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Survival Guide 101: Family Vacations

family vacations

Kids can find almost anything interesting so pack light!

Just when summer vacation is over and the kids are back to school, it’s time to start thinking about possible holiday and winter break family vacations!

Ok, mom, dad, grandma (or whichever caregiver you happen to be), it’s time to start thinking about family vacations!   What’s coming up? Thanksgiving! Christmas! New Years! And winter break from school! Start planning now to save money and make sure you’re prepared for anything that gets thrown your way.

In truth, taking your favorite ankle biters on a vacation can be the most amazing adventure and create cherished memories for years to come… as long as you’ve armed yourself with common sense travel tips and a survival guide for vacationing with kids!

Here are some random tips for family vacations that may not come to mind unless you have a lil reminder:

  1. Prepare the Kids in Advance
    But maybe not toooo far in advance. Yes, you know the danger here, I’m sure. Prepare the kids for family vacations with conversation and reading about planes, boats, camping (or whatever it is you’re doing).  However, if you tell them too far in advance, the kids may get discouraged by the length of time they have to wait and bug you about it constantly.
  2. Make Sure to Pack Light
    Now, I’m going to rage against the machine here with my advice to pack light… even for the kids.  Sure, throw a couple of toys and a coloring book in the bag but really… isn’t the point of family vacations to travel and discover new things?  Many kids will be just as happy with a stick and a rock as they are with 100 of their favorite toys.  And clothes can be washed at a local laundry mat.  The exception here is shoes… don’t skimp on the shoes.  Make sure you pack closed-toe and sandal type shoes, even if you’re going somewhere hot.  Your assignment in light packing is to leave extra space in the luggage for the fun vacation stuff you buy.
  3. Make the Actual Travel Fun, Too
    It is strongly recommended to read books and sing songs about your mode of transportation, whether it’s planes, trains or automobiles.  You can look up songs online or simply change the words to “The Wheels on the Bus” to accommodate whatever you’re in.  The wings on the plane they help us fly, help us fly, help us fly…  This will help the fun start before you even arrive at your destination.   Take a few gadgets, snacks, and toys for the ride, of course, but also plan ahead take travel time to educate your kids with cool facts about where you’re going.
  4. Shop Before You Check-In
    After you land but before you reach your reserved accommodation, it’s a great idea to stop at a local market and do a little stocking up on water, milk, fruit, breakfast muffins, and your kids’ favorite snacks.  Unless you tend to take family vacations in the all-inclusive type joint, these things may cost an arm and a leg.  Additionally, if you buy them in advance, you won’t forget and have to run out for comfort milk in the early morning hours.
  5. Immediately Child-Proof Your Accommodation 
    When you arrive at your hotel, beach house rental, igloo, or whatever, the first thing you should do is take a walk around and do as much child proofing as possible.  Put all decorative breakables up high, push the bed to the wall so the kids won’t fall off, hide the remotes and tell them the TV is broken, etc.  An ounce of prevention…
    Another good idea for when you first arrive may be to go over behavior expectations such as pool safety, being quiet in the halls for your neighbors and so on.  Be clear with what you expect so the child has structure in their new environment.

These are just a few tips that will help you get by a little easier on future family vacations. I can’t begin to guess what your family is like so I won’t go into trying to schedule out your day.  You know what works best for your little ones (can they go all day or do they prefer time to wake-up slow and nap in afternoons?).  Don’t worry too much about the adventure ahead, though.  You’re going to have a great time!

Do you have other tips for family vacations?  We’d love to hear them in the comments below!

About Susan D

Curious Mind, Adventurer Heart... Susan D is a frequent traveler and the mother of an (amazing) toddler boy, Ian. They often travel together, just the two of them, (daddy doesn't have the travel bug as often) and hope to inspire others to travel more with their kids.
At the age of 3, Ian has been to 18 countries with mommy, and on over 30 airplane rides. They love to visit family, friends and interesting places all over the globe and are excited to share their great adventures, mishaps, and tips for traveling with kids with you! Traveling with children is rewarding and an education that should not be missed.

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