How to Make Traveling with Kids Easier and More Fun!
I had the pleasure of having Daniel Sherwin from DadSolo.com write a guest post!
Whether you’re taking a roadtrip or braving the skies, traveling with children can be overwhelmingly stressful and leave you exhausted before you even reach your destination. While there’s nothing to guarantee that your toddler will stop fussing and suddenly appreciate the wonders outside the window, or that your teen will lose the attitude and stop picking on the younger sibling, here are some practical tips for making your travel experience easier and more fun.
Much of how enjoyable or terrible your trip will depend on how well you pack. If you’re driving, pack a small bag for each child to keep somewhere accessible in the car. In the bag should be two sets of clothes (one for the next day, one in case of spills), toiletries, pajamas, and anything else your child will need for the rest of the day and night. Be sure to keep items such as paper towels, wipes, and garbage bags somewhere handy for the inevitable spills and spit-ups. Pack any special blankets, pillows and stuffed animals that will help your child sleep better in a strange place; if you leave “Duckie” at home, your toddler may never forgive you. For children out of the car seat, using their pillow against the window could help them sleep through some of the drive.
If you’re flying, go ahead and plan for the worst. Maybe your child won’t have a total meltdown that makes you the center of attention, but it’s better to be prepared. Along with extra clothes, put a few diapers and cleaning materials in your carry-on for when your baby has a blowout while 40,000 feet in the air. Also, bring a portable DVD player or tablet for entertainment. You probably don’t need to pack a lot of toys unless you just have the extra room, because you’ll likely acquire toys throughout the trip from fast-food meals, souvenir shops, and other places. Just make sure to regularly wipe down and clean the toys you do bring; the last thing you want is to have a sick child while traveling.
Bring the right foods
Another critical element of a successful traveling experience is having the right foods. There are plenty of healthy meals and snacks you can prepare that are easily transportable and that will keep the whole family fed and satisfied. On-the-go foods like PB&J sandwiches, five-ingredient pinwheels, turkey wraps, and crackers/veggies with hummus are all easy enough to prepare before the trip and eat while on the road. For breakfast, try hashbrown muffins or protein boxes.
Also, it’s hard to beat the classic PB&J, which works at all times of the day. Even though airlines offer meals during flights, you’ll still want to bring foods for your kids. Eating food that’s familiar to them will slightly decrease the chances of them having that meltdown.
Leave time for kids
When you’re traveling with kids, the days of record-time road trips and rushing through the airport are over. It’s safe to go ahead and plan for all things travel to take about twice as long. If you’re driving, plan to make a lot of stops. The more kids you have, the more stops you’ll have to make. Bathroom breaks come often, as well as breaks for stretching, feeding and diaper changes. It’s a good idea to not to rush the breaks, because the trip will be more bearable if your kids are allowed to get out of the car for 20 minutes here and there. Try to find a coffee shop or bookstore nearby and just put up your feet for a little while. One way to keep things fun for your kids is to get them their own digital camera; make sure to research the most kid-friendly cameras. The trip will end up being more enjoyable for everyone if you just plan on making the traveling portion part of the journey.
Traveling with children will always be challenging, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be enjoyable. If you pack well, bring the right foods, and pencil in plenty of time for travel, you’ll find that the experience is better when you make the journey part of the trip. Just be patient and know that you’ll survive, and it could end up being the best trip of your life.
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