Vacations before kids: Sitting on a beach, drinking something with fruit in it, reading a trashy novel and enjoying the calm.
Vacations with kids: Don’t eat sand. You just went to the bathroom. Be nice to your sister. Don’t hit your brother. My book isn’t a towel. You can’t run off like that! You have to stay in my sight! Don’t leave this towel. Don’t move the towel!
Family Vacations are Barely Vacations
On vacations, all the schedules and systems you as a parent develop to keep your kids safe are gone. It’s you and your spouse against the world. At least that’s how it felt for me on every family vacation.
My kids are still young enough for me to worry about where they are at all time, and not old enough for a smartphone (where I could follow their location).
Disney World Tests with Jiobit
Recently I went to Disney World with my family and I brought some Jiobit alpha units with me (the real devices are MUCH smaller and better looking). Jiobit is a location tracker for kids and syncs with an app on my phone.
Honestly, our vacation was changed for the better. Considering we were at Disney World, they were distracted frequently, and when they ran ahead of the group, I could follow where they were. When you aren't concerned about a parent's biggest fear, you can actually enjoy yourself.
"Follow Me Mode" Worked
In a crowded place like Disney World, "Follow Me Mode" was a lifesaver. On my Jiobit app (also in beta), I set a 25 foot limit, meaning my son or daughter couldn't be more than 25 feet from me, otherwise my phone and the device sounded off an alarm. I didn't keep it on all the time, but when the park was extra packed, it was very helpful.
Tracking Adults, Too
I made all the adults on the trip (my wife, parents, siblings) download our app as well. When we'd split up and need to find one another again, we used the app. It was easy and saved us time. "Let's meet by the castle at 2" is meaningless, because you may not find one another until 2:15 when there are thousands of people at the castle.
Vacation Mode for Parents
If you had asked me a year ago about a family trip to Disney World, I would have told you I have nightmares less scary. But now, not only did I enjoy my trip, I’m excited to stress less on our next family trips.
Taking your kids to Disney World is a joy every parent should experience, but it doesn't need to melt into panic when you see crowds and fear the worst. I'm excited to get Jiobit in parents' hands so they can enjoy these family moments too.