Life is stressful. That’s a commonly accepted fact that nobody can deny. The pace of life has increased a thousandfold over the past hundred years, and most people find themselves feeling like they’re trapped on a train heading straight for a brick wall, and they’ve got no breaks to lighten the impact: That’s called the stress of life. Yes, it happens to everyone: It happens at varying times, and it happens in varying degrees – and it could be getting your family down. Do all of you feel like things are getting too much? Family vacations are perfect for taking a break from everyday life and going to re-center yourselves – often a vacation is all that’s needed to come back feeling refreshed. Here are some family travel tips for you and your family…
Food safety when traveling
Food safety is a vitally important part of making your traveling experience fun for everyone, and it’s generally not something that the tourist office will be telling you at the time you book your holiday. The first rule of safety when travelling is usually to avoid the local tap water – no, this is no reflection on the quality of the local water (at least in most cases), but instead, this means that you shouldn’t expose your immunity to something it’s not used to in a sudden way. Yes, most people get sick from drinking the local water on holiday because they’re not used to it – and it wouldn’t have happened if they stuck to bottled water for the duration of their stay. Also, make sure that you ask about any menu items you’re unsure about!
Family travel safety
You should always be conscious of the safety of you and your family around you when traveling, especially when all of you are new in a foreign country. The first rule is to always stick together – and if you plan on splitting up for any reason, make sure that you all have a way to contact each other and can set up a central point and time to meet back up later. There’s nothing more terrifying than being lost in a place you really don’t know – especially when very few people speak your language. You should also take care with personal effects such as your cameras, laptops, wallets, and money – traditional body wallets aren’t the most fashionable thing, but they’re great for the added safety they offer when you’re stuck in a crowd. Remember to remind everyone not to speak to strangers – but also remember that many cities have information points to ask if you aren’t sure.
A family check-list schedule
A family travel check-list is absolutely essential before your plane tickets are even booked. This is a great way to make sure that you don’t forget to pack anything while lost in the excitement of travel – it’s very easy to pack away a passport right at the bottom of the bag, or to remember to pack the camera but leave the battery at home on the dining room table. These things happen, but an organized family check-list can make sure these things happen a lot less frequently. Your checklist should include a list of everything that needs to be packed, including clothes, first-aid supplies, and legal documents – it helps if you split this up for each person. Include a to-do list of things, too, and a list of who should be contacted in an emergency. (This should include the details of the local hospitals and police stations in the area you will be going!)
Traveling on a plane
If your travel takes you across borders, it’s likely that you will be traveling on a plane first before you reach your destination and get to make use of a car, bus, train or taxi to get where you need to go. Traveling on a plane can be a new experience to those who have never flown on a plane before – and for some people, it’s downright terrifying. If this is enough of a worry to warrant it, you might want to go to your local drug store and find out about medication that can both take care of any plane sickness (which is pretty much just like car sickness in case you were wondering) and often make people sleep straight through the flight. Before boarding, find out about in-flight meals and entertainment – this will stop anyone from asking, “Are we there yet?”
Fun on a road-trip
Okay, so maybe you decide to take a family road trip to your destination instead – or perhaps you are in for a couple of hours of car travel the moment you get off the plane. No matter which, if you’re traveling with your entire family, you might want to think of a couple of ways to make the time spent in a car fun. It’s easy for especially young children to become bored with long periods of travel – and they will usually drive the adults nuts. Avoid all of the associated fuss by planning ahead: Take along music and movies for entertainment; pack a few board games and deck of cards if it will keep younger ones occupied while the car is moving. When all else fails, pack a good assortment of snacks for the road – this can take a lot of the pressure of being stuck in a car for too long!
An emergency budget
An emergency budget is an essential part of traveling with family – or even traveling alone. Don’t believe us? Then ignore our advice and wait until an emergency strikes you on your vacation: You’ll wish you had put money away for an emergency right away. Emergencies can take almost any shape or form: They can range from medical emergencies like a child suddenly falling out of a tree and breaking their arm, it can be a delayed flight, or it can be a flat tire. This isn’t the kind of thing anyone likes to think about on vacation, and it’s much better if you can say that you thought ahead and prepared for this when it happens. Vacations are meant to be a getaway that you can enjoy, after all, so put all the emergency out of your head by already being prepared.
Snacks and food for travel
You should always pack snacks, food, and liquids for travel: This is as true before you board the bus or plane as it is before you decide to go on a hiking trip in the country. (It’s always better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it, especially if you have children or need to snack from time to time to stay upright yourself.) Bad snacks are the high-sugar snacks most people crave – candy bars and other sugary sweets will give you a short burst of energy, but you’ll feel terrible, drained and dehydrated soon after. Good snacks are nuts, fruits, berries, juices… Yes, they’re sugar too – but they’re much healthier for you, especially when you’re on the move and burning energy as you’re going along. Make sure that everyone in the family has access to snacks, but that it’s rationed well enough for everyone to get their share and no more!
Travelling and age
When you’re traveling with the family, you need to remember to accommodate everyone’s needs equally – there’s nothing worse than having one grumpy camper in a group, and it can spoil the fun for everyone! First, take everyone’s age group into account and make sure that everyone has something to occupy their attention should they get bored – and it’s pretty evident that you won’t take along the same entertainment for a three-year-old than you would for a twelve-year-old. You will also want to think about stopping for regular leg stretches and bathroom breaks if you’ve got younger or older passengers traveling with you who might need to stop more often. Remember to keep everyone hydrated, as dehydration and sun-stroke can be potentially deadly and also ruin a vacation that could have been a lot of fun. Remember to pack sunscreen, and remember that younger ones might need reminding to apply it regularly.
Vacations should be fun for the whole family, and it’s evident that not everyone in the family is going to enjoy the same activities at the same time. Again, you run the risk of having one unhappy vacationer in the midst of the rest, and it could spoil the fun for everyone else. But this can be avoided if you make sure that everyone is on the same page about the activities they enjoy doing – and don’t. Only Mom and Dad want to go and see the cabaret performance on Wednesday evening? If the kids decide that they would rather play mini-golf on the other side of the resort, that’s perfectly fine! As long as you keep to the obvious safety rules, everyone gets to enjoy what they want while still enjoying a vacation together. Now that’s how you plan a proper family vacation!