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Financial Fitness

Financial Fitness: Travel Hacks for Vacationing With Little Ones

A mom holding her child on a playground

Whether you’re jetting off abroad or traveling near home, venturing out with kids can present challenges. Here are a few tips to help you maximize your time together and have the most fun for the whole family this summer.

Prepare in advance
If you know you’ll have a long journey, a long day out, or a busy week, prepare for it beforehand. Pack a bag with plenty of snacks, sunscreen, rain gear, spare clothes, and books, puzzles or devices to entertain the kids during downtime. If you pack this the night before and lay out clothes for them to wear, even the mornings of your adventure will be calm and enjoyable.

Linked to advanced preparation is advanced planning. Make sure you know exactly where you’re going, how you’ll get there, and what facilities (like restrooms) are available. It’s also an excellent idea to make a firm plan for when you need to leave and stick to it. It’s the moments when you’re running late, not sure of directions, or don’t know where to go for what you need when children pick up on the adults’ stress and can be more likely to be grouchy or misbehave. Keeping track of things like the nearest restrooms, cafes, stores, and places of interest in each area you’ll be visiting will help you in case of poor phone signal or lack of cellular data.

Don’t try to do too much
Remember to stop and breathe, take in your surroundings, and enjoy the moment! Kids and adults alike need time to rest and recharge, and vacation time is perfect for that, provided you’re not constantly rushing from one thing to the next. Take time to chat, take photos, tell silly jokes, and enjoy a sweet treat together while you’re adventuring. Sticking to a regular bedtime (and nap time, if your children are young enough to need them) routine even on vacation can help things run smoother and provide everybody with the necessary downtime.

Make sure it’s fun!
This might sound obvious, but make sure the activities you’re planning are actually what the family wants to do. For example, you might think you should explore a specific museum while you’re in the area, but if none of you would actually enjoy it, it’s not worth doing. It’s okay if only some family members want to do a particular activity, but it’s important to make sure every family member has something they want to do that you can all do together. Talk together about what you most want to do on your vacation, and plan to ensure everybody gets to do at least one thing they’re excited about.

Go with the flow
Be prepared to make your schedule flexible. Things like weather, moods, and energy and interest levels affect what you’re up for, so try to be open about changing your schedule when it serves the family. For example, suppose everybody is having a wonderful time making sandcastles and relaxing on the beach, but you’d intended to leave to go and explore a new area that afternoon. In that case, it’s probably okay to cancel that and stay with what everybody is enjoying. Some of the best vacation moments differ from your original plans!

No matter how you plan on spending your vacation time, being relaxed and focusing on fun, as well as making sure you’re well prepared in advance, are the best hacks to making sure everybody has the best time!

Darrell McVea, Community Financial Educator
Darrell McVea
Community Financial Educator
800.426.1601 x3184
[email protected]

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