Being a mom of three kids means I am well versed in how to have a successful vacation with kids. Kids get bored on vacations and many times, many people choose not to travel with their kids.
For Mike and I, that was never an option. Most people that know us, know we don’t leave our kids anywhere. We love traveling with them. For us, the excitement on their faces during vacation means more to us than we’re willing to give up.
Of course, traveling with three kids isn’t always easy. Sometimes, the kids really annoy the heck out of us. They start fighting in the backseat. They throw temper tantrums about nothing! And, sometimes they throw temper tantrums about nothing! And, sometimes they can really push our buttons and make us wonder why we took a vacation in the first place.
I know we’re not the only family who has ever struggled with kids on a family vacation, that’s why I decided to share exactly what we do that makes our vacation with kids a success.
Be Willing to Stop
I cannot tell you all the memories my family has made just by getting off the interstate and stopping somewhere new. Whenever you are traveling with kids, driving for 8-hours straight may be nice, but let’s be practical. Kids need to wear out their energy. That’s why it’s important to make tiny little stops, even if it’s just bathroom breaks. Whenever we are traveling, we always make sure to eat inside of a restaurant as opposed to getting food to go. These little stops really break up the day and keep kids from getting overly bored.
Whenever you are traveling, with or without kids, it should always be fun! If someone sees a new place they want to check out, do it. Even if you think it’s silly, it’s vacation, explore. Whenever you make vacation fun, it becomes less of a “torture” to kids and they will learn to love traveling.
I always try to leave early morning (just early enough that my husband and I will be functioning and awake enough to drive, but late enough we’ll be awake that evening) to allow the kids to sleep for the first few hours. This buys us quiet time and a lot happier kids when they wake up. Plus by the time they usually wake up, we have traveled a few hours and a couple hundred of miles.
Whenever you’re vacationing with kids, the inevitable can happen. Always be prepared. Even if you think you have everything down to a “t”, things can still happen. One year, my family ended up getting stranded in Huntington, West Virginia on our way to Lexington, Kentucky. Even though we checked our car before we left, our brake lines ended up breaking and we had no choice but to find a small-town mechanic to fix them. We ended up spending hundreds of extra dollars and we had to walk around Huntington – near Marshall University – in the middle of a snowstorm with three kids!
In order to have a successful vacation with kids, sometimes you will need to bring help. For instance, if you are planning on crossing off Disney World on your bucket list and have both older kids and younger kids, you will need help to have fun. Bringing help is always a good idea for theme parks because it gives you the option to ride more rides and have less of a stressful vacation. Help is also great at beaches with toddlers because they are so full of energy.
Leave Time for Stops
With little ones, there’s always someone who has to pee or is thirsty, so stopping the car is inevitable, it has to be done. Leave plenty of time in between arrival times so you can make it on time without stressing.
Choose Your Destination Wisely
Last year, my family and I saw so many of our Facebook friends bragging about the beach, so when we decided to head to the beach, later that year, we had a miserable time. We were expecting so much more, but in reality, going to the beach with 3 kids all under 5 was a nightmare for us and involved lots of chasing and very little relaxing. Just because someone loves a certain place doesn’t always mean you will, so be sure to plan your vacation destination wisely.
How do you make vacation a success with kids?