Set them up.
Similarly, we always prepare the children for a day of travel by explaining what to expect. We’ll inform them that we’re heading to the airport and will be waiting there for a time, as well as what will happen at security screening, onboard the flight, and at customs upon arrival. It appears to reassure them greatly to know what will happen.
Reduce the speed. WAY, WAY down.
One of the quickest ways to ruin your trip is to attempt to cram too much in. Children (and adults) require downtime to play and explore or simply be silent. Rather than cramming every second with activity, schedule some quiet time to help everyone unwind. Nobody will be happy if children become burned out, so avoid pushing anyone past their breaking point.
Seek out a child-friendly location to stay.
While traveling, your accommodations might provide a welcome respite from the strains of the road. Ascertain that it is a place where everyone can unwind. If you’re going to be there for an extended period of time, consider upgrading to a location with a great pool or other amenities that you and your children will appreciate. As much as you want the children to remember the amazing cathedral or ruins you just strolled through, the pool is a better bet.
Check to see that your room is comfortable.
If you’re traveling somewhere hot, ensure that there is air conditioning or that there are plenty of fans and open windows. If you’re going somewhere cooler, ensure that there is adequate heat.
One of our first travel blunders with children was renting a room immediately upon arrival in a hot country and discovering that the room’s lone fan was broken. Cole, who was two years old at the time, developed a severe heat rash and was miserable for several days. We had to locate alternative accommodations, and it took a few days away from the heat and sun for the rash to completely disappear. We saved a few bucks by choosing a less expensive alternative, but it cost us days of downtime.
Book a room with a bathtub.
It’s a lot easier to wash a child in a tub than it is in a shower, and putting the child in the tub can provide you with a brief respite at the end of the day. Tubs are also excellent for washing a shirt or two. If you do not have a tub, provide a bucket or jug for the children to play with and use to wash themselves in the shower. When Jordan was a child, the shower was her least favorite thing, but when we tossed in a couple of pails, she never complained.
Ensure that your room is safe for children.
Depending on your child’s age, this may entail blocking electrical plugs and ensuring that nothing unsafe is within reach of your youngster. Verify that the windows cannot be opened by small hands. We once stayed in a seventh-floor hotel room with floor-to-ceiling windows and a bottom-opening window. When we checked, the window was unlocked and simply opened without the use of a screen.
See if you can get cartoon channels on your TV.
Even if you’re vacationing in a location where English is not widely spoken, your children will enjoy watching them. We are speaking from personal experience here. Our children have loved cartoons in a variety of languages, including Greek, Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese, and Arabic. While you are not traveling to watch cartoons, a cartoon can be an excellent way to purchase a few moments of peace and quiet at the end of a long day. Your children may even pick up a few words in a foreign language.
We constantly make an effort to keep the number of electrical devices to a minimum. Our children appear to lose interest in other activities the moment the electronics are brought out. Having said that, after a few hours, they’ll become bored, and things can go ugly.
Rather than that, we play games like “I Spy” and sing songs early in the trip when our energy levels are higher. As our energy levels begin to dwindle, we reach for the bag of modest gifts or toys for the children. We always feed them one at a time and never allow them to take the entire bag. Hopefully, one of these will pique their interest and keep them entertained for hours.
When the excitement of a new toy begins to wear off, you might offer a snack, play a game, or give another. Several of the disposable toys we’ve distributed in this manner have survived for years and continue to capture the children’s attention on vacations, so you never know which one will be a hit.
We save the devices, such as phones, tablets, game systems, and movies, for the end, when both the kids and parents are exhausted. Additionally, it serves as a reward for good behavior.