We have all witnessed the stressed out, overburdened sherpa parents at the airport sporting the blank stare of despair for what lies ahead. Traveling with kids is not quite as glamorous as flying by the seat of your pants with a carry on and the promise of unchartered carefree days. While those days may be over for awhile, with a little forethought you can still manage to have a fantastic time on the family vacation.
Start your preparations early and pack a travel capsule for you and your children. This consists of mix and match, easy to wear and comfortable clothing that can be used multiple ways. Plan on lightweight layers for the plane and easy slip on shoes. Tuck coloring books, crayons, a blanket and a lovey into your childs carry on. In yours, pack healthy snacks such as oranges (hydrating!) crackers, apples and string cheese. Wipes and a first aid kit are essential to keep on hand. Load up your smartphone or I-pad with educational apps or a special movie and don’t forget the headphones! Try wrapping a few small gifts such as stickers, a magnet set or a puzzle so your little ones have the fun of opening something new. If all else fails, a tantrum kit filled with lollipops, mini marshmallows and ear plugs can be a lifesaver. Pass the earplugs out to fellow travelers to avoid the evil stares.
Keep in mind, children are out of their beloved routine, perhaps in a foreign place on a different time zone. Staying close and connected, checking in frequently to make sure their needs are met will help to stave off meltdowns.
Once you have arrived at your destination, plan on taking the first day to rest and recuperate. Keep your bedtime ritual as close to home as possible with familiar books and a favorite stuffed animal. Familiarize yourself with the local restaurants and drugstores. While on vacation work it out with your partner so you can both sneak a few breaks to do what you enjoy. Go to the spa or gym, read a book or just daydream. Enjoy the time you spend together making memories. Keep your sense of humor and remember the greatest family legends always originate when things go terribly wrong.