Many families today are overbooked and over stressed. Take time out this winter to rest, relax, and reconnect by going on a family vacation.
While many families travel in the summer, winter is also a popular time to get away. Some families travel to warmer climates for fun in the sun, and others head to the mountains for their favorite winter sports. No matter where your vacation takes you, it is important that your time away alleviates stress, and doesn’t cause more of it. You want to create positive memories that will last a lifetime! To help you make the most of your vacation, we’ve put together some tips for traveling with kids during the winter season. Whether you are going away for a weekend or week, these tips can make everyone’s lives a little easier.
Plan ahead – Adults can often appreciate spontaneity and an unexpected turn of events, but it can be a little more difficult for kids to do the same. It’s no fun to arrive at your anticipated destination only to find tickets are sold out, an attraction is closed, or the restaurant is no longer in business. When traveling with children it is best to have a rough itinerary of plans, and to call ahead or look online to confirm operating dates and hours, admission fees, exhibit availabilities, etc.
Be flexible – Sometimes plans need to be changed due to bad weather or other circumstances beyond your control. Having backup plans in place can help ease any disappointment. For example, if the conditions are poor for sledding or outdoor ice skating, your plan B might be to spend the day at the hotel’s indoor pool.
Take safety precautions – Safety should always be a priority, whether it is making sure your child is wearing a helmet while skiing, a life jacket on a boat, or a seatbelt in a rental car. Young and even older children should also not be allowed to wander on their own – no matter how safe you think a hotel or resort might be. Just because you are on vacation doesn’t mean you should take a vacation from the same safety rules you have at home.
Schedule downtime – While children, especially teens, can get easily bored, a vacation schedule that is too tightly packed can be tiresome for everyone. Take some time to relax and really enjoy the journey and each other’s company. Let the kids sleep late a few days, or encourage everyone to take an afternoon nap so they can be well-rested for nighttime activities. If you are taking a road trip, drive the long way to your destination, view the scenery, and make spur of the moment stops at local points of interest. It is okay if you don’t have every minute of your vacation time booked.
Bring appropriate clothing – Being too cold, too wet, or too hot can be miserable – and even dangerous – for anyone, especially kids. Make sure that your children have the right clothes and shoes for your vacation climate. If you are traveling to a cold climate, it is important that they have properly fitting snowsuits, long underwear, gloves, hats, thick socks, boots, and other warm clothing to ward off hyperthermia and frostbite. Nothing can ruin a child’s fun in the snow faster than being improperly dressed and freezing cold.
Prepare for the unexpected – Winter weather can cause travel delays and other problems. If you are traveling by car, equip your vehicle for possibly hazardous winter driving conditions. Pack extra clothing, flashlights with batteries, blankets, jumper cables, a de-icer, windshield scraper, shovel, snacks, and other supplies that may come in handy if you get stuck or delayed on the road. If you are traveling by air, give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport, and when booking your tickets, try to avoid flights that are too close together in case your first flight is delayed.
Don’t forget the medicine – Bringing any prescription medications or medical supplies your child needs is a given, but you may also want to pack some basic items in case of colds or minor injuries or ailments. Your travel health kit may include bandages, a thermometer, tweezers, alcohol-based hand sanitizers, tissues, anti-motion sickness medications, anti-diarrheal medications, hydrocortisone cream, aspirin, ibuprofen or acetaminophen, and a cold/flu medication. Be sure to also remember sunscreen and lip balm, and depending on your personal health requirements and your destination, you may also need insect repellent, contact lens solution, eye drops, etc.
While traveling with children can be a challenge, it is also a special and rewarding experience. If all goes smoothly, everyone will have a wonderful winter vacation that will be talked about for years to come.