Morning! As I’m preparing for some of our besties to visit in a couple weeks, it’s got me thinking about my tips for traveling with kids. We’ve done flights, drives, overnight trips, weekend trips, camping trips, grandparent trips and our longest, a cross country move.
Traveling with kids will always have it’s challenges but I’ve found that following these tips helps ease our anxieties and gives some relief during meltdowns:
- Plan, plan, plan! I’m a huge believer in planning and making lists. Nerd alert! I know. But it truly helps having a plan of what you think you are going to do so you can have a better packing list and idea of what you may or may not need.
- Give the kids a break! Whether you’re driving or flying, the kids will need to stretch their legs. If flying, we tend to let them walk laps before the flight so by the time they need to sit still in the airplane, they should have their jitters out. If driving, we typically stop every hour or two to hit the potty, get gas and stretch our legs. And every parent knows you top off the gas at every stop. You don’t want to need gas just as a kid falls asleep or all hell will break lose as you stop too early into a car nap. Also, we either bring or pick up some lunch and find a park/playground to eat at and give the kids 10-15 minutes to play.
- Kids’ suitcases – My in-laws got each of the kids his/her own suitcase and they LOVE them. If they could have them out everyday, they would (though they like to sit and hide in them or pretend they are boats). But it gets them excited for the trip as well as coordinates their things. Though depending on the space and length of stay, I will pack their things in with mine into a larger suitcase as well. I’ve heard great things about packing cubes but just haven’t crossed that line yet because I’m an overpacker and refuse not to be.
- Special item – Blankets/stuffed animals/pillows that let your kid feel like he/she is at home. Plus, if you’re traveling by car, this helps encourage car naps.
- Travel bed or crib – We are past the Pack’n’play stage thank gosh. But they are great for babies and young kids. Luckily, most hotels will have one on hand to borrow. Our current fave is a portable blow up mattress for the kids called a Shrunks Toddler Travel Bed
- Sound machine – We actually have two of these White Noise Machine
- Sleeping bags – We have two of these Coleman Kid Sleeping Bag
- Night lights – The kids usually request that we bring one of our Turtle Nightlight; though I prefer to pack something smaller so they don’t wake up scared being in a different space.
- Monitors – Audio and/or video monitors if you have a large enough space to need them. We have an original Dropcam and the newer Nest Cam which I’ve shared earlier. We bring the Nest Cam on every trip as it’s easy to setup and we can use it if we have a suite or are staying with family/friends, we can keep an eye on them while being in another room. I swear, we have shared our love for this product so much that at least 10 friends have purchased one. But we also have the old school Audio Baby Monitor
- Headphones – These are desperately needed on any road trip or flight. Olivia loves wearing her Kids Headphones. Jax not so much. But these are great as they fold-up so take up less space and have a rope covered cord which seems to be tougher than just a normal cord. And not hearing “Baby Shark” on repeat is a plus for my sanity (though you bet I will do the moves if I hear it).
- Gel clingons if traveling in an airplane (or you don’t care if they use on your car windows). These always buy us about 30 minutes of fun for the kids and are usually in the Target dollar section too.
- Baby Carrier and/or stroller – We are nearing the end of this phase but I still use my Ergobaby 360
- “Snacks, snacks, snacks” (sung to the LMFAO “Shots” melody). Enough said.
- Presents to open for extended trips. On our cross country drive, the kids got to open one present a day. I had them filled with coloring supplies, small lego figurines, stuffed animals, cars, etc (Think Dollar store items)
- Movies and games on iPad. I don’t care if you are the no TV/movies/tablet family or not. This will buy you an hour or two minimum of somewhat quiet and calm. It is needed.
- Extra clothes within reach (in a large ziploc). Accidents, car sick, massive blowouts, wet playground equipment, etc. I’ve been that mom in the airplane bathroom changing a baby’s blowout and had to yell up 10 aisles to get Chris to bring Olivia AND I some clothes. So I always pack an extra top for me too now. And the large Ziploc can then store the nasty stuff for the remainder of the trip.
- Let’s just make it it’s own bullet. Baby wipes. They can save the day with almost anything. Bring them even if you’re past the diaper phase.
- Final bullet. Alcohol. It’s necessary on long travel days in my opinion to help keep the parents sane. Chris and I search for kid friendly, sometimes pet friendly but always has a free breakfast and happy hour for us.
Ok, I think that’s it but I’m sure I’ll think of another 10 things as soon as I hit post. Anyone else have any great travel tips for the kiddos?