Now that our kids are older, we aren’t schlepping a stroller, diapers, a pack n play, or special baby food when we travel, which makes life much easier. We’ve recently been fortunate enough to take them on two vacations. One trip was a huge success; the other one felt like a lot of work.
Given that traveling as a family is one of our top priorities, I’ve compiled some tips and tricks that will make every trip magical, or at least enjoyable, for the whole family.
Tips & tricks for traveling with kids
- Pack the kids stuff in their own suitcases and then unpack when you arrive. My kids can pick out their own clothes and get their toothbrushes ready on their own. If I can keep their things in a place that they can access them, it allows them to continue to be independent. This also saves me from hearing, “Mom, I can’t find any underwear.” Knowing where everything is keeps the chaos and my anxiety to a minimum as we get ready to head out on our adventures.
- Extra travel time and extra clothes are a must. My husband travels for a living, so his mindset when he’s at the airport is to get in and get out. However, with little ones in tow, “I need to pee,” is the sentence I hear on repeat. Accidents happen so plan for them! Kids are extremely curious and they want to stop and discover all the new things around them. If you give yourself ample time to explore, it gives everyone a chance to breathe and not feel rushed. For me, this makes what could be a terrible start or end to a trip much more enjoyable.
- Snacks, snacks, snacks. I am always hungrier on travel days and I’ve clearly passed this on to my children. Whether we are in the airport or the car, someone needs a snack every fifteen minutes. When I have fruits and veggies on hand, plus healthy snacks from home, I don’t worry about who is eating what or how often they need to fill their bellies. Plus, it saves me money and lots of time negotiating.
- Some sleep is better than none. This one is tough because schedules on vacation are a joke. However, if your child can squeeze in a longer nap or go to bed earlier, it will save everyone from a meltdown turning into a tantrum. I think about how exhausted I am when we come home from a trip. I know my children feel the same way, so I push sleep whenever I can.
- Find a local sitter. This one is a luxury, but social media allows us to connect to anyone, anywhere. Finding a friend in the city you are traveling to who can suggest a sitter they’ve vetted makes a world of difference. If you can get this set up in advance, you’ll know that you have some adult time to look forward to at the end of the day. Use this time to check off your bucket list items!
Remember, vacation is time for you to enjoy too, so get out there and have fun making memories!