Having kids absolutely kicks us back a notch or two. Used to going to the store and getting home in 30 minutes? As a parent, those are considered the good old days. Kids seem to slow down everything between grocery shopping and making dinner. When you have a few little ones, traveling may not always be as calm and serene as it once was. The most important part is learning to roll with the punches, no matter what comes your way. However, getting strategic prep doesn’t hurt either! Here are some essential road trip tips for your next family vacay.
First things first: always pack light. Now for some realistic advice, try to pack as lightly as possible. You may not always be able to pack a backpack and be on your way, but it’s important not to lug around half of your family’s belongings. Try writing out a packing list that crosses off all the must-haves on your list. Make categories for clothes, shoes, socks, undergarments – the whole enchilada! Try to mark down items in advance that you usually forget.
Sort Out Entertainment Before You Leave the House
Whether you plan on using books, puzzles, toys, or everything in between, make sure you’re prepared. If you’re pressed for time, hop on Amazon and grab any last minute items you may need without a trip to the store. Load up your tablet or phone with games, movies, or anything you might need to keep your toddler entertained!
Research is Key
Make sure you plan out your trip day by day. It doesn’t have to be an itinerary down to the seconds, but a rough outline. Having a schedule allows you to make time for naps and meals, and provides a more enjoyable day out. There’s nothing more stressful than an unhappy, crying baby in public when you’re far from your hotel. Planning beforehand gives you an advantage when dealing with younger kiddos!
Take it Slow
While getting out there and seeing the sights is great, it’s important to schedule downtime. Or more importantly, schedule time for un-scheduled activities. Kids get tired because we tend to push ourselves to the limit. Give your mind and feet some time to kick back, relax and enjoy your time together. Lounge around the hotel, a nearby park or just take a nap. Make sure to allow some time for R&R!
No matter how much you plan, things may be left up to chance. The train or taxi may be late, lines may be longer than you assumed or your kiddo may just be in a bad mood that morning. Things happen – learn to go with the flow. You can make the best of your vacation, but you can’t control everything. The best thing you can do is remember this, smile, and just deal the best way you can! One of the most important road trip tips is to enjoy your time with your family and have FUN!
Things will go wrong. Tears may come, no matter how much you plan or prepare. Keep in mind that kids are kids and they’re tantrums and mood swings don’t care how much money or time you’ve spent planning this road trip. Do what you can to avoid interruptions, but accept them as they come. Road trips are meant to be fun and enjoyable for the whole family and can be if you remember a few simple steps. What are some of your favorite road trip tips? Leave your comments below!