Taking a spring break is meant to be a fun and relaxing experience for the whole family. However, traveling with young children can be difficult and stressful, especially if you are not used to it. Here, we have nine top travel tips for families to help ensure your family spring break is stress-free.
Find the perfect destination
It probably goes without saying but finding a destination which is suitable for the whole family is really important. Disney comes to mind, of course, but there are plenty of other choices as well if that’s not your thing. Make sure there is plenty to keep the children occupied, but also ensure there are activities for adults to enjoy alone if possible. Make sure there are any facilities you might need for your baby or child (changing/ feeding rooms for example).
Try and keep to a routine
This is especially important for babies and toddlers. Try and keep naptimes and mealtimes similar to what you would do at home, to ensure they don’t get cranky as a result of being too hungry or tired. For older kids, it’s worth trying not to let them stay up too late at night and sleep in in the morning, as adjusting back to normal when you return home could be difficult.
Prepare your child for the journey
If you are going to be having a long journey, ensure you have plenty of distractions prepared for your children. Pack enough snacks and drinks to last the duration of the journey and find some small and easily portable toys to keep them entertained. You could also consider downloading a movie or two onto your tablet or phone.
Be Sun Safe
If you are visiting a part of the country which gets a lot of sunshine, be sure to be well prepared. Pack cool light clothing which covers all of your child’s skin – a light cotton long sleeve top is much better than a vest. Ensure your children wear sunscreen with SPF 15 or above. Make sure to apply it frequently, and after swimming or sweating. When possible, young babies should be kept out of the sun completely. Make sure to pack an umbrella to keep your baby in the shade and ensure they have strong sunscreen applied if they will be exposed to any sun.
Make sure you have packed everything
Check what is included at your accommodation. You might be surprised about what is or isn’t included, so be sure to find out to make sure you don’t forget to bring anything important.
Create a plan
If you have more than one child, it’s a good idea to create an itinerary for the trip which includes activities for both children. Children like to know what they are going to be doing, so write down a list of activities and let your child see what they will be doing each day. This might also help prevent siblings fighting over what to do each day.
Think about safety gear
Car seat safety still applies on vacation. Make sure to bring appropriate child restraints along with you. It’s typically not recommended to rent car seats. For children who are still rear-facing, we recommend buying an inexpensive, lightweight convertible seat to make travel easier. For children age 3 and older, we recommend a RideSafer travel vest for travel. It’s super easy to use and portable.
If you are trying out a new sport on vacation, make sure to use the appropriate safety gear. Also make sure your kids know about safety at the pool. Children should always be supervised when swimming or playing near water, especially in areas where there isn’t a lifeguard. Make sure your child is within reach when playing in the sea and teach everyone what to do if they get caught in a current. It’s advised to swim parallel to the shore until you are no longer being pulled by the current, rather than trying to swim against it.
Try some educational activities
Spring break can be expensive – going to attractions can be costly, especially when added to the costs of travel and food. Why not try some educational, free activities with your children instead? Do some research about your destination online before traveling and see what might interest your kids. You might also find some discounted entry vouchers for various attractions if you book advance online.
Keep your house safe when you’re away
With all the excitement of packing and preparing for a spring break, it can be easy to forget about keeping your house secure. It’s a good idea to have a trusted neighbor keep an eye on your house to make sure there’s no suspicious activity going on. You might also find it helpful to leave some small lights on a timer for a few hours each day and arrange for someone to pick up your mail. This will put off any potential intruders, and make it look like someone is home.
Hopefully, you have found some of these tips helpful when preparing for spring break. The most important thing however, is to relax and have fun with the kids! If you take time to plan and prepare for your vacation, you are sure to make some great memories to last a lifetime.
Emily Dick has recently graduated with an Honors Degree from the Open University in the field of social science. She enjoys writing about a range of topics such as parenting tips and advice and reviewing the latest toys and games for children. Emily is currently raising her two-year-old daughter and two pet cats.
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We originally published this post in March 2019. We updated the article for accuracy and comprehensiveness.