Family vacations have long been fodder for silly movies and sitcoms. However, a trip with your big family in tow doesn’t have to turn into a slapstick comedy. Planning and organization are key to keeping your holiday from going off the rails. If you’re planning a vacation with the whole family, here are four tips to keep your sanity and enjoy the ride.
Do the kids in your family far outnumber the adults? If your family is like most, some of the kids are probably more responsible and well-behaved than others. Make the buddy system work by pairing a quiet kid with a more rambunctious one or pair an older child with a younger one. Purchase some colorful wrist bands and assign each buddy a matching pair. Of course, you know more than anyone which kids will get along best with which, so keep that in mind when assigning buddies. You can also assign a child to be a parent buddy, typically the youngest or the one that needs the most individual attention.
Pass the Time
Getting there might be half the fun, but all those hours in a car or on a plane can be tedious for children. Bring along plenty of activities like coloring books, tablets, toys and games to keep them occupied. Avoid losing items in the car by choosing travel versions of board games and bringing storage containers to contain small pieces. Consider leaving special toys at home so they don’t go missing. Separate headphones can save a lot of headaches, as well, when different children in different age groups want to listen to audiobooks or music that the others have no interest in.
Let Someone Else Drive
Driving with a car full of kids can be distracting and take all the fun out of your road trip. Traveling by car can also be inefficient if you have too many family members to fit in one vehicle. However, you can make room for everyone and leave the driving to a professional with a van or bus rental. Chartering a ride is safer and more enjoyable, particularly if you have a lot of younger children who all need lots of individual attention. A van or bus can even save you money over purchasing fuel for multiple vehicles and adding miles to your car.
Don’t Forget the Snacks
Nothing puts a damper on your vacation like a car full of children whining about their growling tummies. Keep the hunger monster at bay with a healthy supply of snacks. Choose foods that don’t require refrigeration and avoid messy snacks like powdered donuts, jelly, and juicy fruits. Raisins, crackers, nuts and granola bars travel well and will keep your little ones full.
Remember, the best part of a family vacation is the memories you make. Try to take it in stride when things go wrong because it will all look better in hindsight. Take lots of photos, relax and enjoy the ride because your kids are only little for a few short years.
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