July 20, 2012
Are you planning on any travel with the kids this summer? Summer often finds families on vacation! If you will be one of those lucky families, read on for some great tips and ideas to help make your trip even more enjoyable for all.
First off, if traveling by car, make sure you have a handy trash bag to help contain things as you go.
Encourage Good Behavior - Print some "Travel Bucks" and "reward" kids for good behavior while traveling. Have a box of prizes they can "buy" stuff from. Prizes can be coupons for specific items (ie: ice cream treat, choose next DVD/song in car, etc.) as well as goodies picked up from the dollar store, Target dollar bins, clearance finds, etc.
Load up the iPod - audio books, fun songs, games, etc. If you have younger kids, they make great headphones that are perfect for them.
Goodies for the Trip - Bag small items you have picked up for the trip, including easy to eat in the car snacks and label them by day. You can even break it down to parts of the day (ie: Day 1, Morning - especially great for the younger kids who aren't great about rationing out their day's goodies) and include a few treats for that day (or period of the day). Examples: Day 1, Morning - juice box, individual box of cheerios, small book. Day 1, After Lunch - snack bag of cookies, new hot wheel. Day 1, After Dinner - box of raisins, small puzzle or card game. Bubbles - best thing to pull out for some quick and easy fun that gets the kids running around for a few minutes. The spill proof ones are great if you plan to hand them to the kids - just drop them into a ziploc bag because while they are spill-proof, they do drip out over time.
Pack some bibs - even for your preschoolers! They help eliminate messes on their clothes and their car seat straps as well.
Packing - pack each day's full outfit for each child inside its own ziploc bag. No more rummaging around trying to match up outfits, etc. Label each child's bags with a sharpie.
If you will be traveling by car:
Car Caddies - pick up a small "Craft Caddie" for each child. Our Walmart carries some in multiple colors for about $7 each and the little pockets are great for tucking in some nice surprises for the trip. What you fill it with will depend on the age and interests of your child. For the older crowd, a disposable camera is always a fun hit. Think stickers, glow sticks/bracelets, refillable bottle of water, markers (Crayola makes Color Wonder products that only mark on special paper or color books - perfect for the younger kids), book, notebook/color book/activity book, etc.
Be sure and plan for those needed stops. Kids do much better when you let them out of the car to run around, even for just a few minutes. So stopping even when no one has said they need to use the restroom, is always a great idea!
Bring small pillows (some stuffed animals make great pillows for kids!) and a blanket for each child. Being able to get comfy in the car goes a long way in keeping the peace.
Pack a cooler with water, juice, fresh fruit and veggies and sandwich stuff - eliminate stops for fast food and save money too!
Pack a first aid kit.
Double check that all car seats are in correctly and ready to go!
If you will be traveling by air:
Place all travel docs in a handy packet. I found a travel one in the luggage section at Target and it's great to be able to pull out the zippered pouch and know that all our tickets, passports, car rental/hotel info, etc., are all in one, easy to grab spot.
For kids, help them pack a backpack for their trip. Make sure it's not too full. They really don't need every toy they own. A new book or two, handheld video game - if appropriate, treats, markers/journal/notebook, Legos, refillable water bottle (empty till you pass through security). Make each child fully responsible for their own bag.
Visit the Transportation Security Administration's site. If you have a baby or toddler, you can bring their juice, water, formula through security. But confirm details at the site! Be sure to read their tips to make getting through security quick and painless for all.
Going on a cruise:
Pack swimsuits for the kids in a carry-on. Your luggage usually takes awhile to make it to your cabin, but the pools will typically be open!
Bring an inexpensive over-the-door shoe caddy and hang it on the inside of your closet and use it to stash sunscreen, camera, etc. - all those little things that take up space in your small cabin. This puts them in an easy to find spot!
No matter how you are traveling or where you will be going, enjoy your trip and your time with your family! Create some awesome memories and be safe!
Do you have some travel tips to share with us? Feel free to post in the comments below! We love to hear from our readers!
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