“In America there are two classes of travel: first class, and with children.” –Robert Benchley
When traveling, expect the unexpected. Whether it’s a last-minute flight delay or forgetting to pack your toothbrush, something is sure to catch you by surprise. The potential for mishaps only increases when traveling with kids.
Fortunately, you can avoid a lot of issues just by planning ahead. RiverPointe Napa Valley has welcomed thousands of families from around the world, and we’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes to travel with children. Here are our best tips, organized by age group.
Babies and Toddlers
Book accommodations that include a kitchen. Nothing’s worse than trying to sterilize a bottle in a hotel room. Feeding time will be much simpler if you have a kitchen or kitchenette, especially one with a full-size refrigerator.
Bring your stroller. Yes, strollers are a huge pain to transport. But you’ll be grateful you have it when you’re walking around town or need somewhere for Junior to nap on the fly. Just make sure to check with your airline about their gate check policies in advance.
Don’t stress about schedules. Even with the best planning, chances are your child’s schedule is going to get thrown off at least a little. Do what you can to keep a routine, but don’t stress too much—your tension will likely transfer to your child.
Mix things up. Give yourself and your kids a break from the daily routine. Switch up seating arrangements in the car, stay up late watching movies together, and give your kids other treats and privileges they wouldn’t normally get at home.
Keep your devices charged. iPads are a great distraction, especially during flights and car rides. Double check that you packed your chargers before you leave home, and make sure to plug in each night before you go to bed.
Encourage them to keep a travel journal. Buy or make a blank journal, and ask your children to spend 20 minutes each day drawing or writing about what they experienced. You can also bring a glue stick to add postcards, ticket stubs, and other small mementos to the pages.
Tweens and Teens
Give them room. Let’s face it: no teen wants to be stuck in a tiny hotel room with their parents and siblings for a whole week. Keep everyone in good spirits by booking a timeshare rental unit like the ones at RiverPointe Napa Valley. It will feel more like home, and everyone will have plenty of space to call their own.
Give them choice. Ask for your teens’ input when planning your travel itinerary. Your teen will feel a greater sense of ownership, and they’ll be more likely to willingly participate in the other activities you have planned.
Listen. Vacations are a great time to catch up with your teen. Ask thoughtful, open-ended questions, and don’t be too quick to respond or give advice. Listening is an easy way to show your teen that you care about them.
Pack a first aid kit. You never know what’s going to happen. Instead of scrambling to find a drugstore on the go, pack a small first aid kit or buy one of the pre-stocked kits from your pharmacy.
Always have snacks and water. Keep whining to a minimum and save a few dollars in the process by carrying your own snacks and water bottles. Granola bars, jerky, and dried fruit are all excellent options.
Check TSA regulations in advance. TSA regulations are continually changing, especially regarding security checkpoints. Research the regulations before you pack, and brief your kids on what to expect to ensure a smooth airport experience.
Traveling with kids can be a challenge. But it’s also a wonderful opportunity to build memories that you will cherish for years to come. For help planning your Napa Valley family vacation and activity ideas for any age, contact us today at (808) 826-6522.