How to Plan Your First Family Vacation with Kids

Posted on by admin | in babysitting

Whether you’re planning your first vacation after becoming a parent or are bringing your kids along on your getaway for the first time, it will come as no surprise that planning a trip with the whole family is a bit different from the child-free jaunts of a childless couple. That’s not to say that it’s impossible, though. Taking a vacation with your children doesn’t have to be a stressful experience, especially if you take the needs of your pint-sized travelers into consideration during the planning phase.

Choose Your Destination Carefully

When it comes to planning a family vacation that includes little ones, one of the most important facets of the situation is choosing a destination. The right vacation destination will make for a memorable, enjoyable experience that you’ll be eager to repeat, while choosing a locale that isn’t well-suited to visiting youngsters will almost certainly be a recipe for disaster. Make sure that there are plenty of attractions that will interest your kids, and that the individual needs of your family are taken into account.

Weigh the Pros and Cons of Your Transportation Options

Driving long distances with a car full of kids can be a bit frustrating, but so can navigating an airport with kids in tow. You’ll want to think carefully about not only where you’re going, but how you’ll get there. For large families, driving may be more economical than flying, even when you take soaring fuel costs into account. Trains often take longer to arrive at their destination than a car, but many have private sleeping quarters available and include the cost of all meals in the dining car with the price of those quarters which makes up for the increased costs. You’ll have the option of pulling a car over to let restless kids stretch their legs or to accommodate a rumbling tummy, while you’re stuck in the air for the duration of a flight if your child decides mid-trip that she doesn’t like flying. Opting for air travel can shave days off of your transportation time, though. You should consider all of your travel options, the pros and cons of each and the individual needs of your kids as you make the choice.

Splurge on Lodgings

It may seem like a waste of money to spring for a suite when everyone will fit in a double room, but you’ll be forced to go to bed early with your kids to avoid waking them. Such tight quarters doesn’t allow much room for privacy, and a crowded hotel room can cause older kids to fight like cats and dogs when they get restless. In the long run, you’ll probably enjoy your vacation much more if the lodgings are roomy enough to accommodate everyone’s needs.

Don’t Overcrowd Your Schedule

When you’re in a new and exciting city for a relatively short period of time, wanting to take in all of the sights is normal. It’s also a recipe for disaster if the schedule is too tightly crammed. Kids tire out easily, get irritable if they’re hungry and will already be out of sorts after such an abrupt departure from their normal routine. Make sure that you leave plenty of room for naps, meals and quiet downtime in your daily schedule, as you won’t be able to enjoy your full schedule when everyone is crying.

Consider Child Care

The main objective of planning a family vacation is usually spending time together as a family, but there’s nothing wrong with slipping away to enjoy a bit of grown-up entertainment. Provided, of course, that you have access to high-quality childcare. Some resorts offer babysitting services, and many local nanny agencies will provide temporary childcare to families visiting the area. If you have a nanny on the payroll, bringing her along for the ride may also be a smart move. Before you leave home, however, you’ll want to have an idea of how you’d handle the childcare situation if the desire to experience nightlife or a meal that doesn’t include macaroni and cheese strikes.

Leave Plenty of Room for Diversions

Space in your suitcase or carry-on may be at a premium, but it’s better to jettison an extra outfit or two in order to make room for a portable DVD player, handheld video game or small toys than to have those things on hand while your bored, restless child complains relentlessly. Kids need diversions during long drives and flights, so make sure that you bring along enough options to provide them with some variety.

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