How to Rock your Vacation with Kids – Without Wanting to Pull Your Hair Out

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With spring here and summer quickly approaching, many people are starting to think VACATION! For families with kids, planning vacations and bringing them along can sometimes be stressful and chaotic. If you are anything like me, I am a planner and tend to get frustrated/stressed out when everything doesn’t go according to plan. Although, with the right planning and tools, you can reduce the stress and make sure EVERYONE has fun, even you! Below are just a few tips to make your vacation a blast!

Choose a Kid Friendly Place to Stay

Whether you are staying in a resort, hotel, or campground, making sure it is “kid friendly” is important. You don’t want to choose a resort that is targeted towards honeymooners or the elderly. You’re just asking for complaints when your kids are jumping up and down in the room or your baby is crying in the middle of the night. Plus, places that are targeted more towards families with children often have kid-designated pools, playgrounds, and other amenities that will help your kids stay entertained during your stay.

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Bring Activities!

I often bring multiple for both the room and the car. Having something for them to do in the car and having a plan for rainy days in the room can definitely save your sanity. I like to bring lap desks with coloring books, drawing pads, and colored pencils for the car. You can also bring things like: easy to set up board games (think ones with not many pieces like “Speak Out” or trivia games), decks of cards, tablets or DVD players (make sure to have them download books or games that don’t require internet BEFORE the trip), books, etc.. These things work for both the car AND the room/tent so you don’t have to hear that they’re bored a million times.

This is the lap desk that we have and it works so great for trips. It has a storage pocket for art supplies, tablets, etc. There is also a strap that is great for younger children so they can not just push it onto the floor and make a mess. Click the picture for more info!

Below are three FREE PRINTABLE sheets for your next vacation. They are all three scavenger hunts depending on your vacation type. There is one for the beach, camping, and road trip.

Road Trip Scavenger Hunt

Beach Scavenger Hunt

Camping Scavenger Hunt

If you have older kids with tablets or phones, Amazon FreeTime is a great thing to get for kids and teens. It has thousands of videos, books, and apps for all ages. Below is a link for a FREE 30 day trial to see if you like it! If you don’t, you can cancel anytime without having to pay anything! If you love it, the subscription is super affordable and a great investment!
Amazon FreeTime Unlimited Free Trial

For Babies/Toddlers – Pack Outfits in Gallon Size Ziplocks

Packing whole outfits (with accessories) in gallon sized ziplock bags is so helpful when grabbing a little ones clothes for the day. It completely eliminates having to dig all the clothes out searching for that one pair of pants that you swore was on top, but was really at the bottom of the bag. This also makes it easier for those who want to do everything themselves. They can just pick their baggie and get dressed without the worry of mismatched clothes.

For Older Kids

I know for me, it is so much easier if I just pack their clothes for them. Our 16 year old packs her own clothes, but I have found that our 11 and 12 year old are NOT good packers. I have had them pack for themselves twice before giving up and doing it myself. It may seem like more work for you, but it is so much better than having to go to the store in the middle of your vacation because your son/daughter decided to only pack 1 shirt, 2 pairs of pants, no underwear, and 10 stuffed animals. Or the other side, you’re having to argue with them that they don’t NEED 3 suitcases, 10 pairs of shoes, and the dog. Either way, I find it easier to just do it myself.


Have a Beach/Swim – Designated Bag

I like to have my swim and beach stuff all together. There is nothing worse than having 2 kids yelling about wanting to go to the beach, while the third is yelling because they can’t find their swimsuit. Or worse, forgot to bring it all together. Having a designated bag lets you be in control and know that everyone has what they need and where it is. I personally love the bag below. It is large and has tons of pockets to store smaller items like sunglasses, water bottles, and sunscreen! Click the picture if you’re looking for a new beach bag!

Bring Food and Drinks!

I always have car-designated snacks and drinks for the trip. This saves you from the “I’m starving” rant 5 minutes after leaving wherever you just ate at. Having snacks and drinks on hand is definitely handy for both saving money and your sanity while traveling with kids.

We also like to buy food for the room/campsite so we aren’t having to constantly buy breakfast and lunches. Food can get expensive when you’re feeding multiple kids! It is so nice having easy to make things like cereal or ramen noodles for simple lunches that the kids can make too if they’re hungry.

Camping Box

I actually have a tote that I use every time we go camping. I always keep it stocked with everything you need for cooking, clean up, and extras. It is a LIFE SAVER! You can buy most of the items from the dollar store, making it incredibly cheap. Below are just some of the things that are in mine. We go tent camping quite often in the summer, so I try to keep mine stocked all the time and just don’t put anything in it that can go bad.

  • Trash bags
  • Frying pan and pot
  • Tin foil
  • Paper plates, cups, bowls, and plastic silverware
  • Tongs, spatula, and other cooking utensils
  • Fire starters, lighter fluid, matches, lighter, and newspaper
  • Table cloth
  • Clothes line and clothes pins
  • Batteries, flash lights, and lanterns
  • Bug spray, citronella candles, and bite spray
  • Extra tarp and ground stakes (if tent camping)
  • Football, volleyball net, other activities

No matter what type of vacation you’re taking, try not to stress and have fun! Doing some of these things can help you set yourself up for success and help reduce your stress while on the vacation.

As always, I would love to hear your feedback! If you have any tips on how you battle that vacation planning stress or have anything that you do to entertain the kids while on vacation, let me know!




  • Liz Chapman April 2, 2018 at 5:03 pm

    Great tips! My kids are older, 10 and 13, I let them pick out their outfits but then I pack everything myself to make sure nothing is forgotten. I roll together one shirt, shorts, sock and underwear together so everything they need stays together.

    • kidsandkittens0912 April 2, 2018 at 5:41 pm

      That’s a great idea! I don’t usually do it with the older kids, but I’ll have to try it on our next vacation!


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