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Guest Author DadSolo.com
Traveling with kids can be an informative, fun experience for them, but it’s often stressful for Mom and Dad. Figuring out a budget (and how to stick to it), entertaining everyone, and making sure the little ones are safe can feel like a full-time job, and when you’re on vacation, that’s the last thing you want! Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make the trip easy and stress-free for everyone in the family.
Turn to tech
Sometimes technology can be extremely helpful on long trips, but if you’re worried about unproductive screen time, consider downloading programs and games that will help them work on various skills in a fun way.
Just make sure the laptop you tote along is durable, lightweight, and has plenty of storage. Read reviews to get a better idea of which models to consider. By investing in a teen-friendly device, you know your youngster can use it well past your vacation’s end for more academically oriented pursuits.
Plan for stops
Road trips can be a challenge for many kids, especially younger ones. Not only is it difficult to sit confined for a long period of time, it can be hard to go without bathroom breaks as well. Kill two birds with one stone by planning for several stops along the way.
Map out roadside attractions, restaurants, and gas stations so you can plan for snacks, meals, rest stops, and leg-stretching. It can be stressful to make unplanned stops when you’re eager to get to your destination, but if you’re prepared for them, the trip will be much easier for the whole fam.
Ask for input
When you’re traveling with kids of different ages, Discover Corps suggests asking for their input in planning the trip. Have them research stops, events, and attractions so they can choose one or two that they’d like to visit, and encourage them to learn all they can about the area.
This is a great way to help them feel more involved, and they may enjoy themselves more if they have that connection. It can also help younger children pass the time a little easier while you’re traveling, as they’ll be able to anticipate what comes next when they see various landmarks.
If possible, buy or print out maps that your kiddos can look at during the trip to help them visualize the journey. Talk to them about the plans for that day so they’ll know what to expect. They’ll feel engaged and involved, rather than just along for the ride.
Preparing for any trip is important, but when your children will be with you, it’s especially crucial. Look online for activities aimed at kids, pack mindfully, and do a little research on all the places you’ll be visiting so you aren’t left with any last-minute surprises.
For instance, some spots–such as aquariums–often have particular days and times when strollers are welcome. Similarly, FirstCry Parenting recommends talking with your children about appropriate conduct in places like aquariums, since actions like banging on the glass or touching the sea life aren’t allowed.
Some places don’t allow outside food or drinks but might make an exception for a bottle or sippy cup if you make prior arrangements. Prepping early for any and all contingencies will reduce stress as you and your family make your way to your destination.
Traveling with kids can be a fun experience for the entire family if you think ahead and create thorough plans. Engage tools that make the trip more pleasant, plan your stops, and prepare your itinerary thoughtfully. The more you can plan ahead, the easier the process will be for everyone, and the more you’ll be able to enjoy yourself.