By: Ted Fernandez
Starting a family doesn’t mean you have to give up on travel, but it does mean your adventures look a little different. When you were single, spontaneity was the key to an amazing trip. But now that you have kids in tow, a slow pace and routines are the answer to stress-free travel. If you’re preparing for a family vacation, use these tips to plan a trip everyone will enjoy.
Before You Leave
The steps you take before leaving home set the tone for your entire trip. Use these three tips to start your travels off right:
- Secure your home. Burglars look for vacant homes to target, so it’s important to increase home security before leaving. If you don’t have a security system, this is a great time to invest in smart home security gadgets like smart locks, programmable lights, and a doorbell camera. Unlike traditional security systems, you can set up smart security devices in a matter of hours. State Farm notes you should also wait to share photos of your vacation until after you’ve returned. Hopefully, everyone who follows you on your social media accounts is trustworthy, but it’s not worth taking the risk.
- Clean before you leave. Coming home to a mess isn’t the way you want to end your trip. Clean the house before you leave, and don’t forget to empty trash cans and clean perishables out of the fridge so you don’t return to foul odors or pests.
- Pack smart. Forget traveling light when you have kids in tow. You’ll need necessities like car seats, strollers, diapers, and diaper cream, but you should also pack comfort and entertainment items (portable gaming consoles, streaming sticks that allow for wireless connectivity and feature simple remote controls, travel games to play in the car, etc.) to keep the kids happy on the go. A stuffed animal isn’t the best use of luggage space, but if it prevents a toddler meltdown in the middle of a tourist attraction, it’s worth it.
On the Road
Vacations disrupt the routines that kids thrive on, but there are a few things you can do to maintain normalcy while traveling:
- Opt for a vacation rental. Vacation rentals are a godsend for family travelers, and experts cited by Business Insider feel they are the safest bet for accommodations during the pandemic, thanks to minimal exposure. Plus, instead of trying to negotiate sleep schedules in a single hotel room and dining out for every meal, you can put kids in their own bedrooms and cook meals in your rental to save money. Not every vacation rental is made equal; look for rentals that offer features like 24/7 guest support, professional cleaning, seamless check-in and free WiFi.
- Sleep better. A sleep-deprived family is a cranky family. Sleeping in an unfamiliar place can be challenging, especially if you’re anxious about traveling. Improve your sleep while traveling by packing earplugs and eye masks or downloading a white noise app. For the kids, avoid switching up their sleep schedule. If your kids take naps at home, schedule them into your trip.
- Relax your schedule. A jam-packed schedule is a recipe for over-tired kids. Instead of trying to see it all, keep your itinerary to one or two activities per day. You should also schedule more time than you need so minor delays aren’t a source of stress, especially when traveling with kiddos.
With these tips, you can get through your first family vacation with ease. The final challenge? Your return home. Instead of rushing back to work and school, schedule a day of downtime after getting home. Even when your vacation was a success, time to recover and reset your sleep schedule is a must!