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A Family Vacation Survival Guide: 7 Travel Tips for Minimizing Meltdowns and Maximizing Fun

Fun-filled road trips expertly planned are quickly hampered by the all-too-infamous toddler temper tantrum. Traveling with little ones presents an opportunity for exploration, but it also poses significant challenges.

Sleep-disrupting red-eye flights and unfamiliar settings can confuse young children, building up a well of distress. Unfortunately, family-friendly travel accommodations are hard to come by without sacrificing quality and location, meaning families with multiple children are simply out of luck when embarking on global adventures.

To make matters all-the-more chaotic, parents will have to contend with fussy little one’s appetites. Feeding yourself nutrient-rich and equally affordable meals is challenging enough. Add picky-eater passengers into the equation, and it’s a recipe for pre-lunch meltdowns. Even the most minor inconveniences (i.e., a misplaced toy or hours spent in an airplane terminal) can result in ear-screeching toddler tantrums.

Despite the looming possibility of a travel tantrum, the benefits of vacationing with children are well worth it. Visiting unfamiliar places opens up kids’ minds and instills an appreciation for different cultures. Children familiar with global travel are more confident, often developing advanced social skills at a young age. Additionally, giving your kids the skills to adapt opens up their curious minds and teaches them the value of global adventures.

Traveling with children is easier said than done, but with these seven tips, your vacation will be tantrum-free and fun-filled.

Smiling girl jumping out of inflatable ring in swimming pool.


Choose your transportation wisely

When venturing abroad, traveling by plane may be the wiser option. However, look into the logistics of meals, stroller accessibility, and seat arrangements to prevent future anxiety. To avoid the impacts of intense air pressure or crowded cabins, consider transportation by train. For ultimate comfort and freedom, travel by car. For anxious travelers, the familiarity of your vehicle provides a sense of security when charting unfamiliar territory. Even during cross-continental vacations, shipping your vehicle to the destination is easy and safe. Reliable shipping services such as Guardian Auto Transport ensure your vehicle is transported scratch-free.

Involve the whole family

When creating your vacation itinerary, consider the desires of every family member, says Forbes. You’ll ensure everyone gets a say by including the high-energy youngsters and moody teens. Boredom and hesitancy toward an activity can quickly escalate to a tantrum, so make sure to schedule an attraction chosen by each person.

Prepare for delays

Traffic jams and unforeseen malfunctions often foil meticulously planned vacations. Relieve yourself from the stress of time by anticipating setbacks. When planning tours or making reservations, give yourself at least an hour and a half between activities.

Utilize the nighttime

When possible, book long flights or train rides during overnight travel. Giving your kids and yourself some shut-eye during the trip will allow you to reach your destination energized and ready to go. Traveling at night will also provide a free night of accommodations that require minimal planning.

Provide activities

Enduring a seemingly endless road trip or flight is difficult for anyone, especially young children. Prepare a bag with card games, puzzles, or coloring pages that can entertain kids during travel. Research family-friendly games to play on the road, such as I Spy or the Licence Plate Game, to keep vacation boredom to a minimum.

Step up communication

Keep everyone in the loop by informing your kids of travel time or delays. When children wonder what’s next, they become frustrated and feel left out. Discuss the itinerary with your family ahead of the trip, and field any concerns or dislikes of the plan. Making sure everyone is heard and valued makes your trip enjoyable for the whole family.

Give everyone space

Spending hours crowded in a car or cooped up in a hotel room results in resentment of family time. Ensure every family member, both old and young, has the freedom to separate themselves. Taking time alone allows everyone to relax and recharge for the day ahead. Stay connected by phone and openly communicate meet-up times.

Enjoy paradise

Traveling is stressful, especially when wrangling curious youngsters. Ensure your family vacations with ease by preparing activities and allowing freedom. When done correctly, traveling with your family is a life-changing experience that strengthens bonds and forms priceless memories.

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