Spring has finally sprung, and summer is almost here. Can’t you just feel the hot sand already!

If you’ve been planning a summer getaway with the whole family, we have a few tips to help make your summer vacation memories happy and stress-free.

Remember that little bodies run out of energy quickly.

Vacations are filled with schedule changes, diet changes, temperature changes, sleep changes… you name it. Adults are hard enough to keep happy when meals and bedtimes are hopelessly confused, but little bodies suffer much more quickly from the adjustments that come with family vacations.

Plan “fun-size” fun

Besides remembering to pack teddy, sunblock, and waterproof footwear, planning ahead to keep smiles on the faces of your little ones is sure to add a few smiles to your own face as well.

  1. Keep it simple: Plan your route carefully if you are driving, and place small breaks along the way that will give little limbs a stretch and bickering siblings a chance to switch seats. Even a 10 minute stretch at a rest stop can do wonders.
  2. Skip the traffic: If possible, travel a day later or earlier than everyone else in the neighborhood. Sitting in an idle car on a packed freeway is never fun.
  3. Pack snacks: Remember that growing bodies do, literally, run out of fuel much more quickly than adults, and hungry children are not usually happy. Pack snacks that are special and still taste good warm. Trail mix, pretzels, and granola bars are classic road trip snacks. But vacations don’t come along every day, so live a little! Treat your kids with a special snack you don’t normally buy.
  4. Bring out new, fun things to do little by little: Pack enough simple, inexpensive activities so that something new can come out of a goodie bag at least every hour or so. Here are some ideas:
    • dry erase markers for writing on car windows
    • coloring books for when the windows are covered
    • a favorite movie
    • brand new picture or story books
    • stencil kits
    • mini etch-a-sketches
    • puzzles
    • sing along songs downloaded and ready to play on the car sound system
    • old digital cameras for picture taking contests, or disposable cameras

Car surprises don’t need to be expensive, just a little something to provide an hour’s worth of new fun. (Dollar Stores work great.) When all else fails, play the Alphabet Game!

Enjoy the Memories

Adding just a few details to the vacation planning process can make all the difference between hearing “are we there yet” and “aww, are we there already” and can leave warm memories in your heart long after the summer sun is gone.