How to avoid a family vacation from hell

Written by Darla Noble

Pre-trip planning
Make a list of everything you need to pack. Pack (using your list) three days prior to leaving. This will allow you to make sure you have everything you need, purchase travel-sized toiletries and evaluate your choices. Are you over-packing? Under-packing?
Get cash
Having at least some cash for vacation purchases such as snacks, souvenirs and tips is essential. It’s also a good idea to divide the cash between the adults so that if one person looses their purse or wallet, not all is lost.
Remember your medication
Make sure you won’t run out of prescription medications while away. If you will, speak with your doctor and/or pharmacist so they can help you. Don’t forget to take motion sickness medications for everyone. Dosages for small children will differ than for those of adults so administer carefully. And since most cruises will also involve a flight to the ship’s dock, make sure you have gum and eardrops for everyone and pacifiers for babies (the sucking motion helps).
Have a travel emergency kit in your car
This includes everything you need to change a flat tire, phone numbers for emergency road-side services, a fully charged cell phone, a flashlight, water and coats or blankets if the weather is cold.
Travel smart in regards to the weather.
Don’t cruise during hurricane season. Watch the weather in regards to snow and ice when traveling by car or plane. Try your best to plan accordingly. It won’t always be possible (especially during the holidays), but just be prepared by having supplies in your possession for waiting it out if there’s a chance long layovers could happen to you.
When travelling by cruise
While many cruise lines offer special children’s activities, proceed with caution. Allow your children to participate only after you feel comfortable with the staffing and only if there are stringent check-in and check-out procedures. If taking a cruise, consider getting cruise insurance. You may think it a waste of money when booking, but if something goes wrong it will be the best money you’ve ever spent.
Don’t leave lodging to chance.
Make reservations ahead of time. This is something you may want to consider even if you’re going to visit family. Staying with family or friends for longer periods of time (more than 2 or 3 days) can be stressful for everyone. Choosing alternative lodging may be better if: 1.Older relatives don’t have child-proof houses 2.The house has dogs or cats your family members are allergic to 3.There is tension between anyone involved 4.Your lifestyles are considerably different (night owls vs. early risers, chatty vs. quiet…) 5.You wish to spend time with just your family (sightseeing, shopping, etc.)
Traveling by air
1.Know the rules of the airline you are traveling with and follow them. Officials won’t hesitate to hold up one family member and let the others pass if your carry-on is ill-sized, you have something you shouldn’t in your bag, etc. 2.If traveling with small children, have what you need to keep them happy and quiet within reach. There’s nothing more annoying than to be a passenger on a plane with unruly children.
Travelling by air
3.Take cash-at least a fair amount. But don’t keep it all in one place. Many ATM machines are so over-used that they can fail to read cards at any given moment. Many of these machines are also victimized with readers attached by scammers who will use the collected information to steal your identity. 4.If you miss your flight, remain calm, go to the ticket desk and follow their instructions. Calm-that’s the key word. Your children will feed off of your attitude. 5.Lost baggage? That’s all too common, so don’t think it can’t happen to you. Be prepared. You may be able to wear the same clothes for a couple of days, but your 2 year old can’t. Take some extra clothes in your carry-on for your baby or toddler.
And finally
When traveling, consider taking shorter trips rather than longer ones. Being away from home can be traumatic to a child-even if they’re having fun. Limit trips to no more than 5 nights away from home. By doing so, you’ll cut the amount of luggage you need, you’ll save money and you will all have a much better time because no one will get too tired and worn out.


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