Summer is a great time to start planning your family getaways. Whether you are taking a day trip or an extended vacation, here are 5 essential tips for healthy and happy travel:
- Plan ahead. Summer seems to inspire spontaneity, but when you are traveling with kids being prepared is what will keep you calm – and sane! Get your directions and travel plans in order, organize any identification or documentation you need, plan your rest stops or layovers, and determine the best travel time for your kids. If your children travel well with games, books, and other toys to keep them going, pack up favorites as well as some new surprises for your trip. If they don’t travel well, consider hitting the road at naptime or bedtime and let them sleep through a portion of the trip. Be sure to bring along extra diapers or a change of clothes – funny things happen along the way and a clean set of clothes may just come in handy.
- Keep it healthy. Whether on the road or in the air, travel food is notorious for being unhealthy. Caffeine and alcohol are dehydrating, junk food is ever present, and convenience foods may lead to behavioral reactions among kids, for example irritability after too much sugar. Pack a variety of finger foods and snacks that give your kids healthy options. Granola bars, nuts, fruit roll ups, fresh fruit, healthy muffins, and whole grain snacks will keep the little ones busy and satiated. If you need to stop, check out resources such as Healthy Highways for a print guide to healthy travel options or phone apps including VegOut, for vegetarian diners, Locavore to see what’s fresh and in season where you are, or GlutenLess Dining for those with gluten intolerance. Also be sure to bring plenty of fresh water for the trip to keep hydrated.
- Pack your remedies. Holistic and integrative medicine embraces a wide range of healing modalities. Whatever your holistic passion, pack your go-to health aids for your trip. Homeopathic remedies such as Coccolus Indicus and Tabacum are great for motion sickness, as are the essential oils of peppermint and ginger. Bring along natural treatments for allergies, bug bites, and nausea, including the bioflavonoid Quercetin to help with seasonal allergens, lavender oil for bites, and cloves, clove oil, or activated charcoal for stomach ailments. Bach’s Rescue Remedy, a flower essence remedy, is another great tool for the anxiety and stress of travel, including for pets! You might also consider packing your own non-toxic soaps and shampoos for the road to keep your travel time healthy.
- Rest. You’re on vacation, so rest should be a natural part of your trip. But for so many families, we over plan activities and excursions and wind up more tired than when we started. Build downtime into your trip and be sure to get plenty of sleep before you head out. Traveling with children can be especially stressful and making sure that you – and the kids – are well rested will make for a much calmer and more pleasant trip! If you have problems sleeping away from home, pack your comforts and sleep aids. Bring a white noise machine to block out unfamiliar sounds, get black out curtains, and even pack your favorite pillow for a more restful trip.
- Bring the right attitude. Trips are an opportunity to get away, reconnect with your loved ones, and enjoy a new environment. Pack your patience and be positive. Your camping trip may meet some rain, your favorite ride might be closed for repair, and the kids may not love the park or show you surprised them with. Take the stresses and mishaps in stride and enjoy the moments together. Be flexible and try to stay in the moment. Put away your phones and electronic devices, connect with nature, and enjoy the ride!