge everyone’s differences and preferences. That being said, communication is important wherever and whenever. Always discuss with the whole family about the things all of you can agree on.
Children are usually more cooperative than adults and will follow your plans most of the time. If there are things that you and your partner or other members in the group need to discuss about, do that.
Say, you have your grandparents and cousins with you. If they prefer to laze by the pool while you and the rest of the family prefer to swim, you can agree that you don’t necessarily have to be doing everything together.
Should you need to spend private time at the spa, you can do that while your kids are fast asleep in the hotel room. Just make sure you don’t leave them alone without adult supervision.
6. Don’t travel beyond your means
Family travels aren’t the cheapest as they involve more than just one person. Unlike solo travels or traveling with friends, the costs of family travels are always higher. While you can’t make it cheaper, you can still make sure that your cost doesn’t exceed your budget.
Take note of the little things spent during your travels, because all of these can add up and potentially hurt your wallet. The last thing you want is getting stressed out about money throughout the trip. Traveling within your budget is also a good lesson to teach your kids about the importance of spending wisely even during holidays.
7. Appreciate what you have
Imagine when you’re on a good mood, looking forward to having a fun getaway you’ve been dreaming about, and then all of a sudden you come across someone who complains and whines about everything. You’ll find all kinds of characters on the road. That’s probably why many people, especially travel bloggers, believe that it’s important to travel with your partner before getting into serious relationship together. That’s because traveling can sometimes bring out the best and the worst out of people.
The best way to enjoy a vacation is to be appreciative. Be thankful for the chance you have to travel together with the whole family. Even when you’re mad or dissatisfied about something (or many things), always stay in control.
8. Respect family time, put your phones down
Many people don’t get the chance to travel as much as they want due to their hectic schedules. Therefore, it’s important to spend quality time during your travels when given the chance. Put your phones, or whatever gadget you have, down. Even if you have to answer to important phone calls and emails, limit your daily checks during your travel period.
Time waits for nobody, and your kids are growing fast. This is your chance to watch them grow and spend time with them before they start being more independent.
9. Have less restrictions on your kids
Home is where most of your strictest rules are put to action, but they don’t always have to be that way during your family vacation. Loosen up a bit, and let the kids enjoy and play, without being reckless (of course!). There are many ways to make your kids enjoy their vacations more. For example, you can let them enjoy more cartoons, let them eat their favorite cakes, or even buy them new toys. Whatever you decide to do, do it moderately. Perhaps you can reward your kids for behaving well during the trip!
10. Book your accommodation in advance
Whether you’re planning on staying in hotels or guest houses, it’s always recommended that you book your accommodation in advance. Booking in advance will make your journey smoother as you’ll know where you’ll go first thing when you arrive at your destination. It may also be able to save you more money. That’s because hotel room prices are usually more expensive when hotel bookings are done at the very last minute.
Do you have your own secrets for a wonderful family vacation? If you do, what are they?