Many families like to go on long winter vacations, whether it’s jetting overseas or road-tripping. But family trips don’t always play out exactly as envisioned, especially when the whole family is in close quarters, constantly, for 7-10 days! If the idea of taking the family on a long trip stresses you out, you’re not alone.

There are major benefits to traveling with those you love most! Not only will you bond through mutually shared experiences in new, unfamiliar places, but just being out of your normal routine fosters deeper, more meaningful conversations and helps everyone “chill out”.

The key is to find the balance of dreamy vs reality, and to plan for that ahead of time. Here are some tips that I find helpful in my own family travel adventures:

Plan Together

Make sure everyone gets the opportunity to weigh-in. Getting the “buy in” from the whole family will help them be invested in the trip and have something to look forward to.

Be Prepared for Boring Moments

Seems like you’re always waiting for something on vacation – waiting for the flight, train, or waiting for your hotel room to be ready- plan ahead for these inevitable boring moments. My family does “vacation tasks” during this time. Have the kids use the waiting time to choose the next tour, or decide on things they want to do at the destination. Also, have charged-up devices ready in the carry-on bags, or a book for these wait times.

Build in Down time

This is actually my favorite tip and something we always do. I completely understand FOMO (fear of missing out) when in a new destination! I know you want to book tours to all the key spots and activities. Just make sure to build in at least a full day (or 2) for doing nothing and lazy’ing around the resort, pool, walking around your immediate area. Your body, brain and kids will thank you.

Create a Safety Plan for the family

Ideally, this plan should start before you leave home. arm your kids with information on how to find help if they need it and the details of where they’re staying. Print the name of the hotel (with address), and parent names/phone numbers, on a piece of paper and stick it in each kid’s backpack.

Also, once you arrive at your destination, choose a meeting point for everyone to meet at if anyone gets lost AND make sure you point out people that your kids can turn to if they get lost (like police officers, hotel desk, uniformed security guards).

Maintain Family Traditions Away From Home

If you are a traveler that prefers the comfort and security of home while on the road, this one is for you. Make sure you pack comfort items like a favorite stuffed animal, journal, book, tea bag, powdered coffee, etc. in your suitcase. Also, try to maintain your daily home rituals, whether that’s reading a book with your kids before bed or having family breakfast at a table. This will help ease travel nerves that may pop up!

Do you have other tips to make family travel less stressful? Let me know and I will include them in a future edition!