Traveling will give your kids the best education imaginable, especially when you use a trip as an opportunity to teach your children about other cultures’ foods, religions, histories, languages, and music.
But when you travel with your kids, you need to make specific accommodations to help everything run smoothly. So whether you are going to the Caribbean or Yosemite, here are some traveling tips to consider if you decide to take your kids on a fun, family adventure.
You will find vacation packing lists for children online that include such a long list of items that you would think the parents were preparing for a hiking trip into the jungles of Africa. The reality is that most of us will be taking our children to destinations with plenty of stores nearby.
Although it isn’t ideal to buy antacids for your kiddo with an upset tummy while you are on the go, it will be easier, in the long run, to move from location to location with as few light-weight bags as possible.
If you happen to be staying in a VRBO or other place with laundry facilities, you might want to bring only the clothes you would need for a few days and wash a load of clothes when you are able.
Make sure you bring the correct documentation
Check with the official government website for the country you will be visiting to find out what types of documents you will need to have when traveling with your child. Double check this information by calling a transportation authority in that country.
Some Caribbean countries require that children 16 and over has passports, while others may prefer that the parent has an official birth certificate in hand.
Make sure you check on the required documentation as soon as you book your trip. Obtaining passports and official documents can take time.
Make sure your child knows your name and phone number
On the off-chance that you and your child become separated, it is vital for each child to know your full name and phone number.
If you don’t think your child can remember this information, write it on a piece of cardstock and keep it in your child’s shoe or pocket. Make sure the child knows that the information is there.
Slow the pace
Traveling with children is different than traveling with adults. If you are used to action-packed trips that are fully-scheduled from dawn to dusk, know that you will need to slow your pace when you travel with your children.
An island resort is a perfect place to travel to with children. The laid back atmosphere of most island countries often has just the right pace.
Let your child examine the small crabs scuttling along the beach. Take a moment to watch the dolphins play in the waves. Smell the roses in the gardens of Jamaica. Teach your children that the natural world is full of wondrous things to explore and take time to explore them.
Give your child time to decompress
Some children are more sensitive to outside stimuli than others. If your child is especially sensitive, give them time to decompress several times each day.
This may mean that you find a quiet, secluded, dark spot to rest in during your day’s adventures. While it may be best to spend these moments in silence, you could also consider bringing a book that you can read to your child for a few minutes at a time. Avoid screen time during these breaks, as they add more stimuli for your child to process.
Your child will not be the only one to benefit from these quiet moments. You will also feel more relaxed and ready for your next activity after taking a quick break.
If your child still takes naps, make sure you do everything possible to keep them on the same schedule.
Pre-purchase as many event tickets as possible when you are planning your trip. While pre-purchasing may help eliminate the time required to stand in line, understand that some places require that you show up at specific times to complete the activity.
Bring lots of snacks and drinks
No one wants to be around a hangry child. Purchase plenty of healthy snacks for your child to enjoy throughout the day. Although many parents use vacations as an excuse to eat junk food, be aware of how your child may react to artificial colors and flavorings, they are not used to in their regular diets.
Use your vacation as a time to reconnect with your children. Your kids are only young once.