How to Travel With Kids Without Losing Your Mind!
That's right. It IS possible to enjoy a vacation with small children and not lose your mind.
At least, that's according to our friends at Ecological Marine Adventures.
As parents of two young and energetic boys, Taylor and Ling Maready know a thing or two about traveling with kids! In fact, Taylor and Ling bring their kids on all sorts of adventures, both locally and abroad to exotic locales like Nicaragua.
Today you can read their absolute BEST advice about how to make traveling with kids less painful and more magical, no matter where you are. Even at home!
1. Find the magic.
You see, to me, magic is bioluminescent algae on a tropical bay, or views from mountaintops overlooking a vast sea, or perhaps most magical of all, underwater with the parrotfish and triggerfish checking the coral growth on the reef.
I think our kids picked up their understanding of magic from us; however, regardless of what we like to do as parents, kids always have their own opinions on what they want to do as well.
Kids might think there is magic in the tiniest seashell or in a super drippy ice cream cone. Find out what magic means to them... and add in a little of your own.
2. Let the kids help lead the activities.
My wife does an incredible job at listening to our kids and understanding exactly what activities they would like to do. My boys are full of energy. I know all kids have a lot of energy, but my boys definitely exceed the average energy amount.
So, when going on vacation we like to plan activities and things to get them involved in what's around them. They are happier when given some power over their experience, even if it's something as simple as which bucket to use for the sandcastle.
3. Get outside & limit screen time.
The best activities are outdoors. Whether that's a trip to the aquarium or paddleboarding in the ICW, it's best to try and get them away from the iPads and phones and out into their surroundings. I mean, just think of Topsail Island.
There is so much to explore here, that even I, as a local, feel like I've barely scratched the surface of what's around me.
Have you been to the south end of Topsail Island and walked around the bend?
Have you paddled over to a spoil island and caught fiddler crabs?
Have you been snorkeling on a clear day with schools of damselfish weaving in and out of purple sea urchins?
4. Participate, get dirty, and test your limits.
Topsail Island is a haven for outdoor adventure.
With that being said, planning activities and things to do as a family is the easy part, but getting out there with them and getting wet, dirty, and tired is a little more challenging.
I've learned though, that when I get out there and play with the kids (and act like a kid myself), both of our vacation experiences are better.
We tend to think of vacations as relaxing, but my best vacations have been the ones where I was tired from running around with the kids. That's where we make the most memories.
5. Embrace the good AND the bad parts of travel.
Embrace the sandy towels, sunburned backs, and chapped lips.
That's all part of the experience. Our family has been fortunate to travel a ton in the last 10 years.
From long trips in cars, busses, trains, and airplanes, we've experienced it all. We've been horseback riding through savannas, ridden motorcycles in the jungle, and snorkeled crystal clear tide pools.
We have had sick kids, sad kids, and kids that wanted to jump out of their seats because of a 5 hour bus ride. We've had good days, bad days, and days I will never forget.
That is what traveling is about. The good and the bad.
My family has talked about the hard times of traveling as much as we have talked about the fun times. These are memories. By no means are we perfect travelers, especially with kids. But we've had some pretty magical experiences on nearly every vacation we've taken.
Learn More →
Make sure to read Ward Realty's previous blog post, titled "Learn & Play With Ecological Marine Adventures".
If you are visiting Topsail Island, check them out. They offer all sorts of camps, classes and educational experiences.
Here is some additional advice from Ward Realty:
- Pack properly. When you are prepared for anything, it will reduce your stress and make your vacation go more smoothly. Bring, Buy, or Borrow? How to Pack for Your Next Beach Vacation
- Travel smart. The car trip down to Topsail Island can set the tone for the entire trip! Help make everyone comfortable and the time will fly, setting you up for success. The Best Products, Apps, Games and Activities For a Road Trip With Kids
- Meal plan. Before you arrive, think about what meals you would like to cook, which ones you would like to have out in town, and what you need to bring from home. Kids eat constantly! Take this worry off your list.
- Prepare for any emergency. Kids and chaos can sometimes go hand in hand. Read this blog for everything you need to know if you have an emergency. Help! What To Do When Something Goes Wrong on Vacation