The holiday breaks are over, but before you know it, spring break and summer vacation will be here. Traveling with your little ones comes with an entire set of challenges, including picking the right destination, bringing what you need and making sure they are entertained.
Here are some tips on taking a great family vacation with young ones:
Go all in: All-inclusive that is. “Choosing an all-inclusive resort can make a vacation easy, especially with young children,” said Margie Lenau, travel consultant and owner of Wonderland Family Vacations. “When you need a break, be sure you choose a resort with a great Kid's Club.”
Anthony Tucker, of All Inclusive Outlet, said that the fun doesn’t just stop with the young ones. “All-inclusive resorts have activities available for the whole family, such as parasailing, paddle boarding or any number of fun water-related activities you won’t find near home.”
Plan in advance: “You need to make your plans in advance so that you can make sure everything is taken care of, like booked hotels, car rentals, activities, etc.,” said Denise Lorentzen with Dreams Travel Consulting. “Planning is the overall key with any vacation because when you are prepared you are more relaxed.
Lorentzen suggests traveling light too. “Try to only pack what you need,” she said. “If you are having an extended stay, then wash clothes so you don't have to bring too much. Especially when flying, packing lighter makes getting around easier.”
Goody, goody: Lorentzen also suggests making each child their own goody bag. “Fill it with games, books, small tinker toys, snacks and maybe a special candy,” she said. “My mom did this for my children when we flew to Disney World and they loved it.”
Uh-oh: No one wants to think about a child getting sick or a boo-boo when traveling, but it does happen. “Don’t forget about upset tummies or scraped knees either,” said Tucker. “While a resort will be equipped to assist you, it wouldn’t hurt to pack that emergency kit with their favorite themed band aids.”
Plan adult time: Just because it’s a vacation with kids, doesn’t mean that you need to not have any time for yourselves. “Many family all-inclusive resorts offer supervised kids’ programs so that the parents can have some downtime,” said Tucker.
“Plan a romantic dinner under the stars followed by a walk on the beach. Go lay by the pool with a good book and soak up the sun together, or get a couple’s massage at the spa. Don’t forget that it’s your vacation too, and to take some time for yourself to re-energize.”
Marianne DeIulio’s first cruise with her sons were when they were 8 and 5 years old.
“You have to be flexible because it is long days on the ship in the hot sun,” said DeIulio, of Just Travelin’.
“I packed snacks from home to have for them in the room in the afternoon. We would go back each day and relax a few hours before we started to get ready for dinner to give them some downtime. That was huge because they had brought some toys from home and would play with them or just watch some TV to unwind.
She also brought snorkeling gear for when they left the boat for beach days. “They had a ball looking at fish and loving the water,” she said.