Tuesday, August 21, 2012

7 Steps to a Successful Vacation With Kids

Vacation with kids can still
be magical. It really can.

I know, I know. 

You've been wondering where I've been. 
On our summer vacation, of course!  It was great.  Some high highs.  Some low lows.  But we've all returned without needing the services of a lawyer.  A good psychologist maybe, but not a lawyer.

I will share my wisdom about traveling with kids.  There will be a quiz later. And I love quizzes more than Reprehensible Todd Akin loves making s--t up, so you know I mean business!

First, Pack Like You've Been Evicted.Sure, there is a washing machine, but you do not want to be Laurie the Laundress on your vacation.  Pack multiples of every article of clothing for everyone (maybe not Hubby).  Bring enough diapers to cover the bottom of every toddler from Bombay to Beijing. Bring your favorite foods.  And of course, if you are a coddling, enabling parent who lives in abject fear that her children might melt down after facing a nanosecond of discomfort, try to reproduce eating, bathing and sleeping situations in your temporary home. Draw the line at bringing their beds.

Check, Consult and Review the Directions.
Even if you have been to this area several times before, check your directions.  This is especially important if you have a cell phone manufactured sometime during the Nixon Administration.  What a tragedy it would be to finally hold your hubby's hand, gaze lovingly upon your children dozing in the back seat, and realize that though you should be approaching your destination, you are fast on your way to West Jabook. You do not want to pull into a gas station, jolt your kids awake and begin the first marital/parental fight of the trip.  Not 90 minutes in.

Have No Illusions About Bedtime.
Even though every blanket, pillow and lovey from their home bed has been brought, the buggers will likely be too excited to sleep in unfamiliar surroundings.  Do not be surprised if at 11 p.m, the kids are running out of their room, slapping you and using preschool profanity, i.e. stupid.  In this case you have only one option.  Do not let yourself be bullied like a substitute teacher.  No way, Kwamé. Get them in bed immediately.  And the only way to do this might be a way you might not like, but it works (eventually). You simply must…

Threaten Them With the Loss of An Activity.
Sure you spent thousands of dollars to rent a house in Besticanaffordia.  And you picked Besticanaffordia because of several uniquely opportunities. Your children, however, simply cannot get the best of you.  As a consequence of poor behavior propose losing a meal at their favorite restaurant, or losing a day at the amusement park or pool.  But be careful, because this can blow up in your face.  You must follow through, and particularly wild and impulsive children might have you all imprisoned in your rented living room, watching daytime TV.

Throw The Schedule Out The Window.

Your kids sleep schedule is totally off.  Their eating schedule is off. They might melt down. You might meltdown. It’s okay. Forget the schedule. Some families out there keep everything marching to the same drummer on vacay, but if you’re motto is “we can stay on schedule and be stressed out,” or “we can be a little off schedule, adapt and have fun,” then do it, baby.  Meet new families.  Let your children play with new kids.  As for you, playing drill sergeant on vacation is a great way to have your family tell you to check the under the beds for a small toy, while they sneak off for ice cream.   
Find Unconventional Rainy Day Activities.
The library is fabulous. It is quiet and might have crafts and toys in addition to a sea of books. 
The grocery store is another place for an education.  You may be shocked/awed/dismayed to learn that the local big box store carries a biker shorts/lace tights/lace peblum skirt combo, tubs of every imaginable kind of candy and even bullets!  No matter what your cultural experience, go there and overspend.  Buy more than the Duggars could eat in a week.  Eating every meal out is costly and caloric.  Also, this way you will be faced with the decision of throwing food in the trash or taking home even more crap than you brought.

Consider Hiring a Sitter.
Except for the fact that you are steps from a sandy white beach, you have replicated the galley-slave-governess life you lead at home. But now, because your offspring keep the hours of club rats, you have no time to relax with your partner.  Consider hiring a sitter.  Surely, you can get a recommendation from a reliable source!  Then envision several worst-case babysitting scenarios too heinous to mention. Decide to stay home. 

Create Memories.
Because you have been so spontaneous, you may be so lucky as to find yourself with one (unnapped) kid at a nearly empty beach on a fantabulous afternoon.  Watch him do something that makes your heart leap, something that imprints itself on your soul and will bring you joy every time you remember it.  Be so moved that you forget your I-thingie, which may either be dead or back at the house.  Lament the loss, but don’t freak out.  After all, some memories are meant to be relived only in the FLASH player of our minds. 


  1. YAY for vacation success! It sounds like you had a great time. Nothing better than a reset for your family, right? I have to admit, I've been known to be That Schedule Nazi on vacation, as much as I try to fight it. Perhaps I just need more adult beverages while on vacay! (And thanks for the backlink - you're too kind...or perhaps want to scare the crap out of your readers)

  2. What a great post. It is so true...routine flies out the window in Summer!

  3. We packed like we were being evicted on a trip once and the customs agent felt so sorry for us he just let us go through...but not without a "moving back home are ya?" comment being slung our way. :) Welcome home!

  4. Vacation with kids is no vacation for adults. Vacation with kids comes with the ever popular illusion of a relaxing vacation for adults. But as you point out, it's all worth it in the end when you have those quiet, precious moments and tender mercies.

  5. I enjoy vacations with my kids. IT does get better with experience and you do not need to pack in so many things if certain items can be purchased at your destination.

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  7. Hi, I am here from The Women of Bonbon Break. Great article!! My daughter is older now so not the same issues but I can remember it well!!

  8. Awesome tips! We took a brief vacation with our 3 littles (under 4yo) this summer. Very thankful to have had by parents plus my brother and his wife along to help!


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