Monday, July 23, 2007

Family Travel Tip: 7 Ways To Make Traveling With Your Kids Easier

It’s family vacation time and while it’s great to get away and have a wonderful time together, these trips can also be a nightmare for adults when children become restless and bored.

Kids see the world different than adults and will often have various reactions to the sites and sounds around them. If you are traveling in a plane or car, you will especially want to keep your children preoccupied to prevent them from acting up.

Here are some ways to ensure your family vacation travel goes smoothly.

1) Plan your trip ahead of time – the old “get in the car and let’s go” may be great for people without children, but taking your kids on a long trip requires more planning. When taking a car trip, you’ll need to map out a route where there are plenty of rest stops along the way.

Children need to get out of the car to stretch their limbs and let out all that cooped up energy.

2) Expect frequent bathroom breaks and lots of questions – “I’ve gotta go to the bathroom” and “Are we there yet” are classic things that you will hear your kids say over and over again. Instead of being annoyed, know ahead of time that this is going to be a normal part of the trip, so don’t take it out on the kids. Remember, they have smaller bladders than adults and shorter attention spans.

You could have a come back line like: “No, we’re not there yet, but here’s something I bet you don’t know about . . .”

3) Bring along some entertainment – a great travel tip for child fun is to bring along some travel games that will keep your kids preoccupied for long stretches of time. Make sure to bring a variety of games since kids get bored easily with a single game. Something that challenges their mind is excellent. Portable video games are a natural for the younger crowd.

Skip the fiction books and coloring books since these will make your kids car sick.

4) Bring snacks – make sure to pack plenty of healthy snacks so you can dole them out along the way when the kids say they’re hungry. This gives you more control over what they eat during the trip, then say, stopping at a gas station and grabbing a greasy hot dog and sugary soda.

You could bring along your own granola snack bags with raisins, nuts, dried fruit, etc. Also juice boxes are perfect for long trips. If you like to bake, then homemade cookies and brownies are always appreciated. And that old staple, the pack and go sandwich is still a winner.

5) Bring along a babysitter – invite a family member or friend to come along - someone who can be responsible for the kids while you take a much needed break. Make sure it’s someone the kids know and feel comfortable being around.

6) Take it Easy on the Activities – once you’ve arrived at your destination, it’s tempting to try and pack your schedule with a full day of activities. The problem with this idea is that your young children will get tired out and become cranky. You want your kids to be able to enjoy the experience and have good memories, which they can’t do if they are worn out.

Older children may not wish to do everything that you want to do. If they are teenagers, try and give them some time and space to do their own thing. Remember, this vacation is for them to get away from it all and have some fun too

7) Keep younger children on a regular sleep schedule – children will naturally want to stay up later while on vacation, but remember that they may get cranky if they don’t get enough sleep. You’ll want to let them stay up maybe an hour or so after their normal bedtime, but then let them know it’s time to hit the sack. Hotels - save up to 50%

About the Author: Nikki LeRoi, Cruise the beautiful Hawaiian Islands – even if you’re on a budget

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