Family on Vacation: Top Tips
Family on Vacation : Top Tips
Family on Vacation : Top Tips – Start off the Trip Rested
This advice is useful for anyone who travels. Do you usually run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off right before your trip? Cutting back on sleep and running around fueled by only stress and adrenaline before family vacations will exhaust you and make you more likely to get sick. Get started early enough to take the day before the vacation OFF from all the travel prep.
Use something like this essential oil diffuser to get a relaxed night’s sleep before your trip to start off refreshed.
Read more about where the germs are on a plane so you can avoid them!
Don’t leave home without these! I wipe down all the germiest place on the plane before I let anyone get settled. Germs can ruin family vacations.
Family on Vacation : Top Tips – Start off Physically Fit
Train those muscles! A little incentive is always good when it comes to getting in shape and it is true with the kids, too. I am a firm believer in lots of walking to build up stamina before family vacations. It is good for everyone’s health AND when you get there you won’t hear “My feet hurt….I’m tired of walking…” which will be music to your ears indeed.
Read more here about my favorite incentive plan for getting kiddos to walk and walk and walk!
Use good shoes and socks can make or break a trip. Sore feet can make anyone cranky! We love smart wool socks in any weather – hot or cold.
Family on Vacation : Top Tips – Consider Jet Lag Effects
Heading where jet-lag will be an issue? Adjust your schedule for a week or two BEFORE you go. Yes, get up way early and go to bed early – getting closer to the schedule you will have on vacation. It will seem a bit weird to have the kids up and early doing homework before school, but it will make wasted time at your destination due to jet lag – next to nothing.
Read more about preparing kids for jet lag!
Some swear by homeopathic remedies for jet lag.
Family on Vacation – Top Tips – Electronics are GREAT!
Do you limit electronics time with your kids? Most people do in ‘regular’ every day life. But, for us all bets are off for time constraints on family vacations. It helps them pass the time on airplanes and trains in a way that adults might use a book. It also serves as something familiar and comforting. A little extra mine craft for a week never hurt anyone in my opinion.
If it extra screen time really bothers you, then offer the ‘every other plan’. Have you child play a little math practice game in exchange for a “just for fun” game. Every other! This game (cool math.com) is one of our favorites.
*****Remember the chargers and if you are traveling internationally, pack the adapters/convertors.*****
Family on Vacation : Let everyone pack their own carryon or daypack.
Let each kid pack their own carryon/daypack. I promise they will fill it with stuff that doesn’t make any sense to you. 15 stuffed animals? A backscratcher? 3 leggos and a Barbie witch’s hat? Whatever.
Somehow these things are important to your young traveler during family vacations. It is amazing how much entertainment you can get out of them. Look at GI Joe hanging upside down in Madrid!
Have them leave a little room for you and for a souvenir. Use ‘your’ room for a favorite snack treat and a small notebook and pencil.
Use the notebook for games and notes of all kinds. Let the kids lead the way. Hangman? Tic-tac-toe? Goofy doodles? Tally how many pomegranates can you find in Granada, Spain!
Family on Vacation : Top Tips – Bring Food!
Yes, you can buy food in the airport. Yes, they will feed you on the plane. Yes, you will encounter food along the way.
BUT…. Bring Food Anyway on family vacations!
Sometimes there isn’t time to stop and buy food in the airport. It might be too early in the morning for shops to be open or people might be on strike. You never know when a flight will be delayed and you will be running at break neck speed to catch the next one. The shops that are open might not sell food that is ‘acceptable’ to your young traveler. Don’t count on being able to purchase something.
Bring some food!
As for airplane food….well…have you ever eaten airplane food? When airplane food is even available anymore it isn’t very good. In the airline’s defense it would be hard to have really good food for so many come out of such a tiny kitchen. Also, apparently taste buds don’t work as well in the dry air in an airplane at high altitudes which is part of the reasons airplane food tastes ‘meh’ at best.
The last few flights I’ve been on they handed out pretzels, which are normally a kid friendly food, but even my 10 year old (who has recently lost several molars) wouldn’t eat something hard and crunchy. Always pack your own food!
Family on Vacation : Top Tips – Get the kids excited!
I like think of travel preparations like creating a wonderful layer cake. Layering is good. Cake with layers is good…
Layering the learning is even better!!
Yes, layering the learning is even better than chocolate. It is an important part of making memories and solidifying them.
1) The bottom layer of learning is to read about your trip. Where will you go? What will you see? What will you eat?
I’ve created reading lists for kids on specific destinations:
San Francisco, Greece, Caribbean, Italy, London, New York, Hawaii, Paris, Canada, New York City,
2) Add another layer to your learning: Watch movies about your destination. The movie Paddington is a new way to get talking about England.
3) Include songs and poems in your vacation preparation. Remember Frere Jacques (France) and London Bridges Falling Down? What about Song like Welcome to New York by Taylor Swift! Get a flavor of the country like Italy with the Italian Tenors and Morocco!
4) Layer with food! Try scones before England. Try baguettes before France. Eat spaghetti before Italy. Cookies shaped like Spain! (See how I nailed that pinterest activity???? The bottom 2 blobs are supposed to be Spain shaped. 😉
Family on Vacation : Top Tips – Learn while you are traveling!
Curious, interested, engaged kiddos are the complete OPPOSITE of bored and whiny. Talk to them about what you are seeing on family vacations to help them enjoy. Why is this site a big deal? They need to know to feel engaged and interested.
You need the kids to know WHY you are looking at this church/castle/building/winery.
You need the kids to know something INTERESTING (mind you – something they will find interesting) about your travel destination.
You need the kids to WANT to see the museum/chapel/crown jewels so give them a reason!
My ebooks answer ALL the above questions for kids and then some! They also serve as a type of cliff notes for adults on family vacations.
Choose from the following titles Family Travel Books for Kids:
Canada, Austin, France, Nassau, Vatican City, Galleria Borghese, London, New York, Spain, Canada, Louvre, Prado, and Rome.
One of my favorite moments regarding these ebooks was in the cathedral in Seville. I was explaining to my group all about the church and Christopher Columbus who is buried there. I sensed a group of young ladies behind me and moved my group over so they could get by.
A few minutes later I noticed this group behind us again and moved my group so as not to be in the way. That is when my MIL pulled me aside and whispered that they were following us to listen in! So, we welcomed these US college students into our travel group.
Enjoy your family vacations with the kids!
Natalie, The Educational Tourist
I am SOOO guilty for staying up late doing last minute packing the night before a trip! I need to get better about that! Love all these tips, especially about layering the learning for the kiddos!
Such an easy habit to fall into!! Worth trying hard not to do though! 🙂
Hi Natalie Tanner,
Your information rich post for travellers regarding how to systematically pack their valuables before undertaking the trip is superb. It is true that accompanying children while travelling is a herculean task :p as you never know how naughty or irritating they get at times especially when subjected to long and tiring journeys. Your suggestion of comforable shoes and socks will do me the biggest favor 🙂
Thanks will be so happy to follow your tips for making my trip smooth, easy and worth remembering