Before my husband and I had kids we loved to travel, we would go places at the drop of a hat. We were always planning our next trip and thinking about great places to visit. Then like most people who have kids we wondered if traveling and enjoying it were possible now. I’m sure you’ve heard and seen the horror stories of traveling with kids, whether it’s crying babies on planes, cranky toddlers and other issues that come up. The families I always saw on trips never seem relaxed and they sure didn’t seem happy.
Once our kids got around the age of 5 my husband and I started to talk about taking our first big family vacation. We had gone places without the kids during this time (grandparents are great babysitters for trips) but we had yet to take that big leap with the kids. Going into I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but let’s be honest, by this point in your kids lives you probably know them pretty well. You know what has a tendency to send them off the edge and what seems to keep them happy and content.
With that though in mind I decided to make a gameplan for our vacation because we were of course going to Disneyworld (where else would we go with five year olds really). I decided to come up with some trip rules, these were rules that were not to be broken in the hopes that the vacation would not only be enjoyable but would also let my husband and I keep our sanity. The rules I came up with were:
- No more than 4 hours at a time at any park
- Have food and snacks on hand at all times
- Take mid day naps (this was for us as much as the kids lol)
- Be willing to leave a park if they started to misbehave
- Find Mickey as much as possible!
This wasn’t a comprehensive list by any means but I felt knowing our kids that if we stuck to this list that we would more than likely have a great trip. The biggest one on the list to me is the 4 hour rule, the biggest mistake I see parents make is when they are at a park all day. Of course when it starts getting late the kids are going to be cranky and tired, which usually leads to them getting into trouble for throwing a fit. Personally I’ll throw a fit if you keep me at a theme park all day so I didn’t want to subject myself or my kids to that.
I can say that with these rules that our trip really was a success and was a great memory. Of course there were times when the kids bickered and got a little cranky but that’s to be expected. Most of the time they were just happy and by keeping them rested and with food they didn’t have the typical meltdowns we have all seen kids have at these parks. Now this list may not work for your kids, every kid is different so the list of rules should never be exactly the same. The only one I would say to follow every time would be the 4 hour rule and having food on hand at all times. With a little planning and thought you can indeed take your family on a vacation and truly enjoy it.
This is a really helpful video about how to organize a trip with your family, I used a lot of things in this video.