“How to plan summer vacation travel for children?” is the question parents dread the most at the start of the summer month. Planning, budgeting and providing your kids with some control over activities is the solution. To help you plan your summer vacation we have assembled the following tips.
1. Stop Buying the Cheapest Tickets
Traveling as a family can be expensive when you think about all the other things, such as college tuition and braces that you ought to be saving up for instead. So, it’s very tempting to book the cheapest tickets you can.
But shelling out a little more money for a lot more convenience pays big dividends. So, shell out a little extra for a non-stop flight. This eliminates the risk of missing a connection. It also means you won’t have to offload everyone and everything from the plane, just to schelp your kids to another gate miles and miles away in the connecting terminal.
The same goes for ground transportation when you arrive. Sure, maybe in your twenties you navigated the subway with luggage, but trying to do it with jetlagged kids is a nightmare. Pay for a taxi or any transportation option that offers the least hassle.
2. Don’t Board Early
Airlines offer this to young families, but it’s a trap!. By the time boarding is finished, you’ve already asked your kid to sit still for almost an hour. Instead, wait until the last boarding group. If you have a ton of luggage, send one parent ahead to grab overhead space. Of course, to make your life easier you should check as much luggage as you can.
3. Don’t Overbook Your Itinerary
Many of us like to make sure their vacation days are jam-packed the moment we arrive at 0ur destination. While staying busy and active on vacation is may seem like a good time for the planners among us, things don’t always go according to plan. Or your children may simply rebel at the fast-paced schedule and will become miserable.
Avoid this mistake by creating a loose itinerary ahead of time — do your research but don’t lock down everything hour by hour unless it’s something that’s only offered on specific dates and times, or is in danger of being sold out. Once you have what you’d like to do on paper, fill in when you’d like to do them once you’ve arrived and are settled.
4. Don’t Over-Pack
Over-packing can present several dilemmas over the course of your trip, starting with the danger of exceeding the typical 50-pound checked bag limit (a limit which is getting smaller every year) before boarding your flight. Not a great start to your vacation. Then you have to lug that luggage around with you wherever you go.
On the trip home, over-packing means you’ll have to buy an additional bag or face leave clothing and accessories behind to make room for the items you’ve acquired during your travels.
You can avoid all this hassle by packing light before you ever leave home.
5. Let Your Kids Plan Activities
A lot of parents assume that what they want to do is what their kid wants to do. But your trip is going to go a lot better if you ask your kid what they want to do. Even kids as young as four or five crave autonomy, says Fox. Involving them in day-to-day planning is going to eliminate a lot of “but I don’t want to do this” meltdowns.
Here are some questions that cab help guide your child’s thoughts as they plan a vacation activity:
- Describe the event or activity your family will attend.
- Will everyone in the family enjoy this activity? Why do you think so?
- What do you need to arrange ahead of time? Will you need to purchase tickets? Pack a lunch? Make reservations?
- What supplies or materials will you need?
- What costs will be involved?
We All Make Mistakes…
Finally, remember that no vacation is going to turn out perfectly. Your kids will still get tired and cranky, or bored and miserable. But that’s normal. By building some free time into your schedule to lounge at the pool and relax and recharge, you’ll allow your kids to rebound and get ready for your next vacation activity.
Thing to Consider When Planning a Vacation With Kids
- Keep your kids interested, but not overwhelmed.
- Give a light structure to the day.
- Engage your children in education to avoid summer learning loss. Remember, kids learn through talk, read and play.
- Summer vacations or additional time spent with your children provides an opportunity to create memories that can last a lifetime.