Since you had kids, you can probably count on one hand the number of times you left the house without planning. That’s a lesson you learn quickly. You know, like that one time you darted out the door too fast and forgot your daughter’s favorite sippy cup? It was a fiasco that will forever be referred to as Sippygate 2016. Never again would you pull out of the driveway without adequate drinks and snacks.
Vacations elevate planning stress to a whole new level. You have to plan to be away from home for days instead of hours. If you forget your son’s favorite lovey, you’re done for. The stakes are high.
But take a deep breath. You’ve got this. Use this post as a checklist for everything you need to do before any and every vacation with the kids. You may add to this list based on the situation, but make sure you cover the following things:
Have a plan for the kids’ irreplaceables
If you’re traveling with infants and/or toddlers, you know what these items are. It may be a favorite blankie, a plush elephant or a daily-wear article of clothing. Put a post-it note on your dashboard, so you check to make sure it’s in the car before you depart. Almost anything else you forget can be replaced, but these items are different. If you can think of anything else that’s irreplaceable, add it to the list.
Get your vehicle serviced
If you’re going on a road trip, it’s crucial that you bring your vehicle in for service first. Oil changes are probably more important than you think, but that’s not all that needs to be checked. Everything, down to your windshield wiper fluid should be in good working order. Tire integrity is another thing people tend to underestimate, but if your tires don’t have enough tread, you’ll risk getting a blowout.
Prepare snacks and entertainment
You know what kids like? Okay, aside from technology. They like new stuff. Keep them entertained during the trip by getting snacks they’ve never tried and new games for them to play. If you have older kids who think they’ve tried every snack, take a trip to an ethnic grocery store to find new things for them to taste. Have you heard about the unique Kit Kat flavors they sell in Japan, like Blueberry Cheesecake and Cherry Blossom? You may be able to score some at your local Asian grocer. Games and entertainment items don’t have to be elaborate. Just get a few new coloring books and other small items to surprise the kids with along the journey.
Organize your stuff
Once you know what you’re taking, set aside some time to organize your stuff by when you may need it. Keep the frequently accessed stuff in your carry-on or purse while other things can stay in the car organizer. How you get organized is up to you, but it’s important that you do get organized. You won’t have extra time to search through bags for those Cherry Blossom Kit Kats while your kids are pitching a fit. …I know they were in here somewhere.
Yes, the stakes are high, but traveling with kids can really be fun. All you need is some good pre-planning and organization. What are your favorite tips for vacationing with the little ones?
Bio: Trevor McDonald is a freelance content writer who has a passion for writing. He’s written a variety of education, travel, health, and lifestyle articles for many different companies and is currently writing for Audi Atlanta. In his free time, you can find him running with his dog, playing his guitar or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.