Traveling with your family can be just as hectic as it is fun, and all that activity usually leads to stress. When you’re feeling anxious, tired, or pulled in a hundred different directions, it’s impossible to have a good time or relax, so it’s important to plan well for your trip to ensure that you can make the most of it. One of the best ways to make your trip stress-free is to budget carefully so you won’t have to worry about overspending. It’s possible to have a good time without breaking the bank; the key is good planning.
It’s also a good idea to get the kids involved when you’re preparing for the trip. Allowing them to help is a good way to get them as excited about the journey as they are for the destination. Look online for printable maps that your child can bring along so they can follow your path, and plan out your stops in order to maximize the fun.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to traveling stress-free with the family.
Set a Budget
Setting a budget for your trip is crucial, and it will take some careful planning well in advance. Not only are there the big things to keep in mind — food, lodging, and the cost of your activities — you also need to consider gas, snacks, souvenirs, and a small emergency fund in case your car needs servicing or someone gets sick and requires medicine or urgent care. It’s important not to estimate when it comes to your travel budget; look online to get firm prices on the things you know you’ll need and build your budget around them.
Keep the Kids Entertained
Long trips can be difficult for kids, especially if they have lots of energy. One of the best ways you can keep them entertained is to be prepared with some tech. Coloring books and reading materials are fine, but some kids experience motion sickness, and these items may only make it worse. A smartphone or MP3 player with headphones, a tablet for movies and videos, or a portable gaming device will help the time go by much faster no matter what mode of transportation you’re taking. When you start shopping, look around for online deals on the devices your family uses most so you can update or upgrade before the big trip.
The way you pack for your trip is essential when it comes to reducing stress, so plan ahead. If you’re flying, consider the best way to pack light so you can save money on checked bags. Think about things like bad weather; if you pack inexpensive ponchos for everyone now, you won’t have to spend an outrageous amount on new ones at the theme park when a pop-up shower moves through. Buy a few small plastic containers at the dollar store so that each child can keep their snacks and other essentials organized during the trip. This is an especially smart tip for road trips; not only will it prevent bickering, but it will also help keep the vehicle clean.
Stick to Your Routine
One of the most difficult things about traveling, for children and adults alike, is getting off a regular routine. It can mess with your physical and mental state and lead to stress, anxiety, and meltdowns — especially for babies or younger kids — so it’s a good idea to try and stick to your normal schedule as closely as possible. You may be eager to pack as much into your trip as possible, but if it requires waking everyone up two hours earlier than usual, you’ll probably only be sabotaging yourself (and your vacation) in the long run. Keep things simple so that everyone will be comfortable, relaxed, and stress-free.
Traveling can take a lot out of you, so make sure you plan for a little rest during your trip. By preparing as much as possible ahead of time, you can ensure that everyone in the family has a good time on a journey that will create a lifetime of memories.