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Family Travel Tips

Between boredom, crabbiness, and the possible finicky eater, you may have a challenge or two while you are away.

By
Cherylyn Feierabend
3-minute read
Episode #71

Hey there! You’re listening to the Mighty Mommy with some quick and dirty tips for practical parenting.

My friend Andy from The Andycast Podcast inspired me to talk about vacationing with kids. He recently took a family road trip and had a lot of fun tales to tell and tips to share.

Regardless of where you are going and how much you think the kids are going to enjoy the trip, or all of the fascinating vacation plans you’ve so meticulously arranged, there’s always a chance that the kids will get bored. Between boredom, crabbiness, and the possible finicky eater, you may have a challenge or two while you are away.

Combating Boredom

If your kids are prone to boredom or even if they aren’t, you’ll want to be prepared. Older kids should pick some items from home to bring along. You may think that a vacation is a great time to read and you can suggest that your kids bring some good books, but don’t be dismayed if they choose to bring along their hand-held video games. You’ll want to tell them that it’s a vacation and there will be all sorts of great things to see and do, but the fact remains that there may be downtime. It’s your choice, but vacations are supposed to be fun for everyone. I recommend that you let them bring their entertainment of choice and then set some guidelines about usage if it becomes an issue. The younger kids will need to make some choices too, but you may want to help. You might even stash a couple new toys away in your own suitcase for those times when the choices they’ve made don’t seem too entertaining. Letting your child have their own bag or backpack with toys, snacks, and other comforts from home will give him a feeling of independence. Help him pack by letting him choose some items on his own and then feel free to add some more you know will be enjoyed later.

Maintaining a Schedule

Of course my first inclination is to tell you to plan ahead and try to keep your family’s schedule as normal as possible. Well, it would be nice if we could do this on vacation, but let’s be honest. When I’ve gone to Disneyland, I’ve always wanted to stay for the Electric Light Parade and the Fireworks. I’ve spent all that money; I want to stay the full day. Do your best, but don’t be too hard on yourself if everyone doesn’t get their allotted amount of rest one day. If you have a full day and night of plans, try to arrange a later breakfast or even brunch on the following day. Sleep schedules can and will be messed up on vacation. Definitely schedule some downtime each day, especially for the smaller children. Do your best to make sure nobody becomes over-tired or hungry and you’ll have a much better chance to enjoy yourself.

Be Flexible

Even if you try to plan everything, be prepared to be flexible. Someone may get a tummy-ache, or decide that they don’t want to spend another day looking at historical artifacts. Maybe the local food is not as palate-pleasing for everyone as you anticipated. You may need to make some changes in your plans or changes may be made for you. Try to remember that a vacation needs to be relaxing for everyone, even Mom and Dad. If you need to make some adjustments, it will be much more pleasant if everyone can go with the flow. You may even want to make a pact with your family before you leave. Everyone agrees that everyone is on vacation and everyone will try to adapt to whatever obstacles may appear on your path. I can’t guarantee a perfect family vacation, but it will be what you make of it. So relax and enjoy yourselves. You deserve it.

[[AdMiddle]That’s it for now. I hope you’ve enjoyed the show. Thank you for listening.

Before I go, I want to remind you that Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty will be available wherever books are sold on July 8th. It’s the first book from a Quick And Dirty Tips podcast host and you can reserve a copy now or preorder one from your favorite online retailer.

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Road Trip image corutesy of Shutterstock

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