Holidays mask a unique range of terrors for the parent who has the nerve to reckon they can travel with their small children and keep their composure. There may be no more chilling sound than that of a toddler’s screech at the commencement of a long haul flight, except, perhaps, the sounds of growing political unrest emanating from the back seat of the SUV, or a partner uttering those blood-curdling words: “I thought you had the passports…”. Somehow, though, you have made it through another year, and it’s time to revisit the notion of traveling with your children. Here’s how to find your way to a rewarding holiday to remember, by any means.
You can eradicate all the tricky individual chores that eat into your days of leisure when you arrive at your destination by choosing all-inclusive family holidays. Instead of squandering quality time that could be spent with your kids (or a gin and tonic) negotiating with transfer services, trailing around looking for the best quality restaurant or trying to book excursions last minute, you can get on with the important stuff, like trying to persuade an argumentative five year old of the proven health benefits of UV protection.
Charge up your arsenal
Your greatest tool in the fight against ennui is the portable digital device, and a tablet is worth more than a hundred skilfully-deployed platitudes to a child. Don’t neglect to bring armfuls of chargers and headphones to avoid disharmony if your little princes and princesses must suffer the indignity of sharing. If you’re on a family road trip, sling a tablet or iPhone around the seat back in a Ziploc bag for an instant, budget in-car entertainment system, or deploy on a long haul flight in exchange for silent, co-operative behavior on takeoff.
Power to the finish line with some snacks
Stash some favorite snacks for when your kids get crotchety and distribute as a diversionary tactic. It’s a holiday, so remember to go for something that will be considered a treat and keep everyone in good spirits. There’s a time and a place for carrot sticks, and it’s not 30,000 feet up in the air.
While you might be dreading the logistical obstacle course that is travelling with children, no-one is going to mark you down for making things as easy as possible. At home it might be irresponsible to dish out unlimited screen time and goodies, but consider your inner responsible parent on holiday, too. Buy yourself some peace, in the quiet assurance that your routine will soon enough when you get back home.
Guest Poster Joanie Ray is a mom of four and cat lover who loves to get away with the family. As busy as she is, she still finds time to go running and exploring.