Do you have a trip planned this summer? Here are 10 tips to make your trip a little less stressful:
Set reasonable expectations - know the limits of your children (and yourself!). For example, will your kids be able to stay engaged for a 3-hour architecture tour, or would a shorter version be a better fit? Or if this tour is something that you really want to do, maybe go solo on the tour while someone else does an alternative activity with the kids - One parent does the architectural tour one day, one parent goes mountain biking solo for a few hours a different day
Bring plenty of food - bring a variety of treats, space them out throughout your trip, hide a couple of "extra special" treats for when it gets a little crazy. When we are on a long car ride, I will let them pick out a snack from the gas station when we have a couple of hours left. My older two can ration skittles to last for hours, and my youngest will eat them all before we make it back onto the interstate!
If you are flying with a baby, make sure to bring an extra outfit (or two) for you and the baby in your carry-on in case of a diaper issue or throw up.
Most airlines allow for family boarding, but if you have an assigned seat I will sometimes wait to board so the kids can run some energy out. We usually only travel with bags that can go under the seat in front of us so we don't have to worry about space for our carry-ons - or my husband will board early to get the bag stored and I will board later with the kids
If you are flying solo with kids, you can ask at the ticket counter if you can get a "gate pass" for someone to assist you through security and to the gate
If you are driving, plan a picnic, or take food to a park/playground instead of sitting down at a restaurant. This way your kids can run around and wear themselves out. On a long road trip, sometimes I will pick up food at a drive-thru and then drive to the next rest area along the interstate where kids can eat, run around, and get some energy out
Pack some new activities for when the kids get bored - a new book, raid the Target dollar area, a new app on the table, etc.
Download a variety of podcasts and audiobooks for the family to listen to on a long car ride.
Podcasts our kids love: WOW in the World, The Super Secret Hive, and Ear Snacks
Audiobooks: Any of the Harry Potter books will give us an absolute quiet car for a few hours!
Have your kids pick out an activity they want to do or a place they want to visit along the way or at the destination. Kids love getting to pick things out
Have a photo contest - post a picture taken by each person on social media and have people vote on their favorite. The winner gets to choose an activity or restaurant the next day on the trip!