How To Survive Your Next Family Vacation Whether By Car, Bus, Train, or Plane…

Summer is here - - time for the kids to be out of school and the family to go on vacation.  If your last family vacation resembled the Griswold family’s cross-country drive to Walley World (“National Lampoon’s Vacation,” you may be wondering how you will survive another family summer vacation.  If you are trying to plan the perfect family vacation but memories of past trips haunt your dreams, maybe you just need a few helpful hints to make your family vacation more like trip to a tropical paradise rather than a three-ring circus.


Tips for traveling by car


Family road trips are the best for making memories – both good and bad.  Somehow, even the bad memories become good memories once time (a lot of time) has passed and we can laugh about all of the things that went wrong on those road trips.  However, you can make family road trips a little easier with these helpful hints:

  • Be prepared – Have snacks, wet wipes, extra diapers, extra clothes, trash bags and paper towels within easy reach.
  • Dress for the drive – Wear comfortable clothing that is easy on and off (for bathroom stops) and save the dress clothes for your destination.
  • Entertainment – Bring travel games, hand-held electronics and a portable DVD player.  Rotate the items to keep children interested and occupied.
  • Take breaks – Make sure to stop and stretch your legs often.  Do not just stop to run in and out of the bathroom.  Play a game of catch or have a picnic and let the kids play tag.  Bring bubbles and sidewalk chalk.
  • Arrive in the early afternoon – If possible, arrive in time to visit an attraction before dinner.  The kids will be excited to do “something” and then be ready for an early bedtime.  Even swimming in the hotel pool and ordering pizza is a great way to end the travel day.
  • Track your progress and learn about your destination – Try the National Geographic Kids Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Atlas to learn neat facts as you travel cross-country and keep your kids entertained as they learn new facts about the states they are passing through.


Tips for traveling by bus


When traveling by bus with kids, you must keep in mind that you are not traveling alone - - you are sharing a very large vehicle with a lot of other people.  In order to keep children entertained, opt for hand-held devices with headphones.  Bring a small blanket and travel pillow for napping and light snacks in case they get hungry between stops.  Be prepared to engage your children in conversation, card games and small travel games as the hand-held electronics will quickly become boring if that is all they have to do for eight hours.  If possible, travel by night so that the kids will sleep; however, you should also try to sleep because the kids will be ready to go the next morning when they arrive at their destination.


Tips for traveling by train


Traveling by train is a great adventure that many children never get to experience.  Just the fact that they are riding on a train is exciting and taking in all of the sights and sounds will be enough to keep them entertained for a while.  After the newness wears off, electronic devises with headphones are always good.  If you have seats with a table, board games are a great way to pass the time.  Disposable cameras are another great idea so that each child can take pictures of the passing scenery to make a collage of their train trip.  Make sure to pack snacks and any medications you might need in a small carry-on bag.  If you are traveling overnight, consider a sleeper car so that you can all get a good night’s rest before you arrive at your destination.


Tips for traveling by plane


A child’s first plane trip is an exciting adventure; however, it can also be a nightmare for parents.  In order to make the trip more pleasant for everyone, keeps this travel tips for children and planes in mind when planning your family vacation.

  • Bring a small backpack for each child with toys, snacks and electronics with headphones
  • Pack extra diapers and bottles (check with the airline for restrictions)
  • Always bring an extra pair of clothing on board with you in case of accidents
  • If you have booked a seat for your child, bring an FAA approved car seat or booster seat if necessary
  • While waiting on the flight, let children walk around and expend as much energy as possible
  • Go the bathroom right before you board the plane
  • During takeoff and landing, have kids chew gum or drink something to help with the pressure.


Above all, remember that no family vacation is ever perfect.  Laugh at the mishaps and then move on.  The important thing is that everyone is together.


Image credit: Carissa GoodNCrazy