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Leave the Crankies Behind: A Survival Guide for Traveling with Children

 

photo by Holidayextras

Traveling with children brings families closer together and builds memories that will last a lifetime. It can also be stressful and exhausting. Here are some tips to make your next holiday a vacation from the pouting, complaining and whining that so often accompany family travel.

Planning


Creating a positive vacation experience for everyone starts with careful planning. Research kid-friendly activities at your destination and work them into your itinerary to keep young travelers engaged throughout the trip. Choosing a child-friendly vacation spot, like one of the Top 10 Family Holiday Destinations listed at:
http://www.hostelbookers.com/featured/family-holidays/ is another way to ensure that children enjoy the trip. Let kids be part of the planning process, looking up attractions online and reading travel guides with you. If they have a hand in building the trip’s itinerary, they’re more likely to want to follow it.

Packing


Be sure to pack comfortable clothes and shoes. Nothing brings little ones to tears faster than blistered feet or other physical discomforts. Frequently used medications and a first aid kit can also come in handy. Have younger children select a few comfort items to pack, like favorite stuffed animals or blankets, to make sleeping away from home a little easier. Don’t forget to bring a bag full of activities to keep kids busy en route to your destination. Age-appropriate books, movies, toys, music and games should be readily available during long flights or car rides as well as when waiting in airports or train stations.

Health and Wellness


Keeping kids feeling their best when away from home makes for more pleasant family vacations. Whenever possible, respect their sleeping and eating schedules throughout your holiday. Because children might not enjoy the local cuisine at your vacation spot and because traveling often means too many fast-food meals and sugary snacks, it’s wise to bring some of your children’s favorite healthy treats along to keep their energy up and avoid nutritional pitfalls. Whole wheat crackers, granola and nuts are just a few suggestions. If your trip is marred by illness or injury, seeking immediate medical attention might be the key to salvaging the rest of your vacation.

Sightseeing


Children have notoriously short attention spans, but that doesn’t mean they should be left with a hotel nanny while you go out and see the sights. What better way to teach children about culture and spend quality time with them than to venture to museums and monuments together? Older children might be captivated by trivia or unusual stories about the places you visit, so bring a guidebook or research sights ahead of time. For younger children, turn a museum visit into an engaging game by preparing a scavenger hunt that encourages them to discover the museum’s most famous exhibits. Many cities even offer food tours, shopping tours or ghost tours that make for fun and interesting ways to explore new places together.

Downtime


Never forget that fun and relaxation are the main goals of family holidays. Be sure to leave some unstructured downtime so kids don’t get burned out on sightseeing. Stop at a playground to climb and slide between tourist attractions, or go for long walks through airports during layovers. Look at your vacation destination from a child’s point of view; the hotel pool might be more attractive to them than famous landmarks or cultural experiences.

Traveling as a family allows you to experience new things, reconnect with one another and create priceless memories. With careful planning, packing and scheduling, children of all ages can enjoy holidays away from home—and so can their parents.