Tips for Summer Travel with Kids and Grandkids

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Traveling with kids. Does the thought make you excited or anxious? Whether traveling with your children or grandchildren, trips can become new experiences through the joy of discovery. And the memories that you make together can last a lifetime. But with smaller children, long hours in the car or airplane can be tough… and expensive. There are a few steps you can take to help avoid fits, crying, and even spending extra money. When you and the little ones have miles to travel, try these suggestions to make sure fun is had by all.

Include Kids on the Planning
Most likely, you’ve spent a lot of time making plans for your big trip. A great way to get kids excited about upcoming plans is to include them on the pre-trip excitement.

Regularly discuss the upcoming vacation, and even ask them their opinions on the activities you plan. If you’re going to the beach, you could buy a coloring book of ocean scenes. You can also include children in itinerary planning by giving them a say in the activities. Perhaps you have the choice between a hike and a horseback riding adventure. Asking kids what they prefer will allow them to feel like an important part of the discussion and you all get a fun activity. It’s a win-win! You can even use the time leading up to the trip to talk about how to behave on road trip or in an airport.

Building excitement by discussing the trip and setting expectations will bring the whole family together and create anticipation that can help make your travel with kids less stressful for all.

Surprise Treat Bags
Surprising children is almost as fun as receiving a surprise yourself. It doesn’t have to be expensive to be a crowd pleaser. Pack surprise bags for your kids to open to and from your trip destination. Giving the kids a small “treat bag” to open every so often can become a fun, inexpensive activity that gives them something to look forward to in shorter intervals so they’re not so focused on the longer travel journey that’s underway.

You can pack these treat bags with items for the car or airplane. Things like suckers, temporary tattoos, stickers and mini game books are good for on-the-go entertainment. You can even throw in some goodies related to your vacation. For example, putting goggles in a bag if you’re going somewhere with swimming.

Stock up on Snacks
No trip is complete without plenty of yummy snacks. Often, hungry tummies are the cause of bad moods − for adults and children alike! Save effort, money and grumpiness by packing healthy snacks for the trip. Store goodies like snack packs, crackers, trail mix and nuts in your travel bag for easy access during your trip. If you’re traveling by car, you can pack a small cooler filled with water bottles and fresh snacks like small apples, tangerines and baby carrots. Even if you’re flying, save money in the airports by bringing packaged, TSA-approved snacks. Always be ready to pull out a bite to eat when a child is hungry and tired while traveling or during your trip. Being prepared with snacks for your travel with kids makes for happy tummies which will make for a better trip for everyone.

Opt for New Activities
This is a tough one, but leaving the toy chest at home saves space and allows room for new activities. Sure, one or two of the child’s favorite toys can be carried along on the trip, but there is no reason to pack more than that. Leaving toys at home will not only allow kids to be more present, but they will end up enjoying their surroundings more. You can get creative with new, low-cost activities like building sand castles at the beach, riding bikes, reading new books during down time, or even playing age-relevant board or card games. Taking away the distraction from the dozens of toys your child or grandchild is used to will encourage everyone to participate in new activities together!

 Summer Memories to Last a Lifetime
Think back to your childhood. Do you have memories of trips with your parents and siblings, or with your grandparents? Probably, the times you recall are some of the fondest. Making memories doesn’t begin when you arrive at your destination. Sometimes, the best experiences happen during the travel.

While it can be intimidating, if you make the journey to the destination part of the fun by focusing on the children, it can lead to a happier and safer trip for your kids and for you. By preparing for the journey, your children or grandchildren are bound to have fun, and you will too.

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