7 Hacks to Being Prepared for Family Travels
Some of the very best memories a family can have are taking trips together. Family time is always a little extra special when combined with a vacation to an amusement park, to visit family out of town, or to simply enjoy some time together away from the stresses of daily life. These types of trips are great for bonding purposes and can help strengthen families according to family stress theory against the pressures and stressors that sometimes threaten family cohesion.
Take the family stress out of the trip so that you can focus on the fun family time instead. Here are some useful hacks for preparing your family for travel, whether you’re leaving for a holiday or just for some sightseeing fun.
Travel can be a bit of a chaotic time. You have to pack, actually travel to the destination, secure lodgings, unpack and adjust, on top of any activities you want to do while you are there. The best thing you can do to reduce the stress of the experience is to come up with a good plan.
We all plan things differently, but a few basic strategies should help anyone come up with a solid plan of action for their family travel.
Do Your Research
This is an important one. Research your destination and make sure you know what amenities are available, what entertainment, etc. Know what restaurants are close by. Have an idea about souvenirs or local customs (especially relevant if you are traveling far from home) that you would like to try. This will make the rest of your planning easier.
Involve the Whole Family
The best way to get everyone excited about the trip is to involve everyone in planning family time. Get input from everyone and find out what they want to get out of their trip.
It’s a great way to gather ideas and also know where to focus your attention during the trip to really make everyone happy.
Ideals, Not Itineraries
Sometimes, a strict itinerary can actually cause more stress than it solves. While you want to have some structure or plan for your trip, it may be best to create a looser bullet list with things that you would like to do and experience.
This way, you avoid feeling too rushed or like it’s too much work while you’re on what is supposed to be a fun family trip. Plan for ideals, not itemized itineraries with strict schedules.
Take Things Slow
This is easier said than done sometimes! You want to explore everything the trip has to offer, but you have to take into account the time to properly absorb everything you’re seeing.
Also, it’s a lot less family stress if you take your time to fully enjoy the trip instead of rushing from one activity or location to another. It’s okay if you can’t do everything this time—that’s what future trips are for!
Take pictures. Stop and just walk around, breathe the fresh air, and take in the sights of a new place. There’s plenty to enjoy about a family trip. Sometimes, it’s the simple things. Put away the electronics, the itineraries, and just appreciate the fact that you get to enjoy a family outing together.
How to Pack
Ah, packing. Unless you’re blessed with supreme organization skills, it’s always a hassle. You have so much to try to fit into a small space, and that includes getting the bags in the car (or worse, checking them and claiming them after a flight!).
There’s always some other necessity to put in, often at the last minute, and requiring you to rearrange things for the fifth time!
Travel Smart, Travel Light
One piece of advice is to travel lightly. Sometimes it’s best to really look at what you’re bringing and what you really need. After all, you’ll be picking up supplies (and souvenirs!) while you’re out, right? So you don’t have to take everything with you. The less you can travel with, the less hassle you’ll have with it.
Take only the necessities. You’ll save yourself money, time, and definitely stress.
Snacks on the Road
Snacks are one of the most important parts of a road trip! They can also be messy and cumbersome if you’re not careful. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to find snacks that travel well. Packs of beef jerky plus cheese stick combos make for a great and easy snack with little in the way of crumbs and wrappers. Energy bars can keep your crew revitalized on the road and offer little mess.
Try dried fruit for a slightly healthier hand-snack that won’t require any prep or leave much of a mess.
For drinks, especially with younger children who aren’t as accustomed to longer trips, be careful to moderate the amounts. You don’t want to hear the kids slurping the last bits of a big soda down a mere fifteen minutes into the trip!
Choose water bottles or purchase travel mugs and thermoses ahead of time. Juice and water are good for quenching thirst on the road.
Finding Family Fun
Once you’re actually at your destination, naturally you will want to make the most of it. Try websites like Booking.com to help you plan your activities. Combine them with some research to figure out the ideal location for your stay, closest to the attractions and other activities you want to do. The website can also help you find the best deal on your accommodations, freeing up extra cash for any opportunity that might come up.
This is where it’s important to do that research we mentioned earlier. If you’re not going for a specific purpose (such as a festival), look up some of the popular destination spots. Restaurants, specialty stores, and local events make for the most popular attractions.
If you can, try to talk to locals to find out about the experiences and places that might not be on popular travel guides. A little hole-in-the-wall restaurant might be the best place to eat in town, but you’d never know it if you didn’t talk to someone first!
Planning your stay around your desired activities will make everything a lot less stressful and put the focus squarely on all the fun you’ll have.