Travelling with children does present a unique set of challenges and will make you long for those carefree, spontaneous trips you used to take before you became parents.
However, that does not mean you should give up on the idea completely.
A lot of times, it’s the memories you make during these family vacations that you and your children will cherish for a lifetime.
The key is to minimise the stress that you’ll have to deal with on the road, which means more planning before you go.
Heed these 8 tips to increase your chances of having a stress-free trip.
1. Book as many things as you can beforehand
This includes accommodation, car rental and perhaps some entry tickets into popular tourist spots.
This saves you the stress of having to figure things out while on the road
2. Head to the doctor before you fly
If you’re travelling overseas, bring the whole family to the doctor at least two months before so there’s plenty of time to get any necessary jabs.
3. Involve your kids in the planning
If your kids are old enough, set some simple tasks for them, such as, researching about the food, history, fascinating facts or culture of the place you’re visiting.
You should also let them choose a few fun activities they would like to do.
4. If possible, stay in a house or apartment
Renting an apartment or a house gives you a lot more space than a hotel room.
You’ll also have the benefit of a kitchen, which means you can cook some simple meals instead of eating out all the time.
This will more than make up for the extra cost.
5. Give your kids your details
If your kids are old enough to have phones, make sure your numbers are stored on the quick dial list.
For young children, prepare cards with your contact details on them and clip the cards to their clothes when you’re travelling in a crowded area.
6. Pack a first aid kit
Bring plasters, painkillers, cough syrup, antihistamines, and antiseptic creams for bites and cuts – all suitable for children, of course – to ensure that you can take care of any minor mishaps.
7. Don’t plan too many activities in a day
A tired child is a grumpy child.
Actually, that statement works for adults as well. Be realistic about what you can cover in a day.
Instead of four activities daily, settle for two or three, and have lots of time to rest in between each one.
8. Be flexible
Sometimes things just happen and you need to roll with the punches.
Keep calm and remind yourself that the most important thing is that you’re together as a family.