How to Survive a Summer Vacation with the Kids
Summer is upon us and it seems everyone is ready for a post-pandemic summer vacation. Some parents say that traveling with kids is a trip and not a vacation because of how much work can be involved. But with a little (or a lot!) of planning, you could have one of the best family vacations yet. Keep reading for my tips for summer travel with kids.
Planning Family Travel with Kids
You could probably guess that as a professional home organizer, I’m a huge proponent of planning ahead. When it comes to any vacation, this planning will save you so much headache and frustration during the trip or moments of “what should we do now?”. So, research your destination, think about your goals and hopes for the trip, and continuously remind yourself that vacations are supposed to be enjoyable and fun. Here are a few planning suggestions:
Buy a new notebook or download a note taking app to keep track of all the details in one place (and if it’s an app, share it with others that are joining you on the trip). One of my favorite trip apps to track money you spend, or if you split checks or payments with other people: SplitWise.
As you plan the trip, keep the kids informed and ask them questions. When they feel included and engaged in the travel plans, they’re more likely to enjoy the vacation themselves, which means they’ll be more pleasant to be around!
Though planning and researching is important, be sure not to overschedule. Kids (and adults!) can only handle so much.
When you make the list of must-dos and must-sees, remember to also create a list of fun or bonus items. Then have the kids choose one of the bonus items to complete each day.
Make sure to schedule time for daily physical activity, especially if you’re taking a long road trip. This means allowing breaks for stretching your legs, taking walks in the mornings or after dinner, and letting the kids run around to burn off their excess energy.
Do not forget to plan your own self-care during the vacation. You’re not likely to manage your children well if you’re running on empty!
Remember that even with all the preparation and planning in the world, things >sometimes< don’t go according to plan. Remind everyone that it’s important to be able to go with the flow during travel (which is often a struggle for adults, too!).
Tips for a Successful Family Vacation
After you’ve planned the trip, there are some important tips that will help you thrive — and not just survive — during summer travel with kids.
Keep a Routine if Possible
Kids (and parents) thrive on routine. Even if your child is spontaneous and goes with the flow easily, be sure to include some downtime throughout the day. Try to keep meal and snack schedules similar to at home and be sure to unwind in the evening to promote good sleep. Also, morning snuggle time can help start the day calmly, so you aren’t hitting the ground running.
Discuss Good Behavior
A simple reminder before going into a restaurant, hotel, or store can help kids be on their best behavior. Ask the kids ‘What does good behavior look like?’ beforehand and it helps them keep those ideas in mind. Plus, it’s proactive instead of reactive which makes things easier.
Limit the Toys
Give the kids a preassigned container (a fun tiny suitcase, bin, or backpack) and limit them to that space for any toys, books, etc..
Tools for Long-Distance Summer Travel with Kids
Whether you’re flying with kids or taking a family road trip, these tools can help:
- Travel Snack Kit
- Be sure to include snacks & drinks that are spill-proof or spill friendly
- Place a small bin between seats so the kids can access the snacks themselves
- Choose snacks the kids will find fun and different
- Travel Activity Kit
- Comfort Items
- Pillows, a small blanket, stuffed animal
- Road trip? Bring a pillowcase to roll up into the crack of a window to make shade for your kiddo.
- White noise machines
- These work wonders in noisy hotels, RV parks, or even at grandma’s house.
Enjoy Summer Family Vacations!
Now that you’ve put in the work to plan a successful family vacation, it’s time to sit back and enjoy! Kids have more fun when their parents are also having fun, so this summer, it’s time to not only survive traveling with kids but to love it.
Share your tips and tricks to traveling with kiddos below (or photos of in-vehicle setups!).
p.s. check out this post about traveling during the holidays.