Spring is coming and so is spring break. Summer is also coming, which means summer vacation. As you make your travel plans, I will be updating you with travel tips. This is only part 1 of the series, general traveling tips for children. In the coming weeks, I will have specific tips for road trips, flying domestically and flying internationally. Safe traveling!
Kids are kids and they will find a way to make a mess with whatever you give them. It brings them a sense of accomplishment. So think of snacks that will minimize their success for a mess. Think bite-size. Also think non-powdery seasoned snacks. And the non-sticky stuff. When it comes to drinks, think less spills. My friend, Kelly, introduced me to reusable spill proof water bottle tops. This also cuts out the less healthy stuff, too. Try 100 calories cookies and cracker packages. Reusable water bottles. Fruit strips. Dehydrated or dried fruits. Beef jerky or other meats. Individually packaged fruit snacks. Raisins or Craisins. Store bought prepackaged apple slices. Caramel pretzels you can make quick and easy.
Each child gets a backpack.
He can fill the bag with whatever they would like to take on the trip to keep him busy. This is to be filled with stuff other than clothes and toiletries. His favorite toys, blankie, pillow, a special snack just for him, iPod, games, stuffed animal, coloring books or a camera.
Surprise them with something new.
Before the trip, purchase something that will keep the kids occupied during the travel. Don’t tell them about it until you are well on your way. Or you might even want to save it for when they get restless. A new movie to watch on the portable DVD player. A new toy. A new CD. A new book. When we traveled to Taiwan with Kaye, I got her a travel size My Little Pony set. It not only helped on the 24-hour plane ride, it also helped when we were in Taiwan as she missed playing with American toys.
Something familiar too.
As I just mentioned, children may miss home when they are traveling. So it is helpful to bring something from home, especially if they have a favorite doll or toy. It can bring them comfort and safety. Probably help them to sleep at night too. Both my girls have a blanket they can’t sleep without. And Kaye, for the longest time had a Baby Bop doll that she couldn’t loved dearly. That doll came with us on many trips (see picture below).
Think compact, travel size.
Pack light. It doesn’t matter how long you will be gone. If your travel is more than a week, you can always purchase most necessities while you are there. Yes, there are some things you can’t get elsewhere, mostly for if you are traveling internationally. See if you can do without or get a in a reusable version (filter water bottles, snack bags). This seems to be the hardest thing to do when you are traveling with kids. You have your stuff and they have theirs. See where things can be condensed. And visit the travel section in your local superstore. They have improved on a lot of traveling items, even for kids. I can probably dedicate a whole post about how to pack sensibly and light.
Get a good multipurpose bag for you.
You’re the mom and chances are you’ll be carrying a lot of the miscellaneous stuff for everyone. Whether you use a diaper bag, backpack or purse, get a good one with lots of pockets inside and out. Make sure you keep one plastic grocery bag in there for emergencies (collecting trash, tie up a stinky diaper, waterproofing something and even to catch throw up when someone gets sick).
Don’t forget medications.
Make sure you pack the emergency essentials with over-counter medication, such as non-asprin pain medication. Throw in a few Band-Aids and ointments. If your baby is teething, don’t forget gum numbing medications. If you tend to get heartburn or a headache, pack for those. However, you don’t need to take your whole medicine cabinet. Over-counter medications also come in travel size. It might be a good idea to keep a small first aid kit in your car, too.
Prescription medication is a little different. I used to work as a pharmacy technician. So here’s my tip: Make sure you have enough of that to last the whole trip. If you need to, you can get a travel/vacation override from your insurance company to get enough of certain prescriptions early to last your entire trip. Talk to your pharmacist and doctor about it.
» Tell me… What is your travel advice for traveling with children?