Anyone who has children knows how stressful of an undertaking it can be to bring your children on a long trip, whether by car or by plane. The sheer amount of packing that needs to be done to cover every potential emergency is astronomical. Plus, you have to make sure that the children are entertained at all times.
So how do you bring the little ones along on your trip without driving them crazy (or yourself)? There are a few helpful hints that can aid you in this endeavor. First of all, you should be prepared to make regular stops when traveling by car. Even if you bring the entire DVD collection and every favorite toy, it is impossible to keep a child occupied for that long.
There will also be the inevitable “I have to go potty” break to prepare for. In instances where no one has to go to the bathroom or is griping about boredom, it still helps to stop and at least allow them to get out of the car and stretch their legs. This lets the child break the journey down into more manageable chunks.
Don’t be afraid to over pack. This can be challenging when flying, but for car trips, this tactic should work just fine. Bringing a boatload of clean clothes keeps parents from having to do a wash while on vacation, while video games, laptops, and DVD players allow you to fight off the impending boredom before it starts.
Once you’ve arrived at your destination, do not make the mistake of trying to cram everybody into one room. Be sure to book spacious accommodations. This may not be feasible to do under the hotel format, so look around the place you are headed to while you are planning the trip. Many towns and cities allow you to rent apartments for short term visits, at roughly the same cost as a three star hotel chain.
It’s also important not to make the mistake of dragging your children to a place that does not appeal to them. Think back when you were a kid. Did you want to go with your parents and suffer through a long car or plane ride, so that you could spend time doing what they wanted to do? Not hardly.
Most important of all? Do not expect your children to behave particularly well, especially under adverse circumstances. Give them a little bit of room for the occasional temper tantrum or rude remark. Traveling is stressful, even for adults, so you can certainly imagine how your children must feel.
If you take the time to plan ahead, take care of each child’s individual needs and wants, and go into the trip with a realistic expectation, you and your family can enjoy with minimal stress.