Taking a family vacation can be a wonderful adventure and a fantastic way to make lasting memories with your loved ones. Before you pack those bags and load your household up to go, there are some things you should keep in mind.
No matter where you are going, packing can be highly stressful. Being underprepared leads to having to look for and purchase items when on route or at your final destination, while bringing too much can mean the burden of carrying extra luggage and items that you may never really need. To prevent this hassle, determine beforehand what you activities you want to do, the climate and at least the very basics of your vacation destination, and then figure out your packing essentials. Having these facts ahead of time will save you a lot of time and inconvenience down the vacation-road. If you’re going for longer than an extended weekend, reflect on whether you’ll have “down time” that will allow you to hand-wash certain items so you don’t have to pack a separate outfit for every single day you’re away.
Road Trip & Long Flight Boredom
Kids become easily bored during long road trips or on an extended flight, so be sure to bring something along to amuse them. Electronics, books, crayons and coloring books are a great time-killer when travelling and will keep those little ones from asking you over and over…”are we there yet?” In addition, the back of a car can become a bit like a cage for active kids, which can lead to pent up energy and squabbling. Having a variety of things planned (word games, cards etc.) will ease the noise level and the frustration of fighting kids. If your vehicle is equipped with a DVD player, then load up on the kids’ favorite movies and let the miles pass you by with ease.
Nothing ruins a vacation more than someone in the family getting sick. Although, not all illnesses can be avoided or predicted, you can plan ahead for small medical “emergencies” that will help save the day. Take along a first aid kit that includes the basics like pain relievers, stomach medicine and, of course, all your family’s prescription medications and vitamins. Having these on hand for a quick fix will save you having to find the relief needed when in the midst of the problem.
When adventuring to a fun family vacation destination, you will want to explore all the sights and exhibits it has to offer. However, people tend to forget that they will most likely end up with sore feet from sightseeing. Be sure to explore all options when it comes to comfortable shoes to walk in. While you will undoubtedly benefit from footwear that is specifically designated for the trails or beach, even your more formal shoes should be equipped to handle walking. Strive to find options like the Naot shoes found here that will easily fit in at a fancy restaurant, but can also handle miles of cobblestone streets.
Do your Homework
Researching the place you are traveling to thoroughly before you leave is a great way to avoid running into surprises. Make a list of all the things you want to see, the distances between them, which form of transportation you plan on taking and how much time the journey should take (make sure to overestimate in case you get lost once or twice). Also, when traveling to faraway locations, be sure to check the season, and weather conditions that can be expected. These may sound insignificant now, but bad weather and jet lag can throw a wrench into your plans.
Make Time for Naps and Downtime
If you are traveling with young children, it is important to give them downtime over the course of the day. Late nights, early mornings and busy activities can be tiring for little ones, so consider giving them an occasional break or allow for a nap before filling up the rest of the day with fun. If your teenagers are responsible, let them go off on their own to explore what they’re interested in. This can be a great way to give them some “me-time” and let them experience the vacation in their way. However, be sure to set rules and a time for them to be back and have them carry their cell phone at all times.
Go With the Local Flow
Having a plan is great, but don’t stick to it like glue. Ask the local people what they might recommend seeing. They are sure to have a better idea than anything else you may have read. This is a great way to discover new activities that your travel agent may not have known about.
Stay Fed and Hydrated
A hungry and thirsty family is a cranky family. When traveling by foot, car or any other method, be sure to have snacks and plenty of water on hand. Drinking water is unbelievably important, and thirst is often confused for hunger. Always carry a water bottle to avoid paying for this necessity. Replenishing your body is key to keeping up the energy levels, as well as having a happy healthy vacation together.
Taking a family vacation doesn’t have to spell disaster. By doing your research and planning ahead for what you can, your trip can be relaxing, exciting and most of all, a time to bond with your loved ones.
Nothing kills a fun family vacation like an injury. Even worse, though, is not having insurance to cover unexpected injuries or accidents. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, check out the family travel insurance options for New Zealanders here.