Remember the days when you were single, searching for your soul mate and daydreaming about what your family would be like? Well, welcome to the good life, where being a mom means taking care of all of your crew’s needs–and some of their wants. Odds are either you, or your significant other, will think it’s a great idea to take a group vacation this season. Moreover, you want the jaunt to run with more fluidity than Flo-Jo in the 100 meter at the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, South Korea. Don’t fret. It is possible. According to Audrey Griffin MAEd, founder of the parenting site “Remove Your Cape,” executing carefree trips with the clan requires one thing: an organized plan. “I have four kids, ages 12, 9, 8 and 6. Traveling was not easy,” she admits. “I’ve learned that I don’t have to be perfect, but management is important.” That’s why this mom-on-the-go sings the praises of strategy when her team is hitting the road. “I get complimented when we travel because my kids don’t make a huge deal,” she adds. They don’t, but Griffin does. Over the years the busy wife and mother learned that trips went more smoothly when she did her sweating before the family was anywhere near the beach–and you can do the same. Here are four simple traveling tips the parenting expert swears by: Create a to-do list.
Write down what needs to be done for the trip (i.e. getting passports or securing tickets for a show) and check things off as they are done. It’s also helpful to give yourself deadlines to avoid a last minute rush–which usually causes stress and forgetfulness. Have an itinerary.
Hit the ground running by researching the tourist sites you’d like to see, where you’d like to dine and what you’d like to experience before you arrive. You can consult the hotel concierge via telephone for suggestions. Prep the kiddies.
Think of everything, from packing their favorite snacks, gadgets and toys for the trip, to strategically seating the children on the plane, train or bus to minimize boredom and arguments. Schedule “soul-mating” time.
Find a good babysitter and provide him or her with detailed information about the kids, such as food preferences or favorite games and movies, plus practical info like food allergies and insurance cards in case of an emergency. This leaves your time–and conscious–free to sneak away for a bit of one-on-one time with your mate. Hey, it’s your vacation, too. Read more: