Let’s talk travel mistakes, specifically – the biggest travel mistakes parents make.
You’ve got the car all loaded up and you’re ready to explore the world with your darling children. “What a glorious time we’re going to have on vacation,” you think. You envision lazy days beachside, or joyous laughter aboard amusement park rides, or a swell of pride in your chest as your offspring tackle the bunny hill with gusto at the ski resort. Before your travel fantasies get too inflated, remember that no trip comes without complications. As a family travel expert and author of the new book, The Travel Mamas’ Guide — Colleen Lanin has been kind enough to share the top five travel mistakes parents make.
Her book is filled with practical advice and humorous tales from parents, travelers and childcare experts. You’ll find all sorts of information on what to pack, the best travel toys, road trip activities and so much more. I’ve been an avid reader of Colleen’s blog for quite some time now which in itself is a wealth of information. Her new book is a must-read for anyone who travels with kids!
5 Travel Mistakes Parents Can Make 1 of 7
Click through for 5 essential tips on what NOT to do when traveling with your kids!
Photo credit: Olaf/Flickr
Inflated Expectations 2 of 7
It's easy to over-fantasize when it comes to family vacations. You envision blissful days filled with oil painting-worthy sunsets and happy-go-lucky meals galore. Meanwhile, your offspring do not transfer into Normal Rockwell paintings of perfect children and maybe it rains…a lot…every day. And then there's the laundry; somehow it's followed you to paradise, needing to be washed and folded despite your desire to do nothing but relax. The duties of parenthood don't dissipate lo though you have set off on vacation.
Understand that things will go wrong, even more so when traveling with children than without them. Still, kids have a way of making us slow down and experience the world anew. And that's the whole point of travel, right?
Photo credit: sektordua/Flickr
Over-Scheduled Fun 3 of 7
Your family works hard to earn a living. You work so hard, in fact, that you want to wring every last drop of fun out of your travels. "We've flown all of these miles," you think, "we need to get our money's worth!" So you schedule activity after activity after activity. If a surf lesson and luau in one day is good, adding a helicopter ride and bicycle tour is better, right? Wrong! Over-scheduling will likely lead to crankiness for all family members.
Be sure to schedule some downtime so everyone has a chance to recharge and refresh during your travels. The museums, sites and amusements will remain for years to come, but childhoods are short. Slow down and connect with your children, even if it means forgoing some things on your vacation wish list. Build sandcastles for hours, stop to play in a park with local kids, or sleep-in late rather than hitting the amusement park first thing in the morning. Your kids will learn and grow more, and so will you.
Photo credit: sneakerdog/Flickr
Under-Budgeting 4 of 7
Let's face it: vacations are expensive. You think you can get by on a modest amount of money each day, but then reality strikes. There are so many meals to buy for too many mouths. Those admission prices add up, too. Set a realistic budget before leaving home, including oft-forgotten extras like souvenirs, taxes, and resort fees. Staying within budget will help you relax more and stress less while vacationing.
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Not Booking a Seat For Baby 5 of 7
Parents of children under age 2 often fly with lap children to save money and because they incorrectly believe the Federal Aviation Administration would not allow parents to fly with babies and toddlers on their laps if it was not safe. In preparing for an emergency landing, parents holding children have been asked to place their babies on the floor with tragic results.
Here's what the FAA has to say on their website:
Did you know that the safest place for your child on an airplane is in a government-approved child safety restraint system (CRS) or device, not on your lap? Your arms aren't capable of holding your child securely, especially during unexpected turbulence.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) strongly urges you to secure your child in a CRS or device for the duration of your flight. It's the smart and right thing to do so that everyone in your family arrives safely at your destination.
Not only is purchasing a seat for youngsters the safer option, but also the extra space means your flight will be a whole lot more comfortable and easier to manage.
Photo credit: Debs (Ã²â€¿Ã³)â™ª/Flickr
Focusing On The Negative 6 of 7
So, your family vacation isn't as perfect as you had envisioned. So what? Life is messy.Often, it's the messes that become central humorous points in your family vacation lore. Who doesn't have a vacation memory of your dad pulling over to the side of the road and threatening to leave you there? Even when things go astray (and they will), it's important to focus on the good stuff, fleeting though it may be. Life isn't meant to be pure bliss. That would be boring. We need ups and downs and upside downs to remind us that we're alive and so is the world around us.
Now, get out there... and travel with your kids… mistakes, messes, funny vacation memories and all!
Photo credit: TarahDawdy/Flickr
For More Tips… 7 of 7
Find more of Nadia’s writing on her site Child Mode. You can also find her on Disney Baby and Hip Baby. Love social media? So does she! Follow her daily on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest.