In many ways, summer vacations provide a fantastic break from routine: everyone has time off from work, school, and household duties, and your days are devoted to family fun rather than the daily grind. Often, some household rules go out the window, too: junk food is practically unlimited, bedtimes are pushed back, and screen time limits are looser.
Bending the rules is fun. But I find that if you let sugary treats and late bedtimes become routine, you’ll find yourself saddled with cranky, overtired, sugar-hyped kids. That’s no recipe for a happy family vacation! To keep everyone running on an even keel, plan ahead using these time-tested tips.
1. Fill Up Their Tanks before You Leave
Kid-friendly vacation destinations, such as theme parks, are notorious for their overpriced, none-too-nutritious food options. If your kids are anything like mine, you won’t avoid buying a few fast-food meals. But you can minimize the damage by making sure the tykes eat a full, healthy breakfast early in the day. Many Orlando hotels and resorts affiliated with theme parks, including Disney World in Orlando and Disneyland in Anaheim, offer complimentary healthy and tasty breakfasts.
2. Deploy Snacks Strategically
To avoid being overrun with demands for sugary treats at every turn, take matters into your own hands. Pack some favorite healthy treats ahead of time and surprise your kids with them on the road. Try passing them out halfway to your destination or as a reward for good behavior. Your kids will love the sweet surprises, and you’ll love not being pestered for them! However, if you must make a fast-food stop you should still be making healthy decisions!
3. Stay Germ-Free
Bending the rules about bedtime or snacks might be fun, but there’s no benefit in being lax about hand-washing and other hygiene tasks. Studies by the SCA show that 40 percent of adults don’t wash their hands after coughing or sneezing. Imagine how much worse those figures are for kids! When you’re in amusement parks or other kid-dominated places, it’s especially important to scrub up before eating and after using bathrooms and use hand sanitizer throughout the day. Nothing ruins a vacation like swapping cold germs—or worse, a nasty stomach bug.
4. Respect the Sun
If you’re heading to warm, sunny climes, don’t neglect sun safety. Sunburns lead to short-term misery and are long-term risk factors for skin cancer. Make sure kids cover up with light clothing, hats, and sunglasses. Apply plenty of broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF factor. And don’t forget to reapply every two hours, especially if you’re swimming!
5. Plan Time-Outs
If your itinerary includes a long car trip, factor in plenty of time for breaks. Kids—and adults—need to get out of the car frequently. Breaks make for a happier journey and an easier transition to bedtime once you’ve arrived. Even fifteen minutes at a roadside picnic spot can burn off a lot of extra energy.
With summer being right around the corner I hope these summer travel tips will help you and your family enjoy that smooth sailing vacation you intended to have! I know these personally work for mine!
Guest Blogger: Kendra Thornton: Travel advocate, TV spokesperson, PR businesswoman, proud wife and mama of 3. I am a long time travel expert who has been packing my bags and traveling the world since I was 3 months old! I’ve found my utmost desire in life is right here in my own home. I have mixed my excitement for travel by bringing the taste of authentic cuisine to my own home with some of my unique recipes and sharing some of my personal traveling tips. Enjoy!