Family vacations are always a great time for family bonding and exploring new places. With some careful planning, the trip can be packed full of fun from the minute you lock the front door to the minute you arrive back home, exhausted and ready to share stories of your adventures with friends and family.
Traveling with children does require careful planning, but taking a little extra time to plan ahead will make your time spent together that much more rewarding. Take these ideas into consideration as you organize your family trip.
* Traveling organization – If you're on a road trip this spring or summer, keeping track of all the snacks, games and travel necessities isn't easy. Put a few household items to use, and you'll be able to keep everything where it belongs, instead of having it rolling around under the seats. For example, a shoe organizer hung over the back of the front seats helps to keep all children's toys and activities within reach. And a divided cardboard drink container is an excellent storage kit for needed items like snacks, tissues, hand wipes, etc.
For airline travels, the mantra "less is more" comes into play. Have each child pack one carry-on, such as a metal lunchbox or a backpack, with all their traveling necessities. Crayons and coloring books, as well as small game books like crossword puzzles or word searches are recommended.
* Create "snacktivities" – Package the snacks you'll be eating on-the-go with activities to keep the kids busy. For example, a new coloring book with a juice box and a snack will help everyone forget they're on a long trip. Pack satisfying snacks such as Lance Xtra Fulls Toasty and ToastChee sandwich crackers, which are made with real peanut butter and deliver up to 6 grams of protein per serving.
* Make the hours work for you – If you have the ability, schedule your travel time during bedtime or nap time. Plan frequent breaks where everyone can get out of the car and run around, releasing pent up energy. Try to avoid driving during rush hour traffic, which would add additional stresses to everyone in the vehicle. For airplane travel, avoid leaving on peak travel days if you can.
* Get creative with snacks – Mix up the traditional to keep the snacks interesting, which can help make the travel time appear to pass much quicker. Create your own trail mix with protein-packed Lance snacks of salted peanuts, cashews, sunflower seeds and Star Bites. Or give the kids paper plates, sandwich crackers, cheese and fruit make their own "snack creations" in the shapes of animals. Visit www.lance.com for additional snack recipes and snacking ideas.
* Play together – When in doubt good old-fashioned car games such as "I Spy" can provide hours of entertainment for the entire family. While in the car ask kids to look at billboards, road signs, license plates and buildings to find the letters of the alphabet in order. For instance, to find an "A" the child might see Applebee's and say it aloud, then move on to finding the letter B. You can also play counting games with younger children. Count blue vans, find 10 horses, count rest stops or water towers. How many people pass you on the highway? Count those, too. There are endless possibilities.
Family vacations are a lot of fun, and if your trip is well-planned, everyone can return home with great memories and stories to share.