Airport security. Traffic. Hungry children. Bored children. Hungry and bored spouse. General all around stupidity and rudeness. All these factors can create a miserable trip, whether flying or driving. Fortunately, you can prevent much of this type of frustration and not only enjoy traveling but look forward to it almost just as much as the actual vacation itself.

Tips for Enjoying Travel Time

After many years of dreading travel time combined with deliberately Planning for a Family Vacation, travel time is now a positive contribution to my entire trip experience. It only happens, though, when I lay a solid foundation before leaving by doing the following.

  1. Take snacks and activities. Hunger and boredom usually lead to poor choices, and I’m not just talking about behavior of children. Carry-on bags should hold everyone’s favorite snacks as well as activities for those who don’t sleep while traveling (like me… my husband can sleep anywhere, anytime.) Don’t be that person whose kids are unruly on the airplane simple because they are bored and hungry. For car travel, keep snacks within arm’s reach and have lots of activities, perhaps even planning them out for every state entered or miles driven.
  2. Keep hydrated. I almost put this with #1 but really felt like staying hydrated needed emphasis all its own. Ask my kids, who are now grown, “What’s the first thing you do if you have a headache or start feeling off or grumpy all of a sudden?” They’ll tell you, “Drink water.” Staying hydrated prevents a whole host of uncomfortable symptoms and just makes everyone much more pleasant. When traveling, never be without water nearby to sip from regularly.
  3. Keep other travelers in mind. This especially comes into play with airplane travel. People are rude and do stupid things (not you, of course) like having too big or too many carry-ons and interfering with your personal bubble at times. Two words will make airplane travel bearable and, dare I say, even pleasant. Here they are: patience and flexibility.
  4. Utilize electronics but don’t depend on them. We take our phones with us, of course, and have movies downloaded in case the plane doesn’t offer them. However, we try not to use them constantly. Believe it or not, you can still buy travel games, books with fun questions, and puzzle books that can take up a lot of travel time. While electronics bring a much-needed break on especially long trips, they don’t have to be the biggest percentage of your entertainment. There are many other enjoyable activities to pass the time.
  5. Focus on bonding. When our focus for travel switched from getting from point A to point B to connecting as a couple and as a family, traveling became enjoyable. This is why we keep electronics to a minimum and choose travel activities we can do together. I love to surprise those I’m traveling with by bringing their favorite snacks and by learning about the places we’re visiting before we get there. Finding ways to bond with those you’re traveling with will help you look forward to and truly enjoy every second you are together.

Employing the above tips made travelling fun for me and my family. Because we focused on bonding and connecting with each other, travelling as a family became a part of the vacation itself and not just a means to an end. Now that my boys are both grown and married, much of my travel is with just me and my husband. Fortunately, the same tips still apply. Not only that, but my boys are now hinting at wanting to travel together still as a family.