Do you secretly wish you had the chance to travel as you used to before having children?
The fact that now you have kids doesn’t mean you can’t do it.
Some people may think it’s not possible to have a relaxing vacation with kids, but if you plan in advance and consider some helpful creative ideas, traveling with your children can become the best experience in your life.
Vacationing with your kids can be a good way to pause the daily routine and get to appreciate each other more.
However, it’s important to consider that during the trip there will be some moments of impatience, tears, drama, and unfulfilled expectations. But don’t let that disappoints you and keeps you from enjoying the adventure of a lifetime.
These tactics can help you make your trip easier for you and your kids.
Tips for road trip with older kids:
Books on CD. You can listen to them for some minutes, and make pauses to discuss and comment.
Surprises. Stop along the road, or a surprise them with a road game to play.
Goodie bag. Load up a bag with different snack options, and some new toys from the dollar store.
Pack your meals. You don’t need to spend extra money on restaurants. Pack a loaf of bread and some PB&J, or cheese slices, so you have the excuse to stop and make the sandwiches.
Keep the drinks down to a minimum. Keep your kids hydrated, but don’t let them drink too much liquid so you don’t have to stop every 30 minutes.
Be flexible. Sometimes, you may need to change your plans and skip a planned stop or add another one. Most of the best memories are made when you go with the flow. Having a plan is important, but keep it adjustable.
Bring plastic bagsand some ‘clean up’ supplies. You will need them for trash, regular spills, or just in case someone gets sick.
Bring baby wipes. Even if you don’t have a baby, they always useful.
Road tripping with an infant:
Have an extra set of the necessities. Make sure you have the diaper bag stocked with extra clothing, extra food, extra pacifiers, and extra patience. Since your little one will be out of their routine, you can expect them to be a little fussy and “needy”.
Don’t plan too much. Limit every outdoor activity to a few hours so your baby isn’t out there too long. Plan road trips for closer destinations, and take extra time for stops so you can take care of your little one’s needs.
Bring snacks for you. It’s not easy to get the nutrition you need while traveling with your little one. Pack some high protein snacks and power yourself.
Don’t over pack. Leave most of the baby gear at home and just be sure to have what you need to get your destination. You can buy diapers and wipes when you get there.
Plan for naps. Bring a board game, a deck of cards, or a good book to hang out in the hotel room while your little one takes a nap. Try to keep the nap routine the same.
Bring a white noise machine. Start using one at home when it’s time to sleep so your baby gets used to it. The noise will help your little one get asleep even in an unfamiliar place.
Considering all these tips, you should be ready to get out with your little ones and have the best vacation ever.
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Maryann and Anthony Duva make their display each year as a gift to their neighbors in Biscayne Park. Courtesy of the Duva family
Maryann and Anthony Duva spend weeks each year assembling a holiday lights display for children in their Biscayne Park neighborhood.
They don’t have children of their own, but they’ve been adorning their home with ropes of light and inflatable Santas and Christmas trees for 10 years now at 11625 NE 8th Ave., attracting neighbors and even people from outside their small village to come take pictures and enjoy the display.
The San Martin home
For more than 30 years now, Carlos San Martin has found inspiration for his Christmas displays from ornaments and cute designs on wrapping paper.
The 73-year-old uses his creativity and carpentry skills to build some of his own pieces for the presentation, including an igloo with penguins around it and a family of snow people standing on the roof.
It takes about three weeks for him, his wife and his daughter to arrange the lights, which are on from 6:30 to 10 each night at 1930 SW 57th Place near the city of West Miami.
Enchanted Place of North Miami
Neighbors living on 137th Terrace east of Northeast 16th Avenue in North Miami pitch in to light up their street during the holidays.
Hundreds of thousands of lights crawl up tree trunks and onto the branches, creating a colorful, bright canopy hanging over the road.
The Caine home
Nick Caine has turned his family home’s extravagant display, with streams of lights and several inflatables, into philanthropy.
It started with his home at 1880 NE 181st St. Now, the 19-year-old got the whole block decorated, and he raises money for the Make-A-Wish-Foundation. Every night until Jan. 1, the lights shine bright, and he sells popcorn, mini-doughnuts and funnel cakes from 6 until 10:30 p.m.
The Upshaw home
Logan, the elf on the Upshaw family’s shelf, moves around the bright arrangement of Christmas trees, snow people and candy canes that light up the front yard at 14205 SW 156th Terr. in Southwest Miami-Dade
“He moves around the display every few nights to keep watch for good girls and boys,” Michelle Upshaw said.
The Alduncin home
About 50,000 lights adorn the Alduncin household during the holidays — all put in place by 73-year-old Angel Alduncin.
He has spent a few months setting up his display at 9241 SW 70 St., which includes a 10-foot Santa robot, a Christmas village with a train going around it and several lighted trees.
A new addition this year: Santa in a large helicopter with moving propellers — all done in lights.
In the atrium near Bloomingdale’s, an oversized stack of gifts, teddy bears and candy canes climb nearly three stories high in a large display at Santa’s Village.
The large display, which features a light and sound show every hour, was designed by Venue Arts’ Stephen Stefanou. The designer has created displays for Rockefeller Center in New York, the Bellagio in Las Vegas, and the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
For those dreaming of a white Christmas, the Dolphin Mall has snow flurries at its winter wonderland at Ramblas Plaza each night at 7 p.m.
Thursday through Sunday, more snow falls at 9 p.m. The nightly event continues until Jan. 3. There will be no snow Dec. 24-25, Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.