Family travel brings to mind happy memories and nightmares. It is a wonderful bonding opportunity and a minefield for conflicts. In spite of the many pleasures, travel is stressful and travel with children of any age often adds to the stress. Use these tips from a former flight attendant and family traveler to reduce the stress and add some fun to family travel…
- Seek out attractions and activities that appeal to everyone. While most travel activities are group-oriented, respect the individual interests of each family member. Join forces to create a destination wish list that gives everyone a taste of their favorites from dining to diversions. Create a contest with rewards for finding the most unique travel destination experiences. Also, establish a family travel budget. Give each child a travel allowance to reduce constant pleas for souvenirs and snacks.
- Buy each child their own age-appropriate luggage. Choose kid luggage that is pulled easily or worn as a hands-free backpack. Be sure you can juggle their bag and your own in the event of a mid-travel meltdown. Teach school-age children to be smart travelers. Allow them to create their own packing list and pack their own luggage (with supervision). For infants and toddlers, use individual large zip-locked bags to separate each family member’s clothing. Pack at least two changes of clothing in a carry-on bag. Accidents and travel go hand-to-hand, especially with infants and toddlers. Check out some of the cute, kid-friendly, Disney themed luggage and backpacks at Boscovs.com.
- Discuss and practice clearing airport security ahead of time to take the uncertainty out of the process and avoid misbehavior. Check and re-check carry-on bags to ensure there are no tools or toys that could be mistaken for weapons. Be prepared for “owies” with a small first aid kit. Take medications and medical records for chronic illnesses and a current photograph of all young travelers, including teens, in carry-on luggage.
- At your destination, stay alert. Child-proof hotel rooms for toddlers—no matter how much you trust your child. Check out companions they meet and the activities they participate in at hotel and cruise ship camps. Know when, where and what teens are up to. Check rooms and baggage. Yes…snoop! Don’t take any chances with current travel security and stringent drug laws. Be safe… not sorry.
- When traveling with infants and toddlers, invest in a combination (FAA-approved) car seat/stroller. You would never hold an unrestrained child in an automobile, and holding a baby in an airplane (especially for take-off and landing) is dangerous. If a sudden stop occurs or the flight encounters unexpected turbulence, it is almost impossible to keep a firm grip on a baby in arms.
- Chill out! Stay flexible and calm. Children take their lead from you. If you are visibly upset and stressing out, they will meltdown and add more to your stress. When Murphy’s Law rears its ugly head, be prepared with Plan B and even Plan C.
In the words of Hodding Carter, “There are two lasting bequests we hope to give our children, one is roots; the other is wings.” With practice, a healthy dose of patience and a positive outlook, family travel creates memories that last a lifetime and wonderful wings.
Family Travel Sale
We’re having a Family Travel Sale! Book May 7-12, 2012 for great special offers on Disney vacations, cruises, tours and resort getaway. Click here to view our email announcement for more information.
For more information on family travel and other great travel tips, contact your local Boscov’s Travel Specialist, email email@example.com or call 800-755-8020.