Tips for a Safe and Fun Family Vacation3 min read
Family vacations can leave you stressed – the planning, the budgeting, the worry over your young children wandering away, the worry over your older children… wandering away. Here’s something potentially comforting – you’re not alone. Thousands of parents planning family vacations feel the exact same way. And yet, there’s something about the family vacation that keeps us all planning year after year.
Although a fun trip may be worth all of the stress that comes along with it, it’s still important to ensure your kids are as safe as possible. Just follow these tips and you’ll be good to go:
Before You Leave
- Research. While a detailed itinerary isn’t necessary (unless you love planning!), the more you know about your destination and what you can do, the better the trip. Research attractions, prices, hours, and consider buying tickets to certain things ahead of time to avoid long lines and/or guarantee entry. You may find it helpful to speak with a travel agent about things to do as well.
- Talk to the kids. Reduce the number of temper tantrums and make everyone happy (or at least try to) by getting your child’s input early on in the planning process. You may think going to the train museum is cool, but your 12-year old daughter very possibly disagrees.
- Create a budget. Vacations can quickly get out-of-control and expensive, which leads directly to stress. Create a budget before you book anything and try to stick to it. Planning ahead might also help you find discounts and other deals you would have missed if you had waited.
- Pack healthy snacks. Whether it’s 20 miles before the next scheduled stop or there’s nothing but a selection of greasy foods, you’re going to want to have some non-perishable healthy snacks on hand. Here’s a great list of snacks to help you build your arsenal.
On the Way
- Secure loose items. If you plan on driving, make sure your suitcases and other bags are secured and won’t go flying around on every sharp turn or in the worst case scenario, a car accident.
- Bring your car seat. If driving, make sure the travel car seat is properly installed. Even if you’re not driving (but your child is of car seat-age), be sure to bring it with you just in case.
- Stop if you need to. If you’re driving and your child needs help and no one is able to do so, pull aside and handle it. Never try fixing the problem while driving.
- Buy seats for your kids. Purchase individual airplane seats for your child to ensure he is properly restrained.
When You’re There
- Allow for downtime. Not only will you and your family need time to unwind during a busy day, but you’ll want time to do your own thing (if your kids are old enough) as well.
- Expect the unexpected. Not every trip will go swimmingly, so keep that in mind during every vacation. With the right attitude, you’ll be ready to ‘go with the flow’ and find solutions to problems that suddenly arise.
- Practice sun and water safety. Wear sunscreen and reapply every two hours if spending a lot of time out in the sun. Also, be sure to practice water safety no matter where you are.
- Identify a central meeting spot. Determine a place where you and your family should meet if you are separated and can’t find one another.
- Stay Hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout every day of your trip.
Photo from Villas Costa Rica.