Travel with kids can be a great time of bonding and, and is an opportunity to build some fantastic family memories. No trip is ever perfect, but paying extra attention to a few important factors can mean the difference between yours being a glowing success or a stress filled failure.
We are preparing to take our 4 year old on his 8th International trip (and our 1 year old on his 3rd!), and have learned a few things from our past experiences.
1. Flight – The key here is keeping kids occupied and entertained and the time will fly by. Bring favourite toys, movies, video games, and snacks. Pack a few surprises as well. If you can, book an airline with seat back entertainment – kids love the novelty, and the power of controlling their own screen. Also, always pre-book seats, even if you have to pay a small fee to do it… the risk of not sitting together makes the cost worthwhile!
2. Food – Part of the joy of visiting a resort is not having to worry about food prep and clean up… yahoo! Just make sure you choose a resort with plenty of dining options, or one that is close to affordable off site restaurants. Read some reviews and make sure that people have been happy with the food, as this can sometimes make or break a vacation. Also, with access to bountiful buffets, it might be a good chance to implement a ‘try one new thing’ rule!
3. Pools – Even if you are headed on a beach vacation, don’t discount the pool. Ocean water can be rough, and some days you just want to avoid getting sand on everything and everywhere. Plus the pools are typically more centrally located and closer to activities, food, and drinks. Look for pools wth zero entry (beach style), shallow children’s pools, and even splash pads or mini water parks. Bring some balls, inflatables, and other toys, and if you have done some shopping you can leave large items for the next family to arrive if you like.
4. Kids Club – Look for resorts that have age and stage appropriate Kids Clubs for your children. Even an hour or two once a day or so can provide some fun engagement and interaction for your kids (and maybe even a break from the sun), and a welcome break for you. Talk about it with your kids ahead of time to reduce anxiety, start with short stints, or even stay with them the first time. Great Kids Clubs can really add to the overall vacation experience for your kids and help to make sure it IS a vacation for all.
5. Safety – A vacation should never be a vacation from safety or common sense. Be wary of balcony railings, bring outlet covers to keep little fingers safe, and enforce similar rules regarding safety to what you have in place at home. Remind your little ones that they ALWAYS always need to be able to see you and should never go in the water without telling you. Research your vacation spot ahead of time, and you will be much more relaxed when you arrive.
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