Traveling with Kids: Helpful tips

It's a word my son learned this year and it makes us smile when we say it. 
Remember traveling without kids? Ahh easy peasy. After kids? Well it's a whole new experience of travel. Am I right?
Vacationing as a family is not always easy and some trips you may find are more trouble than they're worth. But since we now have two children, I admit in past excursions I've made some serious rookie mistakes that cost my family's temporary sanity, but this last vacation has been a lesson learned since we had a toddler AND a baby.  I'm no expert yet, but we have less tears and more fun infused in some of our recent vacations and future adventures ahead. 

So in lieu of summer break when families tend to go on their great adventures, I've compiled a list of survival tips when traveling with small kids. 

1. It's Not About You- It's About Them: Once you realize this, you'll enjoy yourself a lot more. Kids do not understand the concept of relaxation, nor do they care about white-sand beaches and exquisite food and wine. Actually your children will like the sand but you get my drift. 

2. Choose a Destination that Welcomes & Caters to Kids: A family friendly resort/cruise like vacation is relaxing for us parents and fun for your children because you don't have to drive, planned activities are given, and atmospheres are amazing. Two Apps: MiniTime and Trekaroo give you lists of kid-friendly hotels, attractions, restaurants and shopping in any destination. 

3. Lower Your Expectations: Expect the worst, hope for the best. Many of us build up these grand illusions of our vacations, only to be disappointed when real life gets in the way. There will be delays, challenges and snags in your plans. Accept it and prepare, that's all you can do. When you set your expectations low, everything else will seem like a bonus!

4. Plan Travel Times During Nap Times: If you have a three-hour flight, try to plan it when your little ones usually nap. At first the excitement will take over, but once they feel the vibration of the plane-it's lights out. Hopefully right?!

5. Stay Away From Sugar: I repeat, don't give your kids any candy, juice, chocolate, etc., during travel times. You might think this is a no-brainer, but you'd be surprised. Instead, have fresh snacks prepared. For example, whether we fly or drive, I prepare my son's lunch and snacks in a laptop bento boxIt sits on his lap and he has a variety of food in sight. 

6. Pack Heavy: Depending on where you go, always remember to bring a stroller/baby carrier to a resort, consider a wagon to the beach, remember you can't push a stroller in sand and a ton of fresh snacks for your little ones. Toys and entertainment are a must. Young kids have the attention span of a goldfish. Pack a bag with toys, chargers, coloring books, their favorite items-anything that fits. A charged IPad for the airplane is necessary. There are a ton of kid friendly apps that don't require the internet. Some of our favorites are PBS Kids, Duck Duck Moose, KidsDoodle and all of the Sandra Boynton books.

7. Make An Itinerary: Create a schedule of events and stick to it. Kids are creatures of habit; they like to follow schedules and direction. Fill their days up with activities so at night they welcome sleep. Start the fun early! You might get lucky and get your kids to nap mid-day and have a kid friendly party at night!

8. Go with Your Friends and Families who Have Kids: They make great company, help if needed and a ton of fun for you and your kids.

Overall, the most important thing you need to remember is to let your kids be kids on vacation. Once you allow this, it might just bring out the inner-kid in you.

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