Having a plan for family travel is critical for managing the stress that can exacerbate chronic pain. Thankfully, it is entirely possible to stray away from home without losing your mind or overspending. Here are a few tips from Mom’s Choice Awards on how to travel when you have an entourage that includes people of all ages.
Determine Your Gear Well in Advance
No two vacations are alike, and you will need to pack for the one you are taking, not for all contingencies. Additionally, if this is your baby or toddler’s first foray away from home, make sure to pack items that will make them feel comfortable. Their bassinet or a favorite stuffed animal will go a long way toward helping them settle in at a strange place on the first few nights.
Speaking of gear, if you’re traveling with animals, make sure to bring things like a pooper scooper and waste disposal bags, a pillow for them to sleep on, and their food and water. When you have school-age children along for the ride, allow them to bring their favorite devices. Do think ahead and pack at least one power bank for the road, as well as make sure that your car charger is up to the task. Having the right gear ahead of time will save you from unexpected expenses during your journey.
Secure Your Valuables
Regardless of where you travel, nothing is harder on your budget than being scammed or having money stolen. It’s important to make use of best practices when on vacation to make sure that you are not a target for theft.
If you travel abroad and hit a snag, keep in mind there are low-cost ways to receive funds from the US. When you’re vacationing in places like the Dominican Republic, Cancun, or Rio, there are money transfer services that cost little or nothing to get funds to you fast. To ensure you avoid a major financial hiccup, you might want to establish an account before you travel.
Pick Activities for the Entire Family
Just like no two vacations are alike, neither are two children. Nowhere is this more apparent than when there is a significant age difference—five years or more—between your kids. When this is the situation, be very conscientious of the activities you plan. A fairly safe bet for everyone is to center the bulk of your excursions in the outdoors.
Not only is spending time outdoors a great way to disconnect from your devices, but it also has a host of mental and physical benefits for kids of all ages. Reserve America explains that being out in nature inspires imagination and encourages physical activity. When you need to cater to the 14-and-up crowd, it might be wise to skip the hotel every once in a while and head out for a camping trip. You may initially get some pushback, but remind your teens and tweens that camping does not have to mean pitching a pop-up tent and roughing it for days on end.
If you plan on vacationing in a city, New York, for example, make sure you have something planned that everyone can enjoy. You might have to skip a fine dining experience, but an afternoon at the ballpark will have everyone in the family chanting “Let’s go Yankees, let’s go!” Large cities mean there are always opportunities for family fun to enjoy.
A Special Note on Traveling With Babies and Toddlers
Even if you already have older children, if you’re traveling with a new baby for the first time, you want to pay close attention to the planning process. First, take as little gear as possible. While you absolutely need a bassinet, call ahead to your hotel or rental car provider to ask if you can rent a car seat.
You can also save space on a stroller by investing in an inexpensive baby carrier. If you are still breastfeeding, keep in mind that there are laws that protect you while doing so within the US. However, confirm if there are any public nursing restrictions if you plan to travel outside of the country. Finally, make a point to eat in. Not only will cooking save you a ton of money, but it will also cut down on sensory overload for tired toddlers.
Traveling is a special experience, and it is something you can share with your entire family. But remember, plan ahead, know what you are getting yourself into, and make the best decisions based on the ages and stages of those in your group.
This article was brought to you by Mom’s Choice Awards, which evaluates products and services created for children, families, and educators. The program is globally recognized for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products, and services. The organization is based in the United States and has reviewed thousands of items from more than 60 countries.
For more information, please contact us today!
About Charlene Roth
Charlene is a stay-at-home mom of four. She’s a chronic worrywart and can’t help but always be concerned for the welfare of her kids. She feels better knowing that she’s taking steps to educate herself – and her children – on how to stay safe in every circumstance she can think of.