Years ago when the My Vacation Lady kids were young, we drove down to Florida from New Jersey. Yes, that was the first and last LONG driving vacation that we took but at that point, I wasn’t in the travel business, money was tight and we were booking very last minute for a Christmas week vacation.
At that time, we had a station wagon (do they still even make them?) and had a huge box of games, toys and coloring books in the back seat– BETWEEN the kids. This was way before the introduction of hand held electronic games. We survived the trip but swore never to do anything like that again.
According the Travel Channel, these are 6 top tips for decreasing the stress of taking the kids on a flight or long car trip:
- Pack a backpack full of travel games, coloring books and crayons (for the younger kids) and hand held electronic games for the older ones. Each kids gets their own back pack and they need to be able to carry them.
- Pack snacks- the easier to eat, the better. Raisins, grapes, carrot and celery sticks, crackers, granola bars and lots of bottles of water and juice boxes
- Power up your gadgets and bring charging cords and portable chargers for them. Nothing is worse than being 1/2 way through your flight and running out of power on your Ipad.
- Download the right apps on your phone and download some movies in advance.
- Let the kids learn about where they are going before you arrive. Check out videos of your destination and let the kids see what fun things there may be to do before you get there.
- Have some screen free time. While the video games are great, how about some fun card games or brain teaser games to get them unglued from their gadgets.
Some tips from My Vacation Lady for surviving a family vacation
- Choose shorter flights and try for nonstop flights if possible
- Take each child’s interests into consideration before booking your vacation
- Leave some downtime in the vacation to do something spontaneous
- Take lots of over the counter medications on hand for a variety of injuries or illnesses
- Bring lots of anti-bacterial wipes
- Bribery works wonders
Now how different is that from our car trip down to Disney World 23 years ago? No need for additional power sources. Antibacterial wipes — do we count wet wipes for sticky hands? Yes to lots of bribery and snacks. Yes, to remedies for all ailments and bruises. Kids are still kids but their toys and gadgets have certainly changed. The main lesson here is to pre-plan and take most emergencies into account. Once you’re at your destination, have a blast and then don’t forget to pre-plan for the trip back.