Every parent knows traveling with young children takes a lot of planning. That planning goes beyond making sure snacks, screens and favorite stuffed animals are packed. Vacation destinations must be researched to ensure they are safe for little kids. Camping, for example, might seem safe and fun for all, but plenty of dangers lurk about, from poison ivy to unguarded swimming holes.
There is no reason fun must take a backseat to safety, however. Following a few simple steps before you leave, while you are traveling, and once you reach your destination can make every family vacation safe and enjoyable. Here are five to get you started:
5 Tips to Make Your Next Vacation Safer and Enjoyable
Know Before You Go
While your final destination might be both the happiest place on Earth and the safest place on Earth, how about the place where you are staying? It is always worthwhile to check out the neighborhood where your hotel is located. Is it kid-friendly? Whether you are researching resorts or considering one of several cruises from Miami or New York, understand how those destinations stay safe.
That is even more important now that many families are renting vacation properties from third-party platforms connecting renters and owners. Private homes may not include safety features that brand-name properties do. Call ahead and make sure.
Role Play Safety Tips
The most likely scenario your family will face on vacation is becoming separated from one another. For kids that carry smartphones, a quick text or call can bring people back together. For younger children, it’s a different story. Becoming separated from parents can frighten kids enough that they may not know how to act. To counter that, give them the tools to take control of the situation.
Create a “reconnection plan” and practice each step before leaving home. Steps might include finding another parent and child or law enforcement officer. It might include carrying contact information so a shop owner can call a parent. However your plan is built, practice, practice, practice.
Also read: 20 Things To Do This Summer Vacation
Keep Your Kids Happy
The best way to make vacation enjoyable for parents is to make it fun for the kids. This means compromise, of course, but it does not mean giving up on adult fun. Many resort destinations include programs specifically for children, giving parents time to themselves to sit quietly by the pool or play a round of golf. One way to do this without vacationing at an all-inclusive is to invite family members along for the journey. Grandparents provide a great assist when parents need a break, and many children would rather hang out with cousins than follow Mom and Dad to a museum.
Relax Your Rules
Another way parents can make vacation more enjoyable is by relaxing everyday rules. Soda pop for dinner? Why not. Pizza for breakfast? Sure. Bending rules during vacation eases parental stress and often makes vacation even more exciting for children. Plus, kids can comprehend the difference between at-home and on-vacation rules and typically revert back to making the bed and eating a reasonable meal once the journey is over.
Also read: What to Do on a Long Plane Trip
Count Your Blessings
Children are a challenge no matter their age, and they know exactly how to press Mom and Dad’s buttons. Combat that mental pressure by counting your blessings. Similar to relaxing your rules, realize what a special opportunity you have to show your kids the world. Take a moment to know these memories will stay with them forever, in much the same way you can recall how much fun you had on family vacations when you were a kid.
Traveling with children is almost always a challenge, but with a little planning, every parent can make the task less stressful and more enjoyable for all. Taking time to research destinations that are safe kids and fun for adults can help, as well. Include the right amount of compromise and a fair amount of simple reflection, and you can make memories that will last a lifetime.