The family vacation is about as old as time itself. Whether you’re a baby boomer who can remember getting in the family station wagon, a millennial stuck in the middle seat on the plane, or a Gen Z who’s done it all and more, it’s not always easy to travel as a family.
And let’s be fair, we can’t always blame the parents who are funding this little journey. Traveling as a family, especially with younger children, can often be so stressful that you feel like you need a vacation from the vacation.
That’s why we’ve put together seven easy tips to give mom, dad, brother, sister, and everybody else who’s come along for the ride a much easier time.
1. Organization is Everything
Organization is the secret to any trip. Rummaging for tickets, toys, or treats can really add unnecessary stress.
While traveling, there are so many things you have to pay attention to. The only way to stay ahead of it all is by keeping organized. Pack hierarchically and have one designated spot where you keep passports, wallets, and phones. Then create another space dedicated for toys and games and a third for snacks. Always keep things in the same place and return them to where they belong.
Encourage the kids to do the same. You can even create a little game of it!
2. Pay Attention to Online Privacy
These days, few families go anywhere without a suite of gadgets. Kids now have an array of devices like tablets, smartphones, handheld gaming devices, and more.
To avoid worrying about children’s online safety (and privacy) while traveling, you’ll need a few helpful and cost-effective software tools. You’ve likely already enabled parental controls on your children’s devices. But you also need to make sure nobody is tracking their online activity (and yours for that matter).
The easiest way to do this is with a VPN. A VPN or virtual private network encrypts and anonymizes your internet connection, greatly enhancing your online privacy and security. They are especially important while using unsecured public WiFi networks.
In addition, you can also use them to unlock streaming content while traveling abroad so you can still stream your kids’ favorite shows from Amazon Prime, Netflix, and other platforms wherever you go!
3. Bring the Kids into the Planning Process
You definitely know by now that one of the reasons why kids can be a little difficult is that they’re bored. It’s easy for parents to get distracted by planning and organizing everything that they leave the kids just standing there and staring.
Instead, once your kids are old enough, you can have them be a part of the process. Begin by setting a daily trip goal. It could be trying a new food or finding a unique place.
Next, empower them in other ways, like giving them a choice between which sights to see or places to eat. Don’t forget to use that parental superpower of leading them in the best direction for everyone!
4. Limit Screen Time
The easiest temptation once kids get a little edge is to throw a screen in front of a child to quiet them down. If you have another 500 miles of desert, this might be fine.
However, you need to keep everyone in the moment during the main parts of the trip. And that also means mom and dad! Take time to be present, and enjoy this rare opportunity you have to spend time together!
Forget about Facebook and focus instead on the great time you’re having together as a family.
5. Create A Little Meaningful Time With Your Partner
With everyday stress and kids, you and your partner deserve a little quality time. If you choose a family-friendly resort or another kid-friendly option, you’ll get a little free time.
For instance, if you’re comfortable leaving the kids for a while in a hotel room, then you can rent them a movie and order room service while the two of you sneak out for a little date night. The kids will enjoy a little freedom like this too!
6. Not Everything Will Be Perfect
You never know what can happen while traveling. Both you and your kids get out of your comfort zone. Little things may pop up along the way that might stress everyone out.
Instead, use this as a teachable moment for your kids to see. Be the person who can make lemonade out of lemons! Not only will this help you reduce stress, but it will show your kids how to roll with the changes.
7. Consider Using a Travel Agent
Nowadays, travel agents seem like a quaintly anachronistic practice. Why would you use one when you can easily book everything online?
Similar to how you hire a professional to fix your car or cut your hair, travel agents are experts who can help you have a better vacation. They not only have tricks for helping you save money, but can also plan kid-friendly activities, get upgraded, and even be a go-to person in the event of any hiccups.
It also takes a huge amount of stress from your shoulders so you can better enjoy the vacation yourself.
Your Next Amazing Vacation
Traveling with children is such a fantastic opportunity to bond as a family. And it doesn’t have to be stressful at all. Prepare yourself, keep the kids engaged, and have an incredible family adventure that you’ll never forget!