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How to minimize stress on a family vacation

(NC) Vacations should be the stuff of dreams. But if you’re lucky to travel as a family with kids and maybe even grandparents in tow – along with everyone’s competing wants and needs – then a smooth trip can feel like an uphill battle. Here are some tips to make this adventure your best one yet.

Keep kids in the loop
Surprises are overrated when it comes to vacations. Is it worth the potential meltdowns? Kids have little control over their lives day-to-day and their regular routines help them feel comfortable, confident and safe. Talking through each step of your trip ahead of time can help prepare them for unfamiliar situations and put them at ease. Showing them your route on a map, for instance, can help kids feel involved and get them excited.

Take advantage of family perks
Many hotels and resorts have family discounts or special activities for groups. If you’re flying, check with your airline about baggage, as some will let you check strollers and bulky baby gear for no fee. Arriving early and using the family boarding time will also help reduce stress. Remember too that breast milk is exempt from the 100 ml carry-on liquid rule.

Pace yourselves
It can be tempting to cram every possible activity into your limited time away, but remember to schedule in some down time too. Constantly being on the go is a recipe for exhausted kids and tantrums. And if you’re travelling with a new baby, accept that your pace will likely be slower than before you had kids. Enjoy your time together and allow for one-on-one side trips with older kids or grandparents too.

Pack smart and streamlined
You know you can’t pack everything, but some items can make a big difference. For new parents traveling with little ones, look for simple streamlined versions of the tools you need, such as a collapsible stroller, folding booster seat or a compact breast pump that moms can use on the go. Some Medela pumps are hands-free and USB rechargeable for up to six sessions, so you don’t need to hunt down a power outlet. If you’re preparing to pump and nurse on the go, pack less by choosing one of Medela’s pumping and nursing bras.

It’s also always a good idea to pack snacks, diapers and small activities to keep the kids happy too!

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