Traveling with children can be stressful, exhausting, and frankly not much of a vacation. If you are planning a trip, you might be looking for some simple hacks to make the journey more enjoyable for all. Preparation is key. Here are some simple tips to help make the trip easier for everyone.
Making a list is an easy way to ensure everyone packs all the right things and no one forgets the simple things like underwear. I like to walk through each person's day and note everything that needs to come along. Then when it's time to pack you have a list of everything you need.
💡 Pro tip - Make your packing list on your phone so you can lose it and it can be edited easily.
If you have experience with air travel, you might know that chewing gum is an easy trick to help inner ear pain due to the change in cabin pressure. However, gum and littles do not mix well. Things like nursing, using a pacifier and sucking on a lollipop have the same effect as chewing gum. Come prepared with a handful of suckers as a treat and prevent any discomfort.
Did you know that your little one can bring their own carry on? Before each flight help each child pick a handful of entertaining activities that fit into a small bag that they can carry themselves. This can be things like coloring books with some crayons, a tablet, and headphones, or Bannor matching games. This is also a great place to pack snacks. You can bring any unopened snacks through security. Things like fruit snacks, apple sauce, and granola bars are great. Be careful to not bring things that melt or squish. No one wants melted chocolates or crumbled chips. Not only will the snacks and activities make them feel special, but they will keep them entertained on flights and layovers.
Road trips more your speed? Two things that will forever make your long car rides easier: surprises and snacks. This will take a little planning on your part but truly will be so worth it. First, surprises. These can be simple little items you can pick up from the dollar store or things you grabbed during a sale and stuffed away. When your children are getting restless, pull out a surprise. This is a great way to keep them entertained and happy. Next is snacks. Ideally special snacks, something you wouldn’t normally buy. Keep in mind the mess factor. Some go to snacks might be special gummies, character crackers, cheese sticks, and Chex mix.
Organization will diminish stress. When the car is a mess, the stress is high. When possible, pack in bags that are easy to stack and try to avoid the use of lots of little bags. Using a few larger suitcases allows for more efficient packing and less items to carry in and out of places. Have each child use a small backpack to carry his or her own games and activities. This will help them keep their items at an arm's reach and a place to store them when they are done. This will also help eliminate the number of times you have to reach all the way to the back.
💡 Pro Tip - Include some baby wipes, a resealable plastic bag, and a plastic grocery sack in each child’s backpack for messes.
This might go without saying but if you are going a long distance be prepared to make some stops. Preplan these places as time and information allows. Stop at places that are safe, clean, and enjoyable for everyone.
💡 Pro Tip - Join some digital mom groups in some of the places you are traveling through. These are great places to ask for suggestions on meal places, fun places to visit and get a break from the car, and places to stay overnight if needed.
💡💡 Bonus Tip - When traveling and trying new experiences there are many ways to save! If you are a member of a local zoo, science center, etc., your membership most likely has extra benefits at other places. For instance, a membership to the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa gives you 50% off at the Omaha zoo (Nebraska). There are also many restaurants that offer kids eat for free with a purchase of adult meals. Ask local online mom groups for recommendations.💡💡
Traveling with children can always be quite the adventure. By being prepared your travels can be painless and full of great memories. Have some more tips for traveling with littles? Comment below! Happy travels!