Here’s How to Enjoy Your Vacation with Toddlers
Did you feel like you needed a vacation after your last “vacation” with your kids? You are not alone. AAA predicts that 42 percent of Americans will go on vacation this year – and many of those are families. Traveling with young children can be a challenge, but with a little planning your trip with toddlers can be a respite from your day-to-day responsibilities and a great time to bond with your family. Keep these tips in mind as you plan your future family vacations to make your next trip the best one yet!
Choose Your Accommodations Wisely
In 2016, Americans spent $683.1 billion on travel, with 4 of 5 trips taken for leisure purposes. So, when you travel, especially with kids, finding the best ways to relax is a priority. Choosing where to stay is one of the most important decisions you make when planning your vacation. If you can, give everyone in your party a little extra room to breathe. Suites, time-shares, or vacation rentals with separate bedrooms are a godsend when traveling with kids. After all, who wants to spend their evenings laying quietly in the dark trying not to wake an overtired toddler?
Having a bedroom with a door that closes is key! A small kitchen allows you to keep your child’s favorite snacks on hand, and easy access to a washer and dryer means you can throw in a quick load if you need to. Check the local area to see what’s nearby. Knowing you can quickly run out for more diapers or medicine if necessary means you don’t have to pack for every eventuality. In many family friendly destinations you can even have groceries delivered to your room, so granola bars and goldfish crackers (and coffee and adult beverages) can be waiting for you when you check in.
Let Your Child Know What to Expect
Even the most adventurous toddlers thrive on routine and crave the comforts of home. Sleeping in an unfamiliar place may seem scary. Do what you can to prepare your child ahead of time. Look at pictures of your hotel or resort online prior to the trip. Showing your toddler where he will sleep, along with photos of the places you plan to visit, builds excitement for the trip and helps your child feel more in control. Keep your nighttime routine as normal as possible and bring along a few small items to make the transition easier. Don’t forget your child’s favorite stuffed animal, blanket, and bedtime story. It’s also a good idea to pack a nightlight and your baby monitor, if possible. Be sure to show your toddler where you will be sleeping and assure him you will be able to hear him if he needs anything.
Take Your Time
Toddlers work on their own timetable. Remember, to your child, every part of the trip is a new experience and chance to explore. Slow down and experience things with him for the first time. Your whole family will be less stressed if you aren’t rushing to keep an unrealistic schedule. Try to honor nap times and bedtime as best you can so your toddler isn’t overtired.
Make Time to Move
When it comes to vacationing with a toddler, gone are the days of either marathon site seeing sessions or entire days spent relaxing on the sand. Make sure to schedule some downtime for your little one each day. Give him time to move, especially if he has spent much of the day strapped in a stroller. Look into active family-friendly spots like National Parks or Williamsburg vacations. Check out the hotel pool or find a local park or playground where he can be let loose to play. A good way to plan your trip is to alternate busy days (like theme park visits) with more mellow days, or to plan some time away from the action each afternoon. A visit back to the room for some quiet time and a swim may be all your toddler needs to prevent an evening meltdown.
When it comes to meals out, it pays to do some research ahead of time. Look for family friendly restaurants and make reservations to avoid a long wait time before you are even seated. Dining outdoors, when you can, can help you feel less stressed about the noise your toddler may make and gives him room to move if it’s too much for him to sit still for the entire meal. If there is a popular restaurant you are dying to try, consider going for lunch where you will encounter smaller crowds and faster service.
Overall, know your child and try your best to do what you know works for him or her. A trip with your toddler will be a different experience than your vacations before kids, but the memories you are creating will last a lifetime.