Think back to your last vacation. What do you remember most?
Those relaxing minutes on the beach while the kids played peacefully together (and you actually read one full page of your book uninterrupted)?
Or do you remember how you almost missed your flight because you had to run back to the house to get your wallet, then your toddler stalled for half an hour because he insisted on buckling his own car seat?
No trip is without a few hiccups. But hopefully these tips will help you avoid (most) major disasters so you can remember the moments that matter.
Plan as a Family
No parent is an island, and that goes for planning trips, too. (They call them family vacations for a reason!) So get everyone involved when planning your itinerary. Letting the kids help choose activities means you’re less likely to hear, “But I don’t want to do that,” making it easier to keep your cool.
The trick here is to find the balance between planning enough to keep everyone occupied and happy, but not so much that they’re tired and overwhelmed. Add buffer time to your schedule for the inevitable mishaps, and you’ll be surprised how much smoother the day goes. (You might even fit in a date!)
We know – planning is daunting task. But consider this: A little more effort before your trip can equal a lot less stress during.
Pack for the Journey (and the Destination)
A stressful trip can set the tone for your whole vacation. Which means that packing your car or carry-on is just as important as your suitcase.
Put on your (temporary) pessimist hat and imagine what could go wrong – then pack accordingly. Does motion sickness run in the family? Bring a change of clothes for everyone. Is your child accident-prone? A mini first aid kit is a must. Check out our road trip and flying packing guides for more ideas.
Explore Travel Apps
The truth is, you can only plan so much. Luckily, there are lots of useful travel apps for your phone that help you with all of those spur-of-the-moment details that can easily derail your day and detract from the overall experience.
They can help you find restaurants and stores near your airport gate, compare costs of public transportation and rideshare services, find the nearest gas station and even translate pictures of text in a foreign language. Download and familiarize yourself with the apps you think you’ll need on your trip. You’ll thank yourself later!
Amp up the Anticipation
They say that anticipating a trip is half the fun. So create a countdown calendar and make a ritual out of crossing it off each night. Have each family member make of list of what they’re most excited about doing when you get there. You can even begin immersing your family in the cuisine, music and culture of your destination.
Most of all, simply let yourself revel in the anticipation. You worked hard planning and preparing – so start enjoying it!
Hang on to the Memories
Coming home and getting back to your routine can be hard – and let’s be honest – a little depressing.
Once everyone is settled back in, make a point to reminisce together about your favorite parts of the trip. Print some pictures and hang them up on the fridge or frame them. Find a creative way to display your souvenirs.
Or, better yet, start dreaming about where you’ll head off to next summer.
These Travel Tips Were Brought to you by Gain
From laundry to dishes to cleaning, Gain helps you all around the house – so you can focus on gaining more family memories.