Committing to a vacation when you’ve got kids, especially when they’re very young, isn’t for sissies. But you all crave a break from routine, and you want to create adventurous new memories with the little ones. It can be done, and it can be fun!
Families have been traveling with their children since the beginning of time. Here are some modern-day tips to help you pack and prepare for what will hopefully be one of many vacations to remember (fondly).
One of the most solid pieces of advice is to choose a destination that includes activities to suit the whole family. A trip designed to view art museums throughout Europe is not going to be enjoyable with a toddler—for them or you.
Consider a location that has outdoor activities, perhaps a hotel with a pool, a new sport everyone can learn, or an all-inclusive resort or cruise where there are tons of restless children and parents who want to sleep, eat, drink, and play, too.
Another wise tip, if you’re going to a city or a place with many attractions, rent a nearby apartment for the duration of your stay. You will save on transportation costs and meals; you’ll have easy access to beds if kids (or you) need a nap. There’s a washer/dryer, fridge, and probably thicker walls than those in a hotel—for those times when the family can get a little loud.
Packing for a Plane Ride: Carry-on bags with wheels and backpacks are the way to go. You cannot risk having your luggage lost when the bag includes Suzie’s favorite skirt, Aaron’s meds, and the only bathing suit you like on yourself. Each adult should have a carry-on, and if your youngster is over 8-years old, he can certainly drag around another bag that rolls. That bag can contain all the kids’ clothes.
Each bag should include socks, underwear, and something to sleep in. Roll them all into little tight orbs. Leggings, shorts, and sandals for the bottom halves. Two short sleeves, and two long sleeves for the top. Two bathing suits per person because kids can live in them, and trunks can double as shorts. On the plane, wear the bulkiest items: jeans, boots or sneakers, and a jacket or sweater.
Each person should have a backpack too, even kids as young as five. This carries personal items such as crayons, hand-held electronic devices (with earbuds), cards, a stuffed animal or small action hero, snacks, diapers, medicine, and baby food. Bring this pack on the plane or in the car if you’re road tripping.
No need to pack more in your suitcases if you’re going by car. The only other recommendations would be a first-aid kit, flashlight, portable DVD player, DVDs, iPad, chargers, and perhaps inexpensive digital cameras for the kids. Just remember, whatever you don’t bring, you can always purchase later. Take your time, enjoy each other, and bon voyage!