How to handle travelling with kids in 6 easy steps
Hey, it’s almost Easter, then next thing you know it’ll be summer. Are you thinking what I’m thinking . . . road trip!!!
I mean, what could be better than getting in some quality family time while seeing the sights and keeping within budget?
Hahaha . . . that last part made me laugh, too. Seriously though, I’ve had some good times while on a family road trip.
Yes, interspersed with the lasting memories, there are those occasional bouts of boredom, sporadic moments of frustration and very rare daydreams about driving into oncoming traffic, but generally, they are a decent time.
And, sure, that last trip to Moose Jaw involved two trips too many to mechanics in Alberta and Saskatchewan, and I still feel a little car sick when I hear Beyoncé’s “All the Single Ladies,” which was in high rotation at the time. Heck, it’s been seven months I’m still finding Goldfish crackers every time I look around the car! But remember the laughs we had driving those golf carts through the canola fields? Classic.
When it comes to fun family travel, I’m here to tell you it can be done. All it takes is some planning, well, a lot of planning. Following are six tips to keep your next vacation looking a bit more like it was sponsored by Disney than National Lampoon.
- Plan ahead – remember when you could shove a shirt or two in a bag and head off for the weekend? Yeah, those days are over, you have kids now. And travel lightly on the spur of the monent, they do not. If possible, begin coming up with an itinerary a month or two in advance; start a packing list weeks ahead of time and gather food and boredom busters days ahead of departure. Seriously, when it comes to family travel, there is no such thing as being over prepared.
- Plan for down time – just as important as fitting in all the sights is taking time to rest and rejuvenate. Kids (and parents) work well with routines, so establishing times for quiet, reading, even playing a video game or two, can help keep things in sync.
- Plan to have your plans adjusted – there is nothing like travelling to keep you on your toes and flexible. Between ferry line-ups, waits for check-ins, detours for forest fires and the inevitable road construction, travelling rarely goes to plan. Allow for buffer times and have activities on hand to help everyone deal.
- Plan to get active – sitting in a car for hours at a time leads to, essentially, sloth. Snacking, napping, reading and talking – love it! But don’t forget to get active when you get the chance. Burn some energy and stretch out those cooped-up muscles, your body will thank you for it.
- Plan an outing for every family member – I know you could care less about Lego stores, but some of us live for them. And enduring another walk around an historic monument is easier when you know that you’ll soon have your chance to visit the largest train (goose, hockey stick, nickel) in Canada!
- Plan to take the time to be happy and document it – when you can enjoy it, do! Yes, that wait at the border sucked, but playing with each other’s hair and taking funny pics on your phone while in the lineup was a good time, right? Stay happy, look for fun, create memories and capture them by writing postcards or taking pics when you can.
Fun family vacation doesn’t have to be an oxymoron. Pick your destination, plan for fun and choose your attitude!