You might think that “winning” a vacation with kids, specifically two under 2.5 years, would have some pretty low standards. Don’t get me wrong, you might not be doing all of the crazy things on your to-do list that you would have before, but you can still have an epic adventure with your family. These tips applied to your family vacation at any age or stage will help you pull off a serious vacation win, I promise. Before we hit the road I did a ton of research and found some great family travel tips on The Scenic Route from Alamo. Here are the three things I tried to keep in mind throughout our travels.
3 Tips for a Great Family Vacation
1. Remember, there’s no place like home: It’s no secret that kids thrive with routine and familiarity. That’s not to say that little ones can’t cultivate a spirit of adventure or do well in new situations. In fact, my toddler is proof that it’s possible but she still does well to have some of her “home base” items with us when we travel. We bring her Dock-A-Tot, favorite blanket and favorite stuffed animals she sleeps with at night. Sullivan is the extreme case where he does best if we recreate the exact setup and carry out the same bedtime routine that we have at home. He requires his Dock-A-Tot, a specific pack-n-play from Baby Bjorn, his noise machine, his sleep sack, and our travel diffuser. Forget even one of those things and it will be all kinds of chaos. Even so, it’s not tough to do this if you plan it out ahead of time. I found a great article from Alamo that explains this a little bit more and has some more helpful tips for traveling with kids.
2. Stay Connected: The next article I loved really inspired me to work hard to keep us tight-knit while we traveled. Although with kids there’s always something on the schedule, be it a nap or a family excursion, I wanted us to remember to enjoy each other. Instead of just going through the motions and crashing at the end of the day, we would spend time chatting about what our favorite things are. They even suggested that you give kids their own camera or let them take their own videos so they could really connect to the memories and help document the trip. I think next time we travel I’ll bring my Instax camera which produces instant photos for Elouise. Obviously, she can’t take photos herself but she can choose what she wants to capture with a little help.
3. Take LOTS of photos and videos: This one piggy-backs perfectly off of the last point. The final article from Alamo that I read gave some incredible tips for capturing family photos while traveling. If you couldn’t tell by my Instagram and blog, we take zillions of photos of our kids, it’s really second nature to us now. It wasn’t always that way though, and the article had some perfect tips for helping you get those amazing snaps. One of my favorites was that it’s okay if your photos or real and realistic. Meaning most shots won’t be posed, have everyone smiling or looking at the camera, or even have everyone in them! I really cannot stress enough that I’ve found it so helpful to really document exciting moments since having little ones. I mean, let’s be honest, a good amount of the time someone’s phone or camera will already be out or easily accessible, so take advantage of that. Just be sure that you are still participating in the family fun and not missing out of the real-life moments. It’s a balancing act for sure!
Often times, with my two little in tow, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos and while the intentions may be pure, a full schedule isn’t always the recipe for the best vacation. When I plan too much for our day sometimes I feel the weight of my exhaustion at bedtime and forget the small and sweet little moments of the day. If I find myself in one of those moments, my favorite thing to do is go through the photos and the videos from the before I go to sleep to reflect on and remember the fun things that happened. Sticking to these tips really helped minimize those moments for this trip. I hope they help, and I’d love to hear your tried and true family travel tips!