Family vacations are great bonding experiences, but a lack of planning and some common mistakes can turn an otherwise peaceful trip into an exhausting experience. After expending effort just to find flights and accommodations for everyone or planning a road trip around everyone’s schedule, you may think everything is done. But without proper planning, your trip could go from really relaxing to full-blown frustrating. Here are five common follies to avoid while traveling with family.
Enforcing Technology Limits
At home, kids should have TV watching and video game playing limits. But don’t make the mistake of enforcing those limits while on vacation. Letting your kids play a handheld game, watch a movie on a laptop or read on a tablet is going to keep them occupied during the long flights or car rides. While on vacation, leave the technology restrictions at home.
One technology restriction that shouldn’t ever be forgotten, though, is Internet security. While traveling, especially when using Wi-Fi connections at an airport or another public place, remember to keep your personal information safe. Public Internet connections are generally unsecured, so sending data wirelessly in public makes your family vulnerable to identity theft. Before heading out on vacation take measures to protect yourself. Services such as Lifelock provide protection and peace of mind by monitoring your personal information and responding to any potential identity theft issues.
Planning on Eating on the Road
Eating on the road may seem like a convenient option when you imagine packing a lunch or snacks for everyone in your travel party. But the amount of money, time and frustration you’ll save if you don’t may change your mind. Having to stop every time someone gets hungry can make your drive much longer and grumpier if there isn’t anything tasty for a few miles. Special meals or affordable, appetizing food options aren’t always available at airports. Consider packing light, filling snacks such as trail mix, crackers or beef jerky for your long travels. Treats can be a good distraction for tiresome kids, and give you the extra energy you need to make it to your destination.
Failing to Schedule Stops
Driving straight through to get to your destination as quickly as possible might work for adults, but kids need breaks. Babies need diaper changes and kids need to run around. Scheduling stops reduce stress and make your road trips smoother. You’ll be surprised how rejuvenating just a few minutes of walking around a park or truck stop can be for you and your kids. Plus, that extra 15 minutes spent letting your kids run their energy out will help them fall asleep earlier, letting you finish the drive without worrying about entertaining them.
Flying During the Day
Toddlers and small children are programmed to sleep at night so even though a day trip may be more appealing to you, search for night flights. Taking a red-eye or overnight flight increases the likelihood that your children will sleep through the night. Getting your kids into their pajamas and following as much of your normal routine as you can help your children fall asleep on the flight, according to 101 Toddler Travel Tips.
Leaving Your Car Seat at Home
Airplane seats may feel uncomfortably small for adults, but they are uncomfortably big for toddlers. Especially if your child doesn’t fly often, children can be frightened by turbulence or desire to run in between plane aisles. Don’t leave your car seat at home. Children are used to be in a car seat when traveling in a car, so by bringing their car seat onto the plane, they are less likely to be fidgety and more likely to feel comfortable and safe with their surroundings.
Avoiding these five common follies will make your family vacation more memorable for everyone, and remove the stress that is sometimes associated with family travel.