If you have children, especially toddlers or babies, a family vacation probably seems more like work than a fun, relaxing getaway. It doesn’t have to be that way! Check out these ten tips to keeping your vacation exactly what it is supposed to be – a vacation – even if you have kids in tow.
1. Stick to your normal schedule as much as possible. You’ll have fewer tantrums if your naptime and meals go on as scheduled.
2. Get the kids involved in the planning. If your children are old enough, have them pick from a list of activities to do or attractions in the area. If you give them a hand in the planning, they’ll be less likely to complain.
3. Splurge to bring a sitter on vacation with you. If you have a loyal sitter, he or she may even go for free, as long as you pay the way and build in some free time for relaxation while you care for the kids.
4. Pack a small bag of new items for the car ride or flight. You don’t have to spend a bundle – a few new coloring books or a travel game is all it takes. New items work better to keep children occupied than toys they already have.
5. Look for inclusive resorts or cruises specific for families. Many have day care centers or activities just for kids so you can get some alone time, even if you don’t bring the sitter.
6. Schedule some down time. You don’t have to visit every attraction in the area. Sometimes, a few hours by the pool or spending the afternoon at the beach is better than visiting yet another tourist trap.
7. Choose activities that everyone can enjoy. While your three-year-old might love visiting a Thomas the Tank Engine attraction, your 12-year-old probably won’t. The zoo might be a better choice for everyone.
8. Plan extra travel time between locations. You might be able to get through airport security in an hour and a half, but with kids, it could take longer. Don’t forget that you’ll need time for potty breaks.
9. Pack extra clothing. Your child might not have wet the bed, spilled a drink, or thrown a tantrum violent enough to induce vomiting in a long, long time, but travel puts extra stress on everyone, and you won’t have laundry facilities in most cases.
10. Let everyone know you’ll be traveling with kids. Sometimes hotels, restaurants, and other locations can make special arrangements to ensure that your experience is extra-special for the youngsters.
Lastly? No matter where you’re traveling or how old your kids may be, pick up travel insurance when you book your vacation. That way, you’ll get a refund if you have to cancel for some reason, like illness, as well as help if a problem arises, like a missed connection flight or an overbooked hotel. This guest post is from Allison, who works with http://www.TravelInsurance.org.