Surviving Summer Travel with the Tykes

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summer vacation with the tykes

If you’re planning on traveling for the upcoming 4th of July weekend, you’ll be joining the estimated 43 million other Americans doing the same, according to the American Automobile Association (AAA). The number of travelers this holiday weekend is expected to be the highest on record, with 5 million more travelers compared to the number traveling over Memorial Day weekend.

It’s going to be a busy travel weekend, but that doesn’t mean you have to break out in a sweat, especially when traveling with wee ones.

Care.com shares simple tips to make your family trip a vacation. Yes, a real vacation that everyone in the family will survive and, better yet, enjoy.

Survival is the operative word, and even the best parents can get derailed on a vacation.

Always Know Where the Good Coffee Is.
You never know when you are going to need a $5 coffee drink to keep from calling the vacation off. And never put down your $5 coffee drink to help/herd/deal with your children. It could spill and then you’ll have to call the vacation off.

Pack Light.
Don’t bring the things you don’t need. And focus on your children. The less you carry, the more chance you have to carry them when they get sleepy or cranky.

Keep It Simple in the Car.
If you take a lot of long car trips, have a big tub of books that the kids never see except in the car.

road trip with kidsKeep Snacks on Hand.
As many as you can, as often as they ask for them.

No Juice!
Oy, the peeing.

Always Carry Plastic Bags.
Lots of them. Because you never know when an entire outfit will be covered in puke or something worse. You’re going to want to tie that up and throw it away.

Keep Expectations Low.
Hotels in transit are hell. Just accept this now. If you get four hours of sleep in a hotel room with four over-tired, excited children, consider it a gift.

Divide and Conquer, Then Run Them Ragged.
Keep them out late. When you have to spend the night in a hotel on the road, let them jump on the beds and watch TV until 7 pm. Then take them out to dinner. Yes, they are hellishly cranky, but at least they’ll sleep when they get home. And there’s really no under-valuing the joy of playing with your smart phone while crouched in the bathroom because all the lights are off in your hotel room.

Think Big for Accommodations.
For your destination hotel, rent a house or a condo. Seriously. You want a kitchen, lots of space, and room for time-outs. It’s cheaper with a family because you save so much on eating out.

Breathe!
September isn’t far away. And never let your kids drink unchlorinated pool water the day before you fly back. That’s not pretty.