Planning a Vacation with Young Children

May 21, 2013 at 1:10 am Leave a comment

Kids on beachHere is some good advice from one of my readers, Kendra Thornton, a mother of three and a former Orbitz Director of Communications.

Planning On Uncontrollable Parts of Your Vacation

The summer traveling season is upon us, and if you are packing the family up for an adventure this summer, then you know there are parts of vacation that we have little control over.  To make sure my family stays safe and healthy, even in the midst of uncontrollable circumstances, I make thorough lists, a flexible schedule, and I take these 5 things into consideration when planning a trip with my young ones.

1. Nutrition

Avoid unhealthy eating disasters by ensuring your family eats a good-sized, healthy breakfast.  Pack your own snacks and lunches to avoid kids wanting the junk foods. It is less likely they will eat at the theme park, saving your healthy habits and your money. Even when you have to make those on-the-go purchases you can still make healthy decisions when you are eating fast foods!

2. Sleep

Make children as comfortable as possible for a good night’s rest. Bring their favorite blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals with you.  Make their sleep environment more like home by traveling with their noise or sleep machines, nighttime music, and their favorite books. Keep in mind that certain destination, such as many Orlando hotels in Walt Disney World, offer quiet hours to ensure families get the proper and a seamless nights sleep!

3. Exercise

Travel, especially by car, means children get very little exercise, but it is easy to incorporate exercise into a long car ride by making frequent stops at parks or rest areas where children have an opportunity to run and play.  It is the perfect way to get their wiggles out before getting back into the car where you can enjoy a more peaceful ride.

4. Germs

According to Dr. Charles Gerba (aka ‘Dr. Germ’), an environmental microbiologist at the University of Arizona, you will encounter more germs, especially E.coli, on an airplane than anywhere else. To avoid germs do not wash your hands in the bathrooms, where E.coli is most prevalent, and instead bring a bottle of hand sanitizer to use.

5. Scheduling

Make sure your schedule is flexible by allowing extra time for your activities.  Nothing is worse on vacation than feeling like you have to rush.  The extra time gives you a cushion for time-sucking tantrums, toilet stops, toddler stalling, and unplanned explorations.

Traveling with kids is always an adventure, but it does not have to create stress.  Plan, but plan with flexibility and your family’s health in mind.  By taking into consideration nutrition, sleep, exercise, germs, and scheduling before you begin your vacation, you will ensure a more fun, healthy, and safe trip.

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