It seems like it’s been forever since you last vacationed. The idea of white sand beaches, fruity cocktails and total relaxation might seem too good to be true, but if you’re lucky enough to have some vacation time banked in your workplace, why shouldn’t you take a much-deserved trip away? If you’ve got a family then this looks a little bit different than it did when it was just you, but that’s okay; learning how to manage a family vacation is only as hard as learning a few new strategies.
Remember the Necessities
If you’re going to pack for a trip, you don’t want to forget the things that you need every day. This might sound like a no-brainer, but rest assured: Forgetting things is a reality when you’re in a rush to get things moving! This doesn’t just mean toothpaste and extra Band-aids, think about the everyday items you use that are so ingrained in your habits that you don’t even think about them anymore.
Medicines. Medications, prescriptions, 3 biotics supplements and anything else you and your family take every day. Yes, moms and dads, that means Flinstones Kids for your little ones too!
Chargers. Since 96% of Americans own a phone or device of some kind, then going without the source of power can be a huge problem on vacation. Ensure that everyone’s got the right chargers for their phones, tablets, laptops and anything else that requires one. You might think about labeling them with Sharpie or even nail polish.
Snacks. This sounds so elementary, but don’t be deceived; the hangries are a real thing and should be avoided at all costs. Have a bag full of ready-to-eat snacks to keep everyone from getting cranky thanks to low blood sugar; you might try granola bars, nuts and seeds, jerky and peanut butter crackers.
Pack For Littles
Kiddos are so tiny, but man do they come with a lot of stuff! Keep all things for your tiny humans readily available for them and you when you need to deal with things like potty accidents or quickly changing clothes.
- A strategy that is gaining popularity with parents of young children is to pack their clothes in gallon-sized Ziplock baggies, labeling them for every day of the week. This way your child has a fresh set of clothes ready to go and you have a handy place to put the dirty ones when they’re done using them. Don’t forget a few smaller baggies of extra underwear in case there’s an accident.
- A bored little one will get into trouble, so avoid boredom altogether by having a stash of toys and activities ready to go when you notice them start to get squirmy. Keeping small toys in a container like a plastic pencil box or Tupperware is a quick and easy way to have them ready to go and easy to clean up.
- An empty duffel bag might seem like unnecessary bulk, but you’ll be glad you brought it. Between dirty clothes, treasures you find along the way and other odds and ends, you’ll be happy for the extra bag to carry all your stuff.
Experiencing the world is great for small kids, but it can be stressful to pack for them. As with anything involving children, expect the unexpected and try to think ahead as much as you can.
Plan a “Grown-Ups Only” Night
While you adore your children, sometimes you and your partner need some time alone to just be grown-ups and enjoy your time together. Plan to have at least one night that you spend alone so that when you arrive, you’re not scrambling to make plans. Some resorts or hotels offer childcare or nanny services. The prices on these can vary, but if you want to enjoy a night out without the added stress of finding someone to watch your kids, then it’s worth every penny for your peace of mind.
Traveling with a busy family is not always smooth, but pre-planning can help. Think about ways to plan ahead and get your family ready for an exciting and unforgettable vacation.