5 Tips for Family Vacation Survival


family vacation

How am I going to survive this vacation?

Why does it seem like going on a “relaxing” family vacation never ends up being relaxing for moms? Between the planning, packing, traveling, child wrangling, feeding, and laundry there never seems to be a moment to breathe.

After 10 years, 4 kids, 1 dog, and too many stressful vacations to count, I have finally started to perfect the fine art of travel with kids.

How to Survive a Family Vacation

I have started to compile an ever-growing list of vacation hacks…

  1. Leave the pets at home. The idea of taking your fur baby on vacation seems so exciting. But the reality is that if your pup is noisy and rambunctious at home, he will be even more so while pinned up in a strange hotel room. Consider using a pet sitter from a site like rover.com and select the perfect person to give Fido a vacation of his own!
  2. Amazon is your friend. You can buy almost anything on Amazon. Order your diapers, formula, sunscreen, toiletries, and non-perishable food items from Amazon or Jet and have them delivered directly to your hotel. Call your resort ahead of time to ensure they accept deliveries. Ask exactly how they would like your package addressed. Be aware that some hotels (Disney resorts, for example) may charge a small fee to hold your package and deliver it upon arrival.
  3. Get a tattoo. A temporary tattoo, that is! Losing a child is everyone’s biggest fear. Temporary phone number tattoos are the perfect solution to give yourself a little peace of mind. The first time I took my littles to Disney World, I put our cell numbers on their upper arms and then taught them how to lift up their sleeves and show the number. Etsy has quite a few to choose from or make some of your own!
  4. Make a custom drawstring bag. One of our worst family habits is throwing everything in existence into the basket of the stroller. It seems like a great idea until it’s time to quickly fold the stroller when the bus or train arrives. A simple drawstring bag sized to your needs can help avoid the dreaded stares of everyone in line waiting to get on the bus, train, or plane. Leave the bag wide open while pushing around your loot. When it’s time to fold the stroller down, just grab the drawstrings, close the bag and throw it on your shoulders.
  5. Pack by the day, not by person. With a family of 6, packing for a week-long vacation is no small feat. Organizing by days will help keep clothes in order when it’s time to start rummaging through the luggage. Stack all Day 1 clothes together (even better, fold pants, socks, and undies into the shirt for each person so that it comes out in one nice little package). An additional tip is to color coordinate your family’s clothes. Everyone will look great in all the vacation photos and laundry will be a breeze with all the clothes pre-sorted.

As the list grows and vacations change, I pick and choose which hacks work best for each situation.

What are some of your go-to hacks to make sure you have a relaxing family vacation?

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Sarah stopped through Des Moines while moving from NYC en route to Chicago. She quickly met the love of her life and, after a marriage proposal in a hot air balloon over the bridges of Madison County, ended up planting roots in Iowa! Now a mama to four amazing kiddos ages 9, 8, 6 and 1, she spends most of her time running to doctor appointments, choir rehearsals and swimming lessons. When not on official mom duty, Sarah can be found teaching English online, directing a youth show choir or teaching private music lessons. She strives to always make a difference while keeping a smile on her face and a mocha in her hand.


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