Tips for a Great Family Vacation
By Divine Caroline
As the days grow longer and warmer, summer plans are undoubtedly being imagined and shaped. Although family vacations can create wonderful, long-lasting memories for parents and children alike, traveling with kids can be a challenge—testing preparedness and patience.
Start the fun and wide-eyed smiles early! Create a count-down calendar, tell your children about the trip, showing photographs and videos, if available, of the destination. Incorporate vacation images and discussions into bed-time stories.
Getting There: Air Travel
- Allow plenty of time for airport check-in
- Review screening procedures with children before entering security checkpoints, so they will not be frightened by the process
- Obtain your seat assignment in advance; if possible, choose the first row—that little extra leg room will be appreciated
- For kids weighing less than forty pounds, bring a child-infant seat on board (or in the car, see below)
- In order to decrease ear pain during descent, encourage your infant to nurse or suck on a bottle. Older children can try chewing gum (four years of age or older) or blowing up balloons (eight years of age and older). Antihistamines and decongestants have not been shown to have benefit.
- To help kids sleep on international flights, antihistamines can be given. But I advise Moms to try to have their kids get a full nights’ sleep the night prior to traveling; on the day of, have them engaged in fun physical activities and limit their naps—in order to enhance the quantity and quality of their in-flight napping.
- Consult your pediatrician before flying with a newborn or infant who has upper or lower respiratory symptoms. Air travel should be avoided within two weeks of an episode of an ear infection.
- If traveling internationally, make sure your child is up to date on her vaccinations and check with your doctor to see if she might need additional vaccines
- A basic laminated immunization card should be carried for traveling kids and medical alert bracelets warning of any specific medical conditions/allergies are recommended
- Before international travel, contact your medical insurance company to see if additional coverage will be necessary
Getting There: Car Travel
- Bring blankets, pillows, and a variety of soft, lightweight toys and favorite CDs for a sing-along
- All children under thirteen years of age should ride in the rear
- Never place a child in a rear-facing car safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle that has an airbag
- Stop frequently at rest stops to stretch and make use of the facilities
- Keep your kids involved in the exciting process. Point out interesting sights along the way. Save brochures, ticket stubs, and the like, to create a scrapbook.
Finally, create a first-aid kit to take with you when traveling and to keep at home when you are not. With the above preparations and precautions, lie back and enjoy the fun and relaxation of your summer vacation!
Thanks to our friends at Divine Caroline!
Photo Credit: Limor Zellermayer