Travel Tips: Ways to Plan a Stress-Free Family Vacation

Going on vacation on your own or as a couple meant that you could simply pack a few essentials and just go, finding a place to stay when you got to your destination, and being able to do what you want and when you want. However, things change when you have a family. Going on a vacation with kids can be so stressful that you can’t even enjoy it. And since you’ve got enough stress all year long, you really need these couple of weeks to unwind. However, with some planning, you can make your family vacation a relaxed and joyful one.

Plan ahead

If you have the luxury of planning your vacation several months earlier, you can make things much easier on yourself. It means that you could find certain discounts, book that room with the perfect view of the beach, or simply have enough time to be very thorough with your plans. Learn what’s included in the services or amenities. If you already have a hairdryer and fresh towels daily, it means less packing for you, and find out if your hotel offers free use of the swimming pool or if they have children animators and workshops. You can also plan your activities and make reservations if necessary, and even make backup plans for your stay. Be sure to check the weather forecast before choosing your activities and shopping for travel clothes.

Be prepared

If you’re flying to your destination, make sure you buy your plane tickets at the earliest possible moment, since they may be cheaper that way. Also, ask about the seats you want. For example, if you choose bulkhead seats, which are usually found at the front of the plane, you’ll have more space, since they don’t have seats in front of them. You will also be able to exit the plane faster once you land, since you’re closer to the exit, while the seats behind the wings offer less turbulence. Furthermore, if you need to reserve a carrycot for your little one, be sure to phone the airline well in advance. On the other hand, if you’re going by car, make sure you have it serviced by a professional, and get good car insurance, including green slips, just to be on the safe side. Have all your vacation-related documents in a folder, including passports, printed tickets and insurance papers, as well as all the contact information for your hotel, travel agent, restaurants, car mechanics along the way, etc. If you have everything ready and in one place, you’ll be far less stressed when you leave home.

Schedule daily rest time

Whether your children like taking a nap or not, you should schedule some time every afternoon for some rest, since too many activities can make you and your little ones tired and cranky instead of relaxed, which is what you’re aiming for. Plus, it’s not just the kids that need the intermission. Adults like to doze off from time to time, too. Even if you just read a book or do some crosswords while the kids watch a cartoon or do some coloring, you’ll be happy you took this time to refresh and renew your energy, so that you can continue with your sightseeing or any other activities for the rest of the day.

Pack smartly

Don’t make the mistake of leaving the packing for the last possible moment. Instead, make a list of the things you’ll take with you, so that you don’t forget something important or pack too many unnecessary things. Pack heavier clothes first, so that you can put the lighter ones and your toiletries on top of everything, in case you need access to them. A good idea might be to put your children’s daily outfits in zipper bags, so that you don’t have to worry about what they’re going to wear once the vacation starts. Don’t forget packing your travel-sized bottles of shampoo, shower gel or toothpaste, as well as the charging cables for all your devices, but make sure you charge them before you leave home. Put enough snacks and water in your hand luggage, as well as hand sanitizers, wet wipes, tissues and, in case your kids are small, some diapers and a change of clothes for them. Always be prepared for your children’s boredom, so have some toys, cards, or coloring books at hand for their entertainment. And don’t forget a book for yourself. It’s your vacation, too.

Being organized and well-prepared for your trip can rid you of a lot of stress, but know that you can’t plan for everything. Leave some room for flexibility and just a bit of adventure, so that you can create some amazing family memories.

Tracey Clayton
Author, HighStyleLife
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