What?! Is that even possible?
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I know, I know: traveling with your kids can be overwhelming! The good news: it gets easier as you travel more often. Two of the best things you can do to make traveling with kids go smoothly are: understanding what you're getting into, and preparing. Here are some ideas to help you create fun and low-stress travel experiences with your children (yes, you read that right!).
Know that everything takes longer than you expect.
Make sure you're allocating plenty of time and taking things more slowly than you normally would. For example, don’t wait to leave home with only minutes to spare before it's time to board your plane. It's always going to take longer than you expect to check-in, get through security, buy last-minute snacks or drinks, and board the plane. Allowing for extra time applies doesn’t just apply to the plane ride though. Even though you want to see and do a lot, it might not be a good idea to squeeze everything you’d do with adults, into that same day with kids.
It’s so tempting to pack everything your child uses at home. While it might feel like you just want to keep consistency and routines, what you're forgetting is that, by the end of the day, you'll be carrying at least one child along with all the stuff. So, the notion of carrying 100 pounds of luggage plus your young one is not doable. Instead, just pack the essentials. If you find that you forgot something, it's easy to buy what you need at your destination—after all, other children live in and travel to that location.
Pre-book everything you can.
Besides booking your flights, pre-book as many other components of your trip as possible. For example, when traveling alone or with other adults, you might land, get a feel for the area, and then find the best place to stay. That doesn’t work when you're traveling with children. Arriving at a new destination should involve leaving the airport and heading straight to your hotel to drop off your luggage and give your children a chance to explore and rest. Look at your itinerary to see if there are other activities you can book in advance to help streamline everything. When in doubt, ask me for pointers.
Explain to your children what they can expect.
First-time travelers need to know ahead of time what's going to happen and what they can expect, and that includes your kids. If your child isn't comfortable with what's happening during the trip, they’ll be unhappy. For example, if there's too much happening, a meltdown may be on the way. When you go over the trip's itinerary with your child, it helps them understand what's happening and know what to expect. They’ll feel comfortable with what's happening around them, and everyone will have a better time.
Are you feeling better about the idea of traveling with your kids? With a little bit of planning and expectation-setting (for both kids AND adults), you can have an amazing time. Before you know it, you’ll be making memories and connections together that will last a lifetime.