It’s that time of year again. In the U.S., on the east coast, April is just a big tease. The calendar says it’s spring, but the weather tells us otherwise. We’re all holding our breath until the warmer weather rolls around so our (cabin-fevered) kids can get outside. But, until then, my husband and I have made it a practice to dream/plan/drool over our summer vacation plans to get us through the fog (literally). I know we’re not alone. The thing is, dreaming about summer vacation is always a little bit different with kiddos in the mix. So, in the spirit of hopeful spring-dom and holding out for the summer vacation, I collaborated with the talented Kendra Thornton to provide you with a few tips to ensure that your family vaca is as happy and healthy as possible, whether you’re flying away somewhere tropical or taking a family road trip. It’s working. I think I see a crocus already.
Tips for a Healthy Family Vacation-Kendra Thornton
Staying fit takes effort. At home, I help my family by keeping the kids involved in sports and serving healthy meals and snacks. On family vacation, the same rules apply, but it can be tricky to keep up with a healthy routine. Here are a few tips I use to keep my family healthy and happy when we travel:
1. Drink Water
Drinking enough water is always important. On vacation, a family needs to make double sure they drink enough. Outdoor activities, especially on hot summer days, can cause dehydration, and not drinking enough water can also play a part in heat-related illness. My family always brings along water bottles. If we have a big outing in the sun planned, I often chill the full water bottles so that we have something cold to sip on throughout the day.
2. Use Fitness Amenities
Hotels today are offering more fitness amenities. I always look for a place with a well-equipped gym when booking a family vacation. Some hotels also have running trails for guests and available bike rentals. Pick a hotel that offers fitness amenities your family will use. I did this for an upcoming trip to Orlando. There are so many hotels in Orlando so using sites like Gogobot where you can read user reviews can be really helpful.
3. Plan Active Events
As a family, we plan to be active on vacation. We often enjoy playing sports together. Many vacation spots have places where you can play classic, active games like volleyball, badminton, basketball, tennis or shuffleboard. If you visit a beach, pick up some Nerf items to play with during your stay. You probably won’t do your usual workout during your trip, but you can certainly get your exercise.
4. Eat Carefully
There are always buffets around for a family to enjoy on vacation. Enjoy them with care. I make sure that my plate is half-full of delicious vegetables before loading up with other foods. If you choose to indulge in rich, high-calorie foods, make the next meal a lighter, healthier one. You don’t have to go without to make healthy choices even at restaurants.
As a mom, I work hard to keep my family fit and healthy. These tricks help my family stay healthy and truly enjoy our vacations together. I hope this gives you some ideas to implement on your next vacation.
Family Road Trips 101- Jenny Shannon
Our family looks forward to our yearly summer vacation at the lake, but we know how easily things can go downhill if we’re unprepared. Here are a few tips to ensure your family’s vacation is the happy, healthy and restful get-away it’s intended to be. Traveling with children can be precarious if you let it. Whether traveling in the car, train or plane, we always make “Vacation Bags” for our daughter to open on the way. They could be filled with small activities like crossword puzzles, coloring pages, new crayons (washable, of course) stickers, snacks, a new book, a journal or small box to put keepsakes in from the trip, etc. It’s exciting to open, it keeps them occupied, and it’s less reliance on the electronics synonymous with long trips. I always like to see her face without a screen-glow in the backseat.
If you’re traveling in a car with kids, I always suggest keeping travel time to a three hour maximum. Stop every three hours, get out and stretch, use the bathroom. Do a little research before hand to see if there’s a historical site, museum or amusement park at the three hour mark. If there is none, stop at a rest stop and make the most of it. We always keep a wiffle bat and ball, a soccer ball or some other outdoor activity in the trunk of the car for exactly these rest-stop purposes. Kids need to expend their energy in order for them to rest when you get to your final destination, it gives them benchmarks to check off (only one more rest-stop break before we get there!) without asking when they’re going to get there every three minutes, and it’s good for you, too. Just make allowances for the extra time you’ll need.
Food on the run is rarely nourishing. When we travel, we always bring staple snacks that will sustain us. Fruit such as apples, bananas, avocadoes, oranges and pears require no refrigeration and are a quick and easy fix to satisfy hunger or to supplement nutrition where it might be lacking. Carrot sticks can last fairly long without refrigeration as well. I often make a large batch of these granola bars before a big trip, and they’re always a big hit. (I use dried coconut, dried tart cherries, slivered almonds and mini chocolate chips). A jar of any nut butter goes a long way (we prefer almond or natural peanut) but for those with nut allergies, sunflower seed butter is just as tasty. If you’re traveling by car and have room for a cooler, I always pack yogurt, hummus, sliced veggies and sliced cheese and crackers. This eliminates the need to go out to eat as soon as you reach your vacation destination.
Being on vacation doesn’t mean that I stop caring about my family’s physical health or nourishment. By taking care of a few things before hand, I can ensure maximum vacation enjoyment. Hope you can, too!
Hope these are helpful as we struggle along the next few months to get to summer!