Let's face the facts, when traveling with children, the days of flying by the seat of your pants are few and far between. To minimize stressful days during your family vacation, plan ahead. If your destination is new to you, take the time to check online for information that could make your family vacation more enjoyable. You may find discount tickets for popular attractions, a list of kid-friendly restaurants and maps to make your pit stops a snap to locate.
Keep a small notebook filled with important phone numbers, hotel confirmation and helpful information you printed from your computer. Also include identification, photos of your kids should they get lost and any vital medical papers. Storing all of your important documents in one place will keep you breathing easy when it comes time to retrieve them.
Whether by car or airplane, traveling with children requires some creative packing. Having the items you need when you need them may just prevent unwanted meltdowns, (and I don’t just mean with your toddler!). Before you start packing, look into what the long range forecast is for the area. This could save you from spending money on over-priced sunscreen or rain gear in tourist areas. Remember to pack light using travel-sized items whenever possible.
Creating a packing list on your computer keeps you from over-packing, or forgetting to include the blanket your daughter can’t sleep without! E-lists can easily be revised for future trips, and can be personalized for each family member. Even your six-year-old can pack his/her own suitcase with a simple checklist of items.
When traveling long distances by car, check your local Walmart for inexpensive car organizers. Purchasing one or more of these items could very well be your travel ‘survival pack.’ What to pack into these organizers depends on the ages of your children. A few standards include plastic bags, wipes, tissue, snacks, first-aid kit, music and movies should you be lucky enough to have a portable DVD player. For younger children, pack a ‘surprise’ bag of toys, magnetic puzzles and small books that are new to them. You can find most of these at your local dollar store.
Don’t forget to make arrangements with a trusted friend to check on your home periodically. Leave your contact information should they need to get in touch with you while away. Now that you have spent time pre-planning and managed to pack smart, you can sit back and enjoy some well-deserved family time, without unnecessary stress.
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