Summer is the most popular time of year for family vacations. According to the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, 657 million long distance summer trips are made each summer. The trips average 284 miles one way. Many of those are made by families who take advantage of kids being out of school during the summer months.
|Emilia and I at the airport in 2008|
Next week I’m flying with a four-year-old and a six-week-old to Indiana for my brother’s wedding. The older of the two is an excellent traveler. She has been since she was, well, six weeks old and I flew to Indiana during my maternity leave. I am anxious about the new baby because she cries if you sit still for longer than 30 seconds. The celebration waiting for us on the other end is worth whatever might happen in the air, however.
Traveling can be stressful, especially with little ones. With that in mind, here are a few suggestions for parents to help enjoy the vacation process as much as possible.
- Routine will be interrupted. Parents should just accept this fact. Try not to stress out if the kids do not get a nap at the exact same time or eat more junk food than normal. Do your best to adapt and maintain some semblance of your life back home, but fretting over the duplication of your exact schedule will only frustrate you. Go with the flow as much as possible.
- Take a lot of pictures. Maybe even keep a journal. Document the things that your kids enjoy on this vacation and then keep chronicling it for years to come. It makes a great keepsake for the future and will be something that your kids will want to look at as they get older.
- Remember to breathe. Going through the security line at the airport is a pain when you are by yourself. Add in a few strollers, diaper bags and kids who need help removing/replacing their shoes, and it can be the parenting equivalent of a root canal. You will likely encounter a few moments when all the kids decide to cry at the exact same time on a long car trip. Before you pass out in the security line or burst a blood vessel in your hand from gripping the steering wheel too tightly — or, my personal move, start sobbing uncontrollably — do yourself a favor. Breathe. This too shall pass. But the vacation memories will always be with you.
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