Prepare Your Kids for a Great Trip
Great family travel planning tips By Suzanne Hyman
Make your family holiday fun and stress-free with these tips. (Flickr: AnneCN)
Summer vacations are over and you’re already planning your next trip with your family. Whether this is for Thanksgiving and Christmas or your winter break - skiing or under the sun - these tips will enable you to involve your kids in the preparations for your family holiday and make the whole process fun and stress-free.
The trick to a successful family vacation is involving your kids when you first begin planning, making sure they feel comfortable with every aspect of the trip before you step out the door.
(MORE: Make planning for a vacation with kids a breeze. Download MiniTime's free Trip Itinerary template now.)
Let Your Kids Help
Give the kids choices when planning and let their votes count. (Flickr: David Goehring)
1. Give them the choice: Start by offering your kids the option to choose between different destinations, and then let the whole family take a vote. If they don’t get the choice they want, add that destination to the family vacation bucket list so your kids know that their choice still matters.
2. Make research fun: With your older kids, you can ask them to help you research fun activities for the trip. At the same time, tell your younger kids about all the exciting activities the family will do on this vacation so they have plenty to look forward to.
3. Wish list: You can also have everyone create a wish list of all the activities to do together, or let them choose between a few activities that you’ve picked out ahead of time. For example, if you only have time for one theme park, give your kids a choice of two so they’ll be happy with wherever you end up going.
4. Plan the entertainment ahead: When you’re going on a road trip or a long plane ride, let your kids help pick out the music, games, and apps to play. Choose from the great list of car games offered in this book, and teach them the rules before you get in the car. That way you can start playing as soon as you’re all buckled up.
(MORE: Need to organize your days? Download MiniTime's free Trip Calendar for 7 days of stress-free traveling.)
Do Practice Runs
Avoid tantrums by doing practice runs. (Flickr: Francisco Carbajal)
- Camping: If you’re going camping for the first time, teach your kids how to set up the tent. Place it either in the living room or backyard, and let your kids spend some time getting used to it by taking naps or playing games inside the tent. You can even have the whole family spend the night there, camping in the living room or backyard.
- First flight: If your kids are going on a plane for the first time, the experience can be a bit daunting, especially going through security. To avoid this, familiarize yourself with the latest TSA security rules before you get to the airport. It’s also a good idea to set up a mock security zone in your house where you explain and show your kids some of the funny customs like taking things out of your pockets, putting backpacks on the conveyer belt, and taking off shoes and jackets. Avoid unnecessary tears and tantrums by making sure your kids understand that they’ll get their belongings back in just a minute.
Going on a Plane?
Have a great stress-free flight . (Flickr: liz west)
- Try to do early check in and print out all of the tickets and boarding passes before you get to the airport.
- Make sure you know the baggage restrictions before you pack so there aren’t any unwanted surprises at check in.
- Before you go, explain all of the other aspects of flying on the plane and any confusing airport procedures, such as checking baggage, picking seats, and trying to be quiet so as not to bother the other passengers on the flight.
- Make sure that your kids have plenty of activities to keep them busy on the plane.
- Try MiniTime’s quiet games, downloadable on MiniTime, including word searches, crossword puzzles, connect the dots, hangman, tic tac toe, and more.
Suzanne Hyman contributed this to MiniTime.