Hassle-Proofing Your Family Vacation

Hassle-Proofing Your Family Vacation

Traveling with kids can be a virtual nightmare or it can actually be a fun experience that creates lifetime memories. Great family vacations don’t just happen; they take forethought and planning.

1) Try to travel by air or even car/bus during non-peak times and get to the bus station or airport early. It’s tough trying to sprint through an airport with little kids. Also, if traveling in the evening, you may get the kids to sleep off part of the trip.

2) Make sure your kids go to the bathroom before leaving on a trip. When traveling long distances on a bus or other vehicle that will not stop on demand, have the kids wear diapers even through age five or so, and if kids older than that have had problems controlling their bladder, have them wear Goodnites. They may gripe but it could save a bigger humiliation for them.

3) Bring hand sanitizer for the many times there is no water available, and baby wipes/handi-wipes also prove invaluable.

4) Go to the Dollar Store before your trip and buy a bunch of little things that will excite each child and place them in separate bags. Allow the child to pull out a new toy or game once every hour or so.

5) You may not be able to fit serving trays on a plane, but they work great in a car or bus. Kids can use them to play with puzzles, board games, and play dough.

6) Bubbles, Game Boys, and MagnaDoodles are all helpful things to occupy kids while waiting in lines or sitting in vehicles. Also, visit the Hidden Mickeys website and print off some Hidden Mickey pages for the kids to have fun with.

7) Especially during the heat of the summer, kids do better with getting to a theme or amusement park first thing in the morning until lunch time. Then give them a rest time in the hotel room and/or pool during the hottest part of the afternoon and return sometime after 4:00 p.m. for several more hours of fun.

8) If you’re trying to keep track of several young kids at once, put all your stuff in a waistpack or backpack. That way, you’ll have your hands free to keep the kids in tow. In the pack, keep chilled juice, camera, rain ponchos, Monsters candy dispenser, etc. Another thing that proves helpful when walking all day is a stroller for the younger kids—even five- or six-year-olds.

9) Place a card in your kids’ pockets on which you place name, address, and cell number for officials to call if your child gets separated from you. It is usually safer to tell your child to show the card to an obvious official or a woman. That might be safer than just handing it to a male passer-by.

10) To offset the constant whining and badgering of kids to buy things, give each child a set amount to carry for anything they want to buy on the trip. Make it clear that when that money is spent, there will be no more money available.

These pointers are tried and true advice given by actual parents who learned this stuff by trial and error. I hope they’ll contribute to a happier and safer family vacation for you.

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