Who doesn’t want a peaceful, memorable summer vacation or even a simple getaway? But apparently, all the parents can understand that things aren’t the same as they were before having kids. Summer is never the same as it used to be, with the constant stress about the kids. Parents have a huge responsibility during vacation while they’re trying to relax. For lucky parents with easy-going kids, it’s great, but for those with grumpy energetic kids traveling can become a hassle.
No need to worry anymore! You are at the right place. From a list of experts and personal experiences, we have gathered the top 15 tips for parents while traveling with kids (from infants to teenagers). These minor details can sometimes be forgotten while planning, so making a checklist would be a great idea to not forget anything.
- Leave for the airport early
It might not seem relevant but it is with the kids. Check-ins and security checkpoints can take a lot of time with the kids, as adults we know how to go through the airport but kids will need your assistance which makes the task a little lengthier. It is advised to do online check-ins if possible, to avoid roaming around the airport with the kids. With kids, arriving early is also helpful as you never know when they might get hungry or want to use the washroom. By arriving early, they will have plenty of time to settle down and get prepared for the flight.
- Schedule long layovers
While a non-stop short-haul flight might seem tempting, it can be exhausting for kids especially when you have an infant or toddler with you. With long-layover flights especially during international travel like flights from Delhi to New York, kids can have a break and refresh themselves for another flight. They might like to eat or use the washroom during the layover. If it’s a very short flight then it’s your call for non-stop but more than 4 hours of flight calls for a layover with kids.
- Pack smartly instead of over packing
This is a very common mistake that every parent makes. Traveling with kids doesn’t call for over-packing but instead smart packing. Pack the outfits according to the number of days of travel and at most two pairs of extra fits for an emergency. Packing cubes are cheap yet very useful hack for smart packing. You can get them from target or online and divide the items to avoid clutter later on during unpacking.
- Pre-book almost everything
Package deals are great options when traveling with family as it is cheaper and will save you a lot of time for planning. Rentals, hotels, and most activities are already booked including a meal or so. If you are not comfortable with package deals, you can book everything yourself earlier, to avoid any last-minute inconveniences as kids tend to get grumpy or bored easily.
- Don’t forget the snacks
Snacks are such a great way to get your hangry kids to stop bothering you. Food can’t be available everywhere and every time your child gets hungry till you get to a place to eat, snacks can distract them a little bit. Packing their favorite snacks is the best idea, if they are unhealthy just make sure you still have a few of them. Let your kid eat those snacks, it’s vacation time.
- Child discounts
Obviously, vacation will get expensive and over-budget with kids but you can ask for child discounts everywhere you go from flight tickets to restaurants and activities you do. Most of them do offer a child discount but don’t give it right away until asked, so don’t hesitate to ask as it will save you a few dollars.
- Keep your contact information to the kids
For your child’s security and safety, it is best to have your contact information with them. If you’ve teenagers with you, then you can make them mesmerize your contact information. In the case of toddlers or infants, keep a note in their pockets with their name, your name, at least two contact numbers, and home, and hotel address. It is best to make your toddlers and teenagers aware of approaching an authority in case of emergency instead of a random stranger which can sometimes be dangerous.
- Pack the basic medicines
Have a designated mini bag for emergency medicines for vomiting, nausea, headache, stomach ache, bandages, etc. Don’t forget to pack prescribed medications for allergic reactions if any. This stuff might seem useless, yes, you might not use anything at all during the trip but just in case you need to use it, it is difficult to locate nearby pharmacies and it consumes a lot of time.
- Take the chargers for the electronic devices
Kids nowadays can be easily distracted by electronic gadgets. They are usually addicted to their devices and can get irritating if the device gets shut down. It is obviously not a good habit but vacation is also not the right time to teach them. So it’s better to keep their devices charged for their free time entertainment.
- Bring toys
If your infant or toddler has a particular favorite toy, don’t forget it in any case as they might get sad or through a tantrum if they don’t get their toy when needed. It’s best to avoid such situations, especially in public.
2. Give them a camera or a journal
If you feel like your child is a little responsible, then handing them a cheap camera to take pictures will not only keep them engaged but also will be great for memories in the future. If you can’t give them a camera, convince them to write every day at night about what they did and their feelings about it. It will be super cute to look back at the journal in the future and while they write it each night you can have some alone time.
3. Don’t change the hotel unless you change the city
Changing hotels can be tempting with all the offers and deals but with kids, it’s a big no as settling and unpacking can consume a lot of time. It will not only make the kids tired but you will be exhausted too. In most cities, public transport is best and fascinates kids, or you can opt for rental cars to travel within the city.
4. Pick the family-friendly destinations
Parents tend to forget while planning a vacation that some destinations are just a big no for the kids. They don’t get amused by certain things that the parents might find interesting. Some of the family-friendly destinations are Yosemite, Orlando, Washington, outer banks, etc.
5. Designate times to sneak for some peaceful hours
If you’re traveling with your partner or family, then you can plan to look over the kids for a certain amount of designated time. This way each person can have some alone and peaceful time while the other person looks after the kids.
6. Make unforgettable memories
Last but not the least, the kids will remember the memories of the trip in the future. Let them choose their activities to do. Take a lot of pictures but don’t forget to be in the present moment.