Families learn lessons each time they travel. From how much food to pack, to knowing ways to distract your children in the car,all while stretching the limits of your patience; travel can truly bring out the worst in a family. However, the many rewards of traveling with your kids are worth it in the end. While the lessons learn on a trip are both good and bad, with the positive mindset and by following a few tips, your family will be travel ready!
Snacks are a must when traveling with kids! No matter where you are, its important to pack some favorite snacks from home. Store snacks in reusable containers if they are not already in travel sized portions. Bringing a few extra baggies or reusable containers will also help with additional snacks that you pick up when you reach your destination. No one needs to be “hangry” on your trip!
A distracted child is a happy child! Before the trip, stop by the dollar store and let the children pick out their own activity books, toys, and games. You will most likely need to set a limit to how many items they buy. You do not want to have a meltdown later when all their new items do not fit in a backpack. However, these activities will have more of an impact to them when traveling and they will look forward to using them on the trip. You should also pack extra activities such as mini puzzles, washable markers, sticker books, or even your tablet with new games loaded. They will be surprised when you pull a new game out of your bag for them to play.
Setting limits on TV does not need to take place during car or plane rides. If your child is content watching a couple movies while on a flight, it will be an enjoyable experience for them and for you. A portable DVD player or movie downloaded onto a tablet is a perfect way to distract the kids for a while. Just make sure you have enough headphones for all the children to watch.
Remember the Favorites
Items from home that your child relies on should make it on the trip as well. There is no need to pack everything from home. In fact, a lot of hotels have many family necessities available for use during your stay. You can call ahead and see what types of items are available before you pack. However, irreplaceable items such as a favored blanket or stuffed animal should come along for the ride.
If you are leaving for an extended vacation, one way to see if you are ready is to give it a test run. A test run could be a day trip that requires a couple hours in the car, or an overnight trip away from home. During the trial run you will get the chance to experience what works and what needs to be adjusted for the more important trip. Of course, you do not want to tire your kiddos out from too much travel, so it is a good idea to do the trial run no sooner than a week before the longer trip.
Find a Grocery Store
It is also a good idea to go by a grocery store on the first day you arrive at your destination. If you have a partner or family member with you, they can even stay at your hotel room or rental while you run to the store. While there, pick up the favorite foods that your kids love from home. Items like fruits, veggies, cheese, crackers, and drinks are great to have where you are staying. And, do not forget to restock on those favored snacks.
Plans and Patience
There is one thing you can rely on when traveling with kids; plans will not go as planned. Be prepared for changes by having multiple options ready for the day. Naps, snacks, and relaxing should all be on standby. Traveling can be exhausting for children and the adults. It is best to enjoy the fun, energized times and then accept the moments when someone needs a break.
Though traveling with kids can be difficult, it is worth it in the long run. Traveling provides valuable experiences for your children. You will also feel incredible joy seeing your little ones experience new things for the first time. With a little preparation and a positive attitude, great memories will be created through your next family trip.