I love to travel. In fact, one of my favorite things to do is load up our 12-passenger van (it’s true, we really have one), and head out on vacation with my wife and kids. I’m excited for our next trip, coming this July!
With summer just around the corner, many of you will be packing up and heading out on a great adventure with your family as well. Before you do, you’ll want to read this post!
This is a guest post by Kendra Thornton. I’m pleased to introduce her to Confessions Of A Parent readers. She is the former Orbitz Director of Communications where she spent time traveling all over the world. She has since been promoted to full-time mom. In this post, she gives 5 great ways to make your upcoming family vacations healthy and fun, while holding on to your sanity in the process. You can follow her on Twitter or check out her website by clicking here.
In just a few weeks, the school year will be over, and families will once again load their cars for family vacation. Whether it’s driving to Granny’s house or going to Disney, there are several things parents can do to make the trip a little easier for the entire family.
Remember, though, its summer vacation, a time to relax and have fun. The more flexible you are, the less stress you’ll experience. Don’t forget that you’re trying to leave the rigid schedules and long chore lists behind.
Here are 5 ways to stay healthy and sane on family trips:
1. Always eat a healthy breakfast!
Many hotels offer continental breakfasts with options like oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, and orange juice. Others provide kitchenettes that make it easy to serve breakfast in the room and to pack picnic lunches to go. This gives you more control over the menu and costs less than eating out, especially in places like theme parks and tourist attractions.
2. Pack healthy snack options for the car and motel.
Finger foods like nuts, pretzels, and trail mix give kids a chance to munch along the way without raiding the convenient stores when the family stops for gas. Keep sweets at a minimum, but include enough for kids to enjoy a special treat. Foods that don’t melt in a hot car or stick to little hands are preferable. However, if you need to stop and get that on-the-go meal, you can still make healthy decisions at fast-food places.
3. Try to maintain a reasonable sleep schedule, and encourage kids to take naps while riding.
Adequate rest improves moods and makes the time pass more quickly. The less you upset their normal sleep habits, the easier it will be to resume a normal schedule when you get home. When searching for a place to stay, keep in mind that most Orlando hotels in Walt Disney World offer quiet hours; this will inevitably give your family a solid nights rest!
4. Stop along the way, preferably in a clean, grassy area where the kids can work off excess energy.
Exercise helps to eliminate squirmy legs and arguing in the back seat. Encourage everyone to use the restroom during stops, and take kids seriously when they say they need to go to the bathroom at any time.
5. Pack backpacks with age-appropriate markers, paper, and games.
This helps to keep kids busy in the car or on the plane. On the way home, they can draw pictures or write about their trip, gather their postcards and ticket stubs in a scrapbook, or play quiet games. Don’t forget that crayons, like chocolate, melt in hot cars.
Be prepared for surprises along the way, and use them as teaching moments. Rainy days and funky motel rooms may not seem like fun at the time, but they may become some of the family’s most cherished memories. Just to be safe, pack inexpensive rain parkas, anyway.
I hope these travel tips make your next family vacation a much smoother and more enjoyable journey. Don’t start your family vacation off with unnecessary and added stress…simply plan ahead and be prepared. It always seems that when the kids are content, stomachs are full and on a full nights rest, the sun tends to shine a little brighter! Enjoy 🙂
Question: What are some additional ways that you’ve found helpful in making family vacations fun and healthy? Leave a comment in the comment section below this post!
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