Planning your family’s summer getaway can be stressful. The SARRC team put together some helpful tips to help you organize your vacation ahead of time to make it an enjoyable trip for everyone!
Call ahead. A few phone calls could save you a lot of stress and hassle. Call the airline, hotel and tourist attraction you’re visiting and ask about accommodations for children. Will they allow for early check-in or late check-out to better match your travel schedule? If you need a crib or pull out sofa made up, most hotels will have it ready for you if call ahead. So if you arrive late, you can put your tired little one right to bed.
Time. Leave plenty of time when departing for a scheduled flight, ride or activity. There is nothing worse than the stress of trying to get somewhere in a rushed time frame. By leaving plenty of time to get to an activity and to spend at an activity, lots of your own stress can be alleviated. Allow an additional 30 minutes’ travel time and an additional 30 minutes to an hour at the activity. This makes frequent potty stops no big deal, and stopping to pick up sticks and leaves along a walk to the entrance of your activity a joy, instead of a pain point.
Pack your “carry-on” bag wisely. These days, airlines provide minimal snacks and beverages. If you’re traveling by car or airplane, be sure to store your bag someplace nearby with easy access. There is nothing more stressful than having to do yoga moves to access a snack while listening to your screaming child! Use baggies to create dozens of special treats and activities. Instead of handing your child a whole box of raisins, give them a snack size baggie with 10 to 15 raisins. They will have to open it, eat the raisins, throw the bag away, and then you can do it all over again with another snack. What would have been a two-minute box of raisins turns into an extended 20-minute snack time filled with a diverse assortment of goodies. (Plus, if they drop it, you still have plenty of snacks left...and a smaller mess to clean up!)
Activities. Use the same strategy for activities that you use with snacks. Make lots of little baggies full of activities. For example, in a small zip-lock bag, fold one or two coloring sheets. Place three or four crayons in the bag, and a small sheet of stickers. Next, two pipe cleaners and 15 to 20 Cheerios and you have a fun stringing activity ready to go. Create lots of little baggies that you can grab as you need them and you’ll be ready at a moment’s notice!
Stick to a routine. Many of us think about vacation as a time to relax and let go of our daily routines. For kids, this can be very challenging. Create a routine you’re comfortable following while on vacation. For instance, if your child’s bedtime routine at home always involves taking a bath and reading three books, continue doing this while on vacation. Have your child select the books you bring with you on vacation and be a part of the process. These little steps can make for a more enjoyable vacation.