Being a mama of two family travel has become a way of life. My husband and I loved to travel before we had kids and were determined not to let their arrival limit our travels. Children certainly change travel and we are much more plan-ful now than when we were newlyweds. Kids tend to be less patient with wandering, sporadic meal times and waiting for things. Despite the changes we have made to our traveling style, we still find it hugely rewarding and our twins are becoming great little voyagers. Here are my four tips for making your next family trip a success.
Follow Your Schedule. Whatever your schedule is at home, do your very best to follow it when you travel. It is not always possible, but if you can at least keep the same general eating, playing, and sleeping rhythm on the road your kids will feel more secure. Children need to know where there next meal is coming from, when they will get to sleep, and have time to play. As long as their basic needs are being met they are usually happy and willing to be flexible.
Plan More Down Time. Little kids are not going to go to a museum in the morning, browse a market at mid-day, and hit a third attraction in the evening. Not happily at least. We usually plan one bigger thing a day – trip to a museum, hike to see a waterfall, etc and then plan down time for the afternoon. This usually consists of something playful such as going to the beach, swimming in the hotel pool, pushing them in a stroller to a green area where they can run and play, etc.
Pack New Things for the Way There AND BACK. Parents are usually great about stuffing a backpack full of new goodies for the plane ride or car trip. Don’t forget the trip back! If anything this is when you will need new fun things more. Kids are sad to leave your vacation, antsy to get home, tired from less sleep and they need something fun to do. Parents are also exhausted and less patient. Pack a whole separate bag of fun, new things to play with for the trip home and hide them away in a suitcase or trunk.
Relax. I know, I know. It is hard to really relax as a parent. At least it is for me. However, it is vacation. Ease up a little on your kids and yourself. Things will go wrong. You might get lost or stuck somewhere. Your kids might not get to bed right on time. Things always happen. Plan ahead of time as best you can, pack extra snacks, and then relax. It will be okay.