The coming of the holidays usually means an increase in family travel as well. Some families may be traveling to visit grandparents or relatives, some may simply want to take advantage of the season to have a holiday vacation. Whatever the reason, traveling with kids also means more baggage, more preparation time, more expenses and oftentimes more stress! It doesn’t have to be that way, of course. You can still travel with your kids and end up having fun, not feeling like a Scrooge. Here’s some tips on traveling with kids:
• Pick a family-friendly destination or experience – choose a destination that will appeal to all ages: kids, teens and adults. Although you might find it intellectually stimulating to visit museums, your kids might be (very) vocally opposed to it. Also skip places that might be potentially dangerous, such as overcrowded tourist spots, places with extreme weather conditions and places with inaccessible medical care. Most times, comfort is preferable to excitement, when you have kids. Recommended places are beaches, family camps, zoos, family cruises, nature spots and theme parks.
• Choose family-friendly resorts, hotels and cruises – some hotels & cruises (especially luxury ones) cater primarily to couples or businesspeople, and may not be as understanding at having a bunch of rowdy, noisy kids with them. Make sure the hotel, resort or cruise you pick welcome kids, and have special programs or services for them. Oftentimes, these places will offer free babysitting services, fun activities tailored for kids, and have buffet-style or kids meals. Kids usually get to stay free with their parents as well.
• Plan your trip, but leave room for unforeseen circumstances – the vacations I remember fondly are usually the ones that have funny, unplanned, even embarrassing moments. Do try to make some sort of schedule for places or sights you want to visit, but leave plenty or room for impulse detours. Also try asking your kids’ opinions on what they want to visit or see next. If you can manage it, try to follow the schedule your kids normally have, especially if you have toddlers. This way, you’ll avoid meltdowns and tantrums when the kids get overtired, or if it’s way past their naptime. For safety’s sake, always have a map of the area and directions to the place you’re going to. It’s never fun to get lost in an unfamiliar area, especially when you have kids.
To be continued…