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Family Travel Tips: How to Avoid the Dreaded “Are We There Yet?” with Kids

“Are we there yet?” might just be one of the four most cringe-inducing words in travel today. Uttered innocently by babes in the backseat, car seat, or plane seat, its connotations of impatience, boredom, and general irritability can spell disaster for parents as kids hint that their breaking point isn’t too far off.

Luckily, we’ve got some expert tips from both our team and the psychologist RN and early childhood development expert co-founders of Frankie Dean for you to share with your customers to help keep toddler tempers in check while in transit to the family vacation up on the horizon.

Young girl having a snack

Pack Good Snacks

Did you know that you’re not limited to the expensive concessions at airport stands nor what’s served on the plane? If it’s not liquid, chances are it can fly. Just make sure it’s sealed securely and packed carefully, since the last thing you want to deal with is a crumbly or smushy mess. Try to go reusable if you can—they’re often sturdier, too. For instance, put fresh grapes in a plastic deli soup container or animal (goldfish counts!) crackers in a silicone, stable bottom bag like ZipTop.

Boy on a plane watching a movie

Bring the Busy

Have a game plan for … well, games! Sure, some of the best plane and road trip games are improvised, but if you have a few in mind, that’s all the quicker you can halt disgruntlement in its tracks. Set up a list to play airport and airplane I Spy or bring a new (quiet, please!) toy, coloring book, or activity reserved exclusively for journey time that you can tease beforehand to build up anticipation. Frankie Dean’s Brian and Jenavie Noggle suggest “Googling travel games and having the best ones ready to go.” Keeping the kids occupied will help the time pass much more quickly.

Mother and daughter sitting with their luggage

Build Anticipation

Buying something special that the kids know about but can’t have until go time is certainly one way to get them to look forward to the journey. But there are other most cost-effective ways to ramp up excitement for the travel leg, too! Have a family collaboration on a playlist they can listen to (using child-safe headphones, of course! For their hearing safety and to avoid disrupting other travelers) that you all work on together ahead of time. Look over the amenities, activities, and attractions at their destinations and guide a discussion on what they want to do, see, and in what order. “Whether it’s lunch or a playground, it’s good for them to feel included,” say the Noggles. Plus, getting them ramped up will make the getting there much easier to stomach since the rewards are in full focus.

Mother and daughter meditating

Don’t Forget to Bring Your Own Calm

Natural remedies like ashwagandha can help alleviate stress, vitamin B6 replenishes your energy stores in a healthier way than caffeine, and magnesium may help with your blood pressure and heart rhythm. You also want to get as much sleep as you can the night before departure, the Noggles advise. Why? “Kids are always watching and picking up on our behaviors—especially in stressful situations,” they say. So the less anxious you are, the less anxious the children will be; they’ll pick up on your zen, humor, and sense of adventure and mirror it. That means they’ll be more apt to go along with things and take the journey in stride, if together, you’re looking for the fun in every step.

Spring Break is coming up … have you booked your getaway yet? Read Everything You Need to Know About Planning Your Next Family Vacation and Five Easy Ways to Simplify Family Vacation Planning for more tips! Need destination inspiration, like resorts with included water parks? Plus, discover 10 things you should “Ask a Travel Advisor” right here on TravelBlogue.

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