5 Ways to Have a Stress-Free Vacation With Kids

5 Ways to Have a Stress-Free Vacation With Kids

Traveling with your kids doesn’t always have to be a disaster. It can actually be a blast!

By: Nicole Fabian-Weber

Once you have kids, vacations take on a completely new meaning. They're not exactly -- how do I put this? -- relaxing. Here's the thing, though: Even though the days of sleeping until noon and then moseying on over to the beach are over once you bring your children with you on a trip, vacations with kids don't have to be stressful. In fact, they can be completely, totally awesome. You just need to adjust your perspective and expectations a bit.

Headed somewhere warm this winter? Lucky you! Here are five tips for having the best vacation ever with your kids.

1. Think realistically. If you're going to a relaxing location with your young children and you expect to relax, I have news for you: You're going to be disappointed. Of course, you don't want to go into your trip thinking it's going to be a bust, but be realistic in what you expect to accomplish while there. For instance, if you have a toddler with you, you're probably going to have to forgo that afternoon touring local museums. Be prepared to see everything through your kids' eyes, so to speak, and it's sure to be a good time.

2. Don't stay somewhere fancy. Fact: Fancy hotels are amazing. With their 9 million thread count sheets, amazing views, and luxurious showers, who wouldn't want to wake up in a five-star joint every day while away? People with kids! Unless you have the most well-behaved children in the world, who will automatically obey you if you say "shh!" you don't want to be in a fancypants hotel. Not only will rowdy kids seriously annoy other guests who shelled out big bucks (making you feel self-conscious or annoyed), fancy hotels just aren't very kid-friendly. Never mind trying to find a high chair, many super posh hotels won't even allow children at the pool! It isn't the most glamorous thing in the world, but your best bet is to stay somewhere that's advertised as family-friendly.

3. Pack light. You're probably laughing at the thought of packing light for a family, but it's so worth it. Not only will you probably not use or wear a good portion of the things you pack, lugging 50 suitcases through an airport and into a taxi (and storing them in your room) isn't fun. Pack lightest for yourself (you're not going anywhere fancy, remember?), and if possible, ship super bulky or heavy things (like diapers) to the hotel. Also, if feasible, try staying somewhere that has laundry. Being able to wash clothes on vacation is a life-saver.

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4. Keep evenings in mind. If you have young kids, odds are, you're not going to be painting the town red until the wee hours of the morning. In fact, you'll probably be back at the hotel anywhere between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m., depending on your kids' ages. What are you going to do then? You don't want to go to bed the same time as your 2-year-old -- you're on vacation! Before booking your hotel, keep that -- and the type of sleepers your kids are -- in mind. If you've got a rock-solid snoozer on your hands, one room may be all you need. But, on the other hand, if your little one wakes up at the slightest noise, you may want to splurge for something that has two rooms or areas (or at least a balcony!).


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5. Make a pact with your partner. Traveling, with or without kids, can be stressful. So much is out of your hands, and it isn't uncommon for couples to argue when things get hairy or don't go as planned (crying baby on a plane, anyone?). But the point of going away is to have fun and relax. Make a promise with your partner before you leave to not get snippy with each other. Things will be so much more enjoyable (and way less stressful) if you guys are with each other instead of against.

What tips do you have for traveling with small kids?

Nicole Fabian-Weber is the mama to a sweet toddler girl and an equally sweet baby boy. She lives outside of NYC and writes for The Stir and numerous other online publications.

Image ©iStock.com/DragonImages

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