Here are some ideas to prep for a special child-inclusive vacation.
Practice Day Tripping
One thing I think most of us fear when our children accompany us on trips is the threat of a short attention span. Nothing tests patience (for us and our little ones) like a car ride. Combat this by making day trips part of your weekend routine. Your child will become better accustomed to longer car rides this way.
Plan Around the Kids’ Interests
Visiting even the most mundane place with a toddler can be a blast. As moms, we get to see them experience something, everything, for the first time. If your child has a hobby, capitalize on local events and day trip activities that are relative to those interests. For example, a brief day trip to a nearby car show may turn into a bigger family vacation to a racing museum out of town.
Pack the Necessities
As moms, we must think about the many (oh so many) items we’ll need for the kids – during travel and once we arrive at our vacation destination.
Sabrina Emmett-Jarmon, now a mother of one college-aged daughter and one high school aged daughter, remembers a time when preparation was possible only after experiencing Disney World first hand.
“Make sure with your younger kids that you are visiting a place that is stroller accessible, for your own or a rental,” she said of the long walks between activities. “Keeping a cooler is also a great idea for a vacation spot like Disney, because you can keep cool towels and ice packs inside for the kids while visiting heat-intensive areas of the park.”
Money Matters, But Not as Much as You Think
Before we have kids, I think we have a heavier focus on the “fancy” when it comes to vacationing. But (and this is a big “but”) planning day trips and vacations around children make you focus more on the experience, rather than the glam factor of a trip. Nevertheless, money is a factor. Make a trip jar, and save everything you can. Add another jar, and have family members toss in “dream locations” that will fit within the budget of a day trip. When it comes time for the larger vacation, you’ve had plenty of practice saving up.
Marlena Rice is a busy mom and writer who lives in Tuscaloosa with her husband, Rod, and their son, Beaux William. Her new book, “Pacifiers, Flatbeds and Barn Wood Thingamajigs, a ‘Come to Jesus Guide’ for the New, Southern Mom,” will be available on Amazon.com soon.