If you are like me, the thought of traveling with your kids means two things: you’ll be exhausted by the time you are finally ready to go and you’ll be even more exhausted by time you get there. Traveling with young children doesn’t have to be a painful experience, however. In fact, with some preparation, and the right attitude, traveling can be an enjoyable journey and a memorable part of the adventure itself.
“Mommy travel expert” Laurel Smith of minivanmoms.com gives some sound advice in preparing for a trip:
Be prepared to keep children entertained not only on the way to your destination, but on the return home as well. Smith suggests gathering up the following in a basket for the car:
- Library books, art supplies, travel photo books and your child’s favorite (smaller) toys that can keep him or her entertained from the car seat.
- Consider temporarily swapping a few toys with a friend so that your “traveling toys” are new for your child to play with. Or, if your budget allows, try bringing a small new toy your child can unwrap in the car.
Small children usually come with surprises that are unexpected along the way. Ziploc bags make great, see-through containers. Bring a few extra, but be sure to pack the following before you leave home:
- OTC medicine, wet wipes, disposable silverware, Band-Aids, topical spray (for bug bites, scrapes, etc.) night-light and travel-safe laundry detergent.
In this case, we mean food, not gas! Now is not the time to introduce a new food group. Use those Ziploc bags to pack some of your child’s favorite foods that can be eaten from a car seat or on the go and don’t forget a water bottle.
When you are traveling with little ones, forget the motto of “make great time.” Plan in advance if there are rest stops or parks near the interstate where your child can get out and get the “crazies” out. If your child naps, try leaving an hour before so your child can have some play time before dozing off.
Also, check out this great website featuring air travel tips from author Christine Hohlbaum. Finally, remember that sometimes travel is about the journey, not the destination!
How do you make travel fun with your kids?