Last week, I traveled to Aruba to celebrate my mom’s seventieth birthday- with ten children (four months to ten years old) and nine adults! Sounds like a circus, right? It wasn’t. It was a blast, and I even managed to relax. Here are my top three tips for actually chilling out while on vacation with your children.
Be prepared. I did a ton of front-end loading before we left. It was a lot of effort and slightly stressful, but so worth it. I packed our favorite travel art supplies (linked below), snacks and toys in easily accessible pouches for the airplane, restaurants, and pool side. When were in the airport and the kids got antsy? Boom. Out came my Bumkins Travel pouch with Magnetic blocks. When my girls needed some quiet time and I didn’t want to leave the pool? Out came my pouch filled with watercolor paper and Ooly travel watercolor kit. Masterpieces were made and I didn’t need to turn away from my book and my cocktail. Have you ever taken ten children to a sit down meal? Try giving them each their own stickers, mini notebook and crayons. The adults actually had a chance to linger over the meal. All of the pre-trip prep was worth it.
Keep things as low key as possible. We stayed in our bathing suits from wake-up to pre-bedtime baths on the majority of nights. Rather than pull the kids away from the fun and wrangle everyone into dress-up clothes in time for a dinner reservation, we opted to chill poolside and eat dinner picnic style. We were still able to try the local cuisine by taking food out from the local eateries. We spread the kids out on towels and all ate dinner without worrying about noise that ten children inevitably create.
Remember your WHY. Why did you plan this trip in the first place? To relax, to tour? Shop? When we travel with our kids, my husband and I like to explore the local scenery, and learn about the culture of where we are. Partway through this trip, I started to feel guilty for spending all of our time in the resort. When we suggested an afternoon tour of the island, we were met with a lot of resistance from our typically very adventurous children. They wanted to stay at the beach with their cousins and PLAY. We followed their lead on this one, and I am so glad we did. They already understood WHY we went to Aruba. We went to celebrate Grammie’s 70th birthday and spend time with our family. We didn’t go to Aruba to adventure and explore. Once I remembered our why, I was able to settle back into by beach chair happily.
I've linked our favorite travel products below. Click the picture and it will take you to the link (aff).
Do you have any travel plans this summer? I would love to hear about them!