Pulling off a great family vacation with young kids takes some planning and timing. Here are eight tips for traveling happily with your family.
1. Remember to plan ahead
Always plan ahead and make a list of what you want to do to minimize last minute bookings and sloppy packing that may add unnecessary stress during traveling time. Think about these: Local or overseas? Budget or extravagant? Drive or fly? This brings us to point 2.
2. It’s good to start small
It depends on how many kids you have and how young they are but we suggest you start small, i.e. somewhere near so that if anything goes wrong, you can still drive back home. A stay-cation in a nearby hotel with a family-friendly theme park sounds good. The next step, you can bring them on longer road trips to other local places of interest. When timing is right and your little people are more accustomed to traveling long distances, you can then plan for flying trips for overseas vacation.
3. Always pack light
A few tips:
- When you pack your suitcase, use Ziploc bags to differentiate the types of clothing. This will minimize the need to rummage through the entire suitcase just to find one T-shirt or your kid’s socks or your bikini, etc.
- If you need to bring a stroller, bring a compact stroller like the BABYZEN YOYO+. It fits just about anywhere, and will follow you on-board a plane as hand luggage. It can be folded up, unfolded, and steered with one hand.
- If you are a seasoned babywearing parent, bring along your baby carrier as well. Babies and even toddlers love to be carried. Recommended baby carriers: Boba, Ergo Baby, Daiesu, Jumpsac. We will carry SNUGGbaby carriers very soon!
- Pack an emergency bag (see point 4).
4. Keep an emergency bag within reach
Things to pack in this emergency bag include medicines, band-aids, snacks for both adults and kids (we highly recommend Organix Goodies), food pouches for babies, spill-proof water bottle, tissue paper, toilet rolls, wet wipes, garbage bags, toiletries, and activity packs for your kids. See point 5 about activity packs. Most importantly, keep them within reach all the time!
5. Prepare surprise activity packs for the kids
Kids are kids so they do get bored easily. Prepare surprise activity packs for the purpose of distraction and to keep them occupied for some peace and quiet time. What can be packed include fun snacks, Lego, toy cars, action figures, dolls, cartoon characters, art & craft, books, puzzles musical toys, electronic toys, stickers, you decide! The trick is, bring a mix of your kids’ favorites and throw in some new ones that they have never seen before or have always wanted. This variety will keep your kids engaged for longer periods of time.
6. Bring a good thermal food jar
If you’re bringing a baby under 18 months with you, it’s good to be able to cook his food because most restaurant food might not be suitable. For this purpose, bring a good thermal food jar that can you can use to cook on the go. You can buy raw food from nearby market if there’s one. We recommend Zojirushi thermal food jar. We have written a blog post about how to use the Zojirushi thermal food jar to cook on the go.
7. Make time for short breaks during long road trips
Stop the car after a few hours’ drive. The kids will be happy to have such short breaks where they can come out and play to release some pent-up energy after spending hours being cooped up in the car. Short breaks are useful – they can be toilet breaks, sightseeing breaks, tea-time breaks, basically any sort of breaks to curb boredom and minimize the chance of the kids becoming cranky and whiny.
8. Talk, laugh, sing together!
You may have done the best vacation planning in your life but what keeps the spirit up is when everyone is talking, laughing and singing together! Prepare a family-friendly song list and blast that radio loud. When the kids are happy, everything is fine. 🙂