We may have marked off the first day of spring on the calendar last week but for those of us in the Northeast or Midwest or Mid Atlantic or okay, let's face it, most of the U.S., it still looks and feels like winter. For parents, this year has been especially harsh, with kids locked in the house and unable to play outside on most days because of frigid, often dangerous conditions outside. Luckily, school spring break vacation is over the next six weeks!
Vacations are an important aspect of work/life balance – providing time for family to decompress, connect, explore, engage, learn, renew and transform. Families that loves to travel and truly make it a focal point of our lives find it can really centers the family. Especially as the kids get older when so many school and sports activities can have us going in different directions.
If you have small kids or older teens in tow, operate on very little sleep and forget what it's like to pack for a whole family, it is the very small details that can make all the difference. So, before you go away for a week, weekend or even just a much needed overnight getaway, here are a few of Rootology's travel tips to make the most of your getaway:
Pack Light: Bring only the essentials. The more you bring, the more you have to keep up with and the heavier the bags. Kids can require a lot of stuff: car seats, strollers, cribs, high chairs. Some car rental companies rent child safety seats and some hotels offer childproof rooms or cribs upon request. Call ahead.
Bring Toys and Games: Be sure to bring something to keep everyone entertained, but leave the singing Barneys and beeping video games at home. You and everyone else will be glad you did. Backpacks for each child are a great way to make sure that everyone in the family gets to bring their chosen toy or game.
Be Flexible: The most important tip of all is to be flexible. Lines will be long, traffic will be heavy, flights will be delayed and children (and adults) will get grumpy. But with just a little planning and an open mind, you’ll survive and enjoy another family vacation.
Listen: A car provides an ideal venue for older children to open up about their feelings. Since the driver looks straight ahead and the passengers often do too, conversation feels much less judgmental than a face-to-face talk. On a long stretch of highway when it's dark, you're likely to find out what it really felt like to come in third at the swim meet.
Let teens pick aspects of the trip: The ultimate procrastinators, most teens won't have given your journey much thought, although they will express definite opinions. Once on the highway, hand your teens guidebooks and travel apps so they can choose a few activities and restaurants.
- Hockin, Nicole. "10 Family Travel Tips." Working Mother. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
- Lori, Lisa. "5 Great Spring Break Travel Tips for Families." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 24 Mar. 2014. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.
- Stapen, Candyce H. "Family Travel: Tips for Road Trips with Kids." USA Today. Gannett, 18 Nov. 2013. Web. 25 Mar. 2014.