Taking a trip as a family is one of the best ways to relax and get in some quality time together. Regardless of how old your children are or where you go, this concentrated family time is a highly important bonding experience. But while the actual vacation itself may be relaxing, the planning process can be quite the opposite. As a mom to two little ones, I know that the idea of planning a vacation can feel overwhelming enough to discourage you from leaving home in the first place. If you’re heading out on a trip soon, keep some of my go-to tips in mind in order to cut stress levels during the planning and travel processes:
Abandon the idea of perfection
It’s easy for parents to put a lot of pressure on themselves when it comes to planning and executing the perfect trip. You want to make sure your kids have an amazing and memorable time, and you can’t let little hiccups in the trip get you upset. One of the most important things I’ve realized about traveling as a family is that it’s not going to go perfectly. Flights are going to get delayed, dinner reservations will get lost in the shuffle, and drinks will get spilled. To prevent small incidences from derailing you, embrace the imperfection of your trip and make it a point to have fun anyway.
Pack your carry-on wisely
When you’re flying, you’ll want to pack your carry-on bag strategically. Even if you feel absolutely confident that the airline won’t lose your luggage, it’s always best to prepare for the worst. If you have medication that you need to take every day, pack it in your carry-on and not you checked luggage. Along those same lines, if you’re traveling with small children you’ll want to make sure to bring diapers, bottles, and other essentials with you onto the plane. This way, even if a bag is lost, you won’t feel a complete sense of panic. A fun way to bring along some kids items is to pack a small backpack for the kids to carry-on too! The bag can be filled with crayons, markers, stuffed animals, and some snacks. This will help free up space in the important carry-on and also get the kids more involved.
Make sure you feel confident about your arrangements at home
Many people spend so much time fussing over how things are going at home that they’re unable to really kick back and enjoy their vacation. If you have pets back home, make sure that you take the time to find a trustworthy pet sitter. When you know that your four-legged friends are in good hands, it helps you to relax and enjoy the trip. Also, make sure that you have someone in charge of taking your mail in, watering your plants, and attending to any other duties that will become important when you’re out of town.
Plan for Fun
Planning out some of the events and excursions prior to leaving can reduce confusion and stress. With my husband and two little ones, getting everyone on the same page can be somewhat difficult. Try and plan out some of the fun family events a few weeks before leaving. By doing that, you can save money on booking early and make sure you get that dinner reservation with Cinderella! Use your resources when looking for fun, kid-friendly attractions in your vacation destination. It doesn’t hurt to have a rough itinerary planned either, and just remember you’re on vacation to have fun!
Lastly, make sure to include only the bare essentials. Trust me, it always seems like a great idea to bring outfits for any possible occasion, until you’re forced to cart a massive suitcase through the airport. Take only what you need to enjoy the trip and leave the rest at home. You’ll need that extra room in your suitcase for all the knick-knacks you’ll be bringing home anyways.
Arianna is a full-time mom and a fashion-lover, world traveler, animal lover, and family woman extraordinaire. She loves to cook and bake, travel to new places, share great fashion finds, and spend time doing crafts and projects at home with her kids. She’s got a crazy busy life, but she wouldn’t have it any other way! Follow her blog at http://ariannaknowsbest.blogspot.com/