Spring Break with Kids: How to Plan Like a Pro
Spring break can be SO fun. No matter your destination, spring break is a great time to get away, enjoy some sunshine, break out of your routine, and knock out those winter cobwebs.
But, it’s not always fun, right? Isn’t there often a little problem that turns into a big problem, and that big problem evolves into a ruined trip? Especially when doing spring break with kids, it is like a disaster waiting to happen. Everyone gets cranky and blames each other for their crankiness, and you’ve got (what I like to call) a stress avalanche on your hands.
Below are several examples of small problems that I’ve encountered on spring break trips with my own kids that could have turned into big problems. Luckily, I’ve got a tip for each one, so you can go into your spring break trip knowing you have done everything you can to ensure it is successful, safe, and fun!
5 common problems with doing spring break with kids (and how to prevent them)
1. The family’s passports are expired
Have you ever booked a trip that will require your passport, and realized too late that it expires too close to your travel date to be allowed? And you have to scramble to gather all the paperwork and expedite a new one and pray that it will arrive in time? All of that planning and money that have gone into your trip may all be a waste because you can’t leave the country. You think to yourself, “If only I had put a little time into finding my passport weeks ago and checking the expiration date, we wouldn’t be in this situation right now!”
PRO TIP: Now’s that time! Stop reading this blog, and go find your passport. If you aren’t home right now, put a reminder in your calendar to do it tonight. Once you find it, check the expiration date for your own and everyone’s in your family and put an appointment in your calendar for when you need to renew it. Then, create a safe home for your passport and leave it there until you’re ready to pack.
2. You can’t find that essential item you know you packed
You packed your child’s inhaler...you KNOW you did, but in the middle of a minor attack, you can’t remember where it could possibly be, and suddenly your bags are emptied, and everything is all over your hotel room. Luckily you find the inhaler just in time. But, your kid is stressed, you feel terrible, and now your hotel room is a disaster.
PRO TIP: Packing cubes! Listen, friend, these things are amazing and I am not getting paid to say this. Packing cubes give everything their own home. You can tape a list to the inside of each cube so you know what’s in there. AND so you know what goes BACK in there after you’ve used it.
BONUS TIP: Pack only the essentials. If you bring along too much stuff, it will be harder to find anything, even with packing cubes.
3. The kids are whining on the plane
Oh friend. Haven’t we all been there? Kids are whining and fighting and so cranky on the plane on the way to your beautiful spring break destination?They are hungry, frustrated, bored, etc. and you’ve got nothing to combat it. Now, of course, sometimes they just need to endure some hunger, dissatisfaction, and boredom in life. True. But, maybe not while they’re so close to you for the next few hours. You know the kids would be fine if they had a snack, favorite stuffed animal or activity...but all of these things are in your checked luggage.
PRO TIP: Make a list of the things your kids would enjoy on the plane, and put them into your carry on. I love to surprise my kids with some small treat or toy they’ve never seen before. It seems to buy me more time than putting in toys they play with every day. And if you have small kids, wrapping those gifts (even if it’s just in newspaper) can add another level of excitement.
4. The kids are fighting over the covers in their shared bed.
My kids have their own rooms in our house. But when we go on vacation, we often get a hotel room with two beds, requiring them to not only share a room with everyone, but also a bed with their annoying sibling.
PRO TIP: I bring along a bumper, like this one. I put it in the middle of their bed (see photo below) so they each have their own space. It works like a charm to define their space and keep them off each other.
You go to the pool and have a wonderful time. The kids stuff their swimsuits in a bag and you return to the hotel room. Off you go to dinner, a show, and you return home late. So, you forget about that bag of wet stuff. The next day, the kids want to swim again and all you have are sopping wet swimsuits that smell a little musty. They whine and complain while putting them on, and you are annoyed/stressed/ready to throw in the towel, so to speak.
As soon as you return to the hotel room, empty that bag and hang it all on your shower rod in your bathroom. Make it a habit. Nothing’s worse than putting on a wet swimsuit (well, ok maybe a few things are worse...but you know what I mean).
You’ve got to plan ahead
If I were to summarize my tips above, it would be this small: plan ahead.
Do as much planning ahead of time as you can, so when the spring break trip with kids comes, you know exactly where everything is, you can find it immediately, and everyone can enjoy a safe, happy and fun spring break trip!
I hope these tips were helpful! Have a wonderful, safe, happy spring break trip, no matter your destination!
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