I am sharing my #TravelTipZzz with ZzzQuil. Thank you to Vicks for sponsoring this post as part of my compensated participation in the Vicks Ambassador Program. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.
For a long time, I scoffed at the idea of traveling anywhere far with our very active, sometimes crazy kids. A plane? Out of the question. A foreign country? No way. It wasn’t until my husband had family visit from Italy and France that I realized just what my children were missing. My son was SO interested in learning more about Italy where he has cousins and family that he has never met. Their childhood is too fleeting to pass up the opportunity to expose them to travel if we can. And that is what we intend to do this summer in Italy. It won’t be the same as the trip we took before kids, but to see it through their eyes is an amazing new experience.
Our decision led me to talk to lots of people and find out some of the best tips for traveling abroad – below are five general tips that I’m finding helpful leading up to my trip. I’m sure I’ll have many more once I retun!
5 Tips for Traveling Abroad with Your Family
Before you travel, consider your destination and your children. Consider their ages and what activities will be available to them. Discuss with everyone what sort of routine the family will keep. Don’t overplan and feel you need to see or do everything. It’s certainly okay to have a ‘low-key’ day – plus it’s interesting to visit local parks, playgrounds or suburbs to get a feel for how locals live versus tourist attractions. We are fortunate enough to have family and friends in Italy so we visit these small towns. A visit to a small farm in a suburb of Rome can be just as enriching as a visit to a museum.
Manage Your Sleep Schedule
The first day you arrive, plan to stay awake as long as possible. Don’t plan too much for the first day – try to keep it simple yet active enough that everyone isn’t yawning. After that, try to keep a good schedule for the kids so that they are tired each night. Not only will this give you a little quiet time, it will keep them focused on the next day’s activities. A note to the parents – if you find yourself having a disrupted sleep pattern, be sure to packVick’s ZzzQuil. With ZzzQuil, sleeping away from home can be easy since it is a non-habit forming sleep aid designed to help with occasional sleeplessness. It ensures your change in your environment does not interrupt your sleep cycle. So, the noise in a big city that you’re not used to or a bed that is just not your own — those things don’t have to keep you awake. The more you keep to your own sleep routine, the better you’ll overcome the time change and have a relaxing trip.
Make a Checklist
When packing, have one person manage the essentials bag. This will be your bag that you take with you everywhere – which should include things like sunscreen, snacks, water, change of clothes, wet wipes, comfortable shoes, sunglasses etc. Put it all in a great bag – like the one pictured below. A bag should be comfortable to carry, easy to access and big enough for everything. Remember, this bag will differ when you are actually on a plane – keep in mind all of the security regulations with liquids, etc. Make a separate checklist for each person, along with a checklist for the essentials bag. In addition, itis always a good idea to have the “day of” checklist – things that you need to grab as you go out the door – phone, chargers, camera, medicines, etc.
Be careful with documents and personal items. One tip I’ve learned is to scan everyone’s passports, credit cards and ID before I leave home. I upload them to cloud that I can access if need be, that way I don’t need any physical copies. Decide on a great travel purse or sack (they make some really great ones now that are a far cry from the old school ‘fanny packs!) to keep your personal documents in. Be sure that you also notify your credit cards companies that you are traveling so the account is not flagged. Don’t bring expensive jewelry or other items and make sure your kids adhere to the same.. Things are lost or stolen all the time – and that special blanket or stuffed animal may not be so easily replaced in a foreign country. Skip the tears and keep things at home!
When we travel, I try to say “yes” a little more! I let my kids explore and discover – while keeping them safe. This upcoming trip, I purchased an inexpensive digital camera for my son. I’m going to allow him to take pictures of whatever he wants – even though that might be a piece of gum on the sidewalk! The goal is to let him capture the trip as he sees it. It’s a great activity to come home and let him journal and make a scrapbook.
Overall, remember why you’re traveling. Have a plan but know that there will be deviations. Expect the unexpected and above all, enjoy!
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Be sure to visit these blogs for even more Family Travel Tips!