Spring Break Travel Made Easy

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By Jennifer Halter

Will your family be traveling for Spring Break this month? Does the thought of being in the car, on a plane or other mode of transportation with your children seem like a daunting task? Traveling with your family doesn’t have to be something to fear. In fact, with a little planning, your next trip can be filled with fun times without stress. Here are five tips to help your Spring Break travel a breeze!

Plan Your Itinerary

One of the most dreaded questions parents receive while traveling is, “are we there yet?” One way you can help avoid hearing this question on repeat is to include your children in planning the itinerary for your trip. Let them know about your destination, how long you anticipate it will take to get there and how many stops, if any, you will be making. Give them a time schedule of how long they will need to be in the car or on the airplane so they can make their own plans for entertainment. If traveling by car, do research on fun landmarks you may be able to make time to see, or plan how many times you will be stopping for gas, food, or bathroom breaks. Throughout your trip, give an update of how much longer it will be to your next destination before the kids ask so they have something to look forward to.

family

Pack Snacks

No matter how you are traveling, snacks can be an important tool to help keep the kids comfortable. Pack
things that are familiar and easy for them to open and consume with little assistance. To make snacks more
special, you can give each child a budget and allow him/her to shop for their own goodies prior to your excursion.

Set the rules for what they purchase. One idea would be to have them choose something salty, something sweet, a fruit, a vegetable, their favorite sandwich, and their choice of drink.

Take Comfort Items

Does your child have a favorite stuffed animal or blanket? Be sure to bring them along. Traveling is not part of their normal routine, which can be hard to adapt to. Having comfort items from home can help keep children calm and provide something familiar for them to connect with. If your children are older, perhaps they can bring a pillow, their favorite sweatshirt or jacket or snuggly throw blanket.

Bring Something Fun

The easiest way to get through a road trip, train ride, or flight is to make sure everyone is entertained. Head
to the library before your trip for new books, movies, or books on CD. Some library branches even have
learning tablets available for you to borrow. Create an art box that includes coloring books, crayons, sketch
pads, colored pencils, or other no-mess supplies. Bring along a deck of cards or games that travel well, like Go Fish or Old Maid. Look for mini versions of favorites like Connect Four. There are even magnetic games such as checkers or chess that are perfect for travel. Bring a notebook or journal for your older children to write about their experience on the trip. For extra-long trips, you can bring tablets or phones and allow extra screen time if the situation calls for it. Download games, movies, and music at home, so you don’t have to worry about finding a Wi-Fi connection. Make sure you also pack headphones or earbuds so each family member can listen to their own devices without interruption.

Have a Conversation

Traveling can provide a unique opportunity to simply have great conversations with members of your family that you may not always have in your busy daily lives. Ask about school and extracurricular activities that your child participates in. Talk about friends, trends, or things that may be of interest to them. Share information about your childhood travel experiences, including your favorite place you’ve ever visited, funny things that have happened to you, or things you liked to do when you went on trips. Talk about your trip, what they are most excited about doing and seeing, and places they would like to travel to next. And if you find yourself searching for topics to chat about, bring along a pack of Table Topic cards for conversation starters to help make traveling atime to simply enjoy each other.

Jennifer Halter (jenniferh@macaronikid.com) is a contributing writer and the founder of Macaroni Kid in
Woodbridge

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