Start packing early. I’ve never met a kid that didn’t talk about their summer plans as early as possible. I’m talking spring break is over and they head to school talking about their upcoming summer vacation. I think knowing that summer will be filled with fun gets them through the end of the school year.
So I know it’s not a stretch to get the kids excited about packing and planning for vacation. About a month before vacation, start talking about your plans. Where will you be going? What will you be doing? What will you need? Start a list of things to pack as you talk about and get excited with the kids. And let them start a list, too. They’ll love this responsibility and it will give them something to look forward to.
A couple of weeks before vacation, get the suitcases out and start filling them. You don’t have to pack your favorite, go to shoes just yet. But things that you know you’d forget if you don’t get them in the bag now.
Once departure day arrives, give everyone a task. Delegate wisely. You don’t want the eight-year-old in charge of passports! Giving the kids a responsibility that’s manageable will free your mind to focus on the important tasks, like the passports, keeping everyone alive, you know, the usual.
Check your reservations and make sure everything is intact before you head out. This will save you a world of trouble and doubt.
Once you’ve departed, whatever your method of transportation, relax and enjoy the ride. I know that’s ridiculous to even say, as if that’s a realistic option. But, if at all possible, grab a book, watch a movie, and put your mind at ease.
And try to do the same for the kids. Bring activity books, playdough, travel games, and snacks to keep the kids calm, cool, and collected.
When you arrive, it’s vacay mode. Have fun, take pictures, and create lasting memories your kids will never forget.