Guest Post by Renee Martinez
Traveling with my four boys, ranging between the ages of 4 to 10, require some coordination. I take family trips because I want the entire family to have fun and to have an opportunity to really enjoy each other’s company, so it’s important to me we’re not bogged down by stress (which can really creep up on you).
In order to make a family trip go smoothly it’s essential for me to plan ahead and take some necessary steps to organize. There are a few things I always do. They are not hard to do, yet they certainly make my life easier and my travels less stressful.
1. Get the boys involved with helping out. Have them create a pile of items they wish to bring for entertainment such as books, music or movies. You might want to limit each child a certain number of items, so you don’t end up hauling an entire toy store with you. Limiting the number of items will also get your child to really think about whether they would actually play with it, and if there is another item that they know they would enjoy for a longer time.
2. Assign a travel bag for each child (that they can be responsible for). For my family, children age 3 and up can help with at least a small bag.
3. I pack in advance enough, but not too much for the days we will be away. One bag per child helps me to stay in control and keeps me from feeling overwhelmed. Also, don't forget to pack in a way that's easy to put away when we return. I use a lot of little bags that I can easily use for laundry when I get home or dirty shoes when we return.
4. Always inquire about laundry services. If readily available, plan to take advantage. This also helps me stay in control becausee I don’t have to over-pack. Also, I always wash everything prior to returning home so when I walk in my door, I have one less thing to do. My only chore is to put things away, which frankly is enough for me. Nothing says “welcome home” like a clean (and empty) laundry room!
5. Food. I always pack food and more importantly, plan what food will travel well, yet still be healthy. That’s a tall order as convenience foods are high in sugar (which are not only bad, but will get the kids rowdy) but on a trip with kids, carrots aren’t that much fun. It might not be a bad idea to pack a cooler filled with yummy dips like hummus and peanut butter to jazz up the carrots and apple slices. Fruit is also nature’s to-go food. I normally go for less messy foods like apples, pears, bananas, or fruit you can pop in your mouth - like grapes, blueberries, etc. Low blood sugar makes people cranky, and so does being bloated from processed foods and sugars - so keeping them well-fed is a great way to fend off extra stress.
So what does your family do to ensure smooth traveling during family vacations? Do you ever go on vacations with one parent and one child or is it always the entire family?
Amanda DiSilvestro is a writer on topics ranging from social media to business phone service providers. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including voip business phones to small businesses and entrepreneurs for the leading Business Directory, Business.com. (Photo Credit: e-marketercentral.com)