Traveling with Less Stress

Vacations are supposed to be relaxing, right? So why do so many of us end up just as tense and harried and stressed on our vacations as we are at work? Traveling, especially with kids, means leaving behind the control, order, and comforting routines of home.

If you’re planning to skip town for spring break, make use of these tips to reduce stress and actually enjoy your vacation.

Make Kits for Yourself
You know the feeling. You’re in the security line at the airport, you reach into your purse for your wallet, and your heart drops into your feet. Where is it!? Okay, turns out it was in your coat pocket, where you stuffed it during the rush to leave the house. But who wants to start their vacation with a panic attack at check-in?

Keep your cool and always be prepared by packing essential items together in an easy-to-access kit to make sure the things you need most are right at your fingertips. Some suggestions:

At the airport – boarding passes, IDs/Passports, wallet, headphones, gum, snacks, book/magazine

In the great outdoors – hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, water, first aid kit, snacks

Avoid Peak Travel Times When Possible
Spring break can be tough with only one week to work with, but consider leaving a day later than everyone else, or returning a day sooner. Not only will it help you avoid some of the crowds during the least-fun part of your trip, it’ll give you an extra buffer between real life and your vacation. Or, if your dates are locked in, think about getting an earlier or later-than-usual start. If you know everyone will be wide awake and excited by 6am on travel day, prep some breakfast sandwiches the night before and get on the road. If you can count on your little ones to fall asleep in the car, consider leaving after dinner and arriving at your hotel late, waking up ready to start your vacation on day one!

Plan Ahead
Nothing escalates a bad situation faster than needing something and having no clue where to get it. Do some research on your route and destination ahead of time to make sure you’re fully prepared to prevent a minor crisis from turning into a major meltdown. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure you know what activities and attractions require you to buy tickets ahead of time.
  • Check to make sure nothing on your itinerary will be closed or inaccessible during your visit.
  • Know where the gas stations and rest stops are along your driving routes.
  • Know where the nearest bank, drugstore, and emergency room are to your hotel.
  • Look ahead to make sure there are good dining options near activities happening around meal times.
  • Call your hotel to find out what amenities are available – do they provide breakfast, laundry services, help with booking excursions?


Make an Itinerary
Spontaneity works great if you’re traveling adults-only. But if you’ve got little ones in tow having a plan is definitely the way to go. As you put together your itinerary each day, think about ways to maximize everyone’s energy and avoid blood sugar crashes and other little disasters.

  • Schedule activities and attractions that are close to each other for the same day to minimize time spent traveling around.
  • Block out more time for each activity than you think you need so you don’t feel rushed.
  • Don’t over-book your days; you’re supposed to be having fun, not running yourself ragged.
  • Schedule meal times for a little earlier or a little later than peak times to avoid long waits.
  • Set aside time to do nothing but rest; nap time isn’t just for kids!


Stop and Enjoy the Moment
Every so often, stop and take a moment to really be present in the moment and enjoy the experience. It can be easy to get wrapped up in try to keep to a schedule or create the best experience or document every little thing. Remind yourself to pause and actually take it all in.