It’s almost Spring Break! Many families in the Frisco area are preparing to use the time to get out of town and make fun family memories. Any parent knows, however, that all of the memories made with kids on vacation aren’t necessarily fun or pleasant.
So whether you’re packing for a big annual trip or a quick weekend getaway, check out some of the ideas below to make your trip as smooth and memorable (in the best way!) as possible.
What do I need to pack for a family vacation?
There’s nothing more irritating than hauling enormous suitcases on a trip only to spend precious vacation time digging through mismatching clothes and inappropriate gear. Use this year’s Spring Break to practice some of those capsule wardrobe ideas you’ve seen on Pinterest. Check the weather before you go and take a limited, easily interchangeable wardrobe for each family member.
Use Ziplock bags or packing cubes to keep outfits and small items together to maintain organization during the trip. Call your accommodations ahead of time to see whether certain items are already provided (whether it’s a crib, a high-chair, diving gear, or bikes), to avoid packing duplicates. Whether you’re traveling by car or plane, fewer duffel bags and less clutter will ensure that everyone is in a better mood and that the time away is spent actually vacationing.
It doesn’t hurt to pack a few first aid items and fever reducer in case something occurs en route to your destination. (There are many what-if scenarios and it would be impossible to prepare for them all. Local Mom Blogger Daily Momtivity offers essential packing tips for family travel as well as road trip advice!
What are the best road trip games?
Instead of simply enduring the time spent in the car or spending it refereeing bickering kiddos, why not maximize it? Ask your kids to put down their iPads and phones for a while during the drive and play a car-friendly family game. Games like the Alphabet Game, the License Plate Game, and visual scavenger hunts are easily modified to suit different ages and can help burn hours of travel time. Pack small gift cards or use screen time rewards to motivate less eager participants.
Car trips can provide a great opportunity for kiddos to meet reading goals (“Who can read 50 pages before the next bathroom stop?!”), but sites such as Audible and Amazon Prime have endless audiobook options available as well. Classic stories and newly released titles, many narrated by well-known voices and actors, are available for free or for a very reasonable cost and a long stretch of road can provide the perfect opportunity for a family listening session.
Healthy Habits = More Fun
Everyone has a nightmare vacation illness story, it seems. Do your best to keep everyone healthy and maximize your vacation time by reminding young children to wash their hands, providing the kids with their own hand sanitizer, and making sure everyone drinks lots of bottled water during vacation. Don’t forget the sunscreen!
Instead of settling for lots of fast food and rest-stop vending machines, pack an ice chest or backpack full of fun and healthy snacks. Bonus! Kids munching on fruit, granola, and cheese slices will be full of energy and in a good mood longer.
Before you pull out of town, stop by the new Market Street at Lebanon and Legacy for endless healthy snack options! Or, pick up delicious, immune-boosting smoothies from Vitality Bowls before hitting the freeway!
Finally, take some pressure off of yourself to be a one-person entertainment center! Remember that child psychologists and sociologists alike are touting the value of boredom. Are your kids whining about the lack of vacation entertainment? Remind them that you’re giving them the freedom to be their most creative selves!
In fact, studies are showing that adults need more bored time too. Don’t forget to take some time away from entertaining the kids to relax and be bored yourself so that the entire family comes back from time away refreshed and rejuvenated.