Family travel is something most families do throughout their years together. Traveling on vacations is often an annual tradition families have. From the time your child is born, it is likely you will take him or her on trips to see family members, theme parks, and even just one-day drives. While safety is often the first thing parents consider when traveling with their kids, keeping them happy and busy along the way also adds to the success of the trip.
Safety is the most important factor with children traveling. Family travel should always be done with caution paid to safety above anything else. Here are some tips to keep everyone safe.
• Ensure everyone is using proper safety belts and car seats throughout the trip. It’s tempting to loosen the belt for long trips, but high-speed accidents on highways are common during the summer months.
• Be sure that the driver gets enough sleep and that parents are able to stay alert not only in the car but also on airplanes and buses.
• Keep items out of the car that could be choking hazards for small children. Travel games often have small pieces and are meant for older children. The jarring of a car can easily cause these to slip down the child’s throat.
• Be sure everyone knows where to meet if for any reason the group is splitting up. Cell phones are a good communication device and the responsible person’s within each group should have one.
• Talk to your children ahead of time about the risks of strangers and who to talk to if they do get lost. For family travel to be fun, everyone has to remain safe.
Family Travel – Things To Do
When it comes to being on the road or on a plane for an extensive amount of time, busy kids are happy ones. Parents can do a number of things to keep kids active and busy, so they don’t become overwhelmed with the long trip.
• Pack snacks. Kids are hungry every few hours and snacks are the best way to keep them quiet. Prepackaged items are sold in individual sizes, but you can also choose crackers, grapes, and other small foods and place them into small bags. Juice boxes and bags travel well.
• Pack an activity bag. For younger children, these goody bags can be a surprise for once you are on the road. Load them up with small toys, coloring supplies, stickers, and other activities you know they will enjoy. Don’t let them go into the bag until they are on the road.
• Pack things to do in backpacks. For older children, keeping them busy will help to cut down on your stress. Handheld games, video games, a deck of cars, and travel-size games can work very well. Include a few comic books, a magazine, or even a book they want to read.
Many of today’s ultra-fun activities for the car are in the form of technology. Portable DVD players, in-car systems, and even full-scale video games are sure ways to keep everyone busy. Those with an MP3 player can also benefit from this. Give each child a disposable camera to take pictures with, too.
Family travel is often best when everyone on the trip is looking forward to something that interests them. When there are two completely different opinions, cater to both. For example, if you are traveling to an area where there is a lot of camping and wilderness hiking, and one child does not care for this, find out if there’s a local show or museum nearby they may like to stop in during the trip.
Traveling with kids is enjoyable when you plan ahead. Take the time to talk to your kids about the trip alerting them to the length of the drive. While traveling at night is not always an option, this is also a good way to cut down on the boredom factor. Many kids are happy enough with a few things to do and the conversation of the parents to keep them busy. Make this a trip that everyone enjoys by sharing stories, ideas, and thoughts in an open forum. Everyone will feel welcome and happy before, during, and after the trip.