Top 10 Tips for Traveling with Children
Traveling with children. Do those words make you smile at the thought of family togetherness and long-last memories or cringe at the idea of fighting siblings and screaming babies on airplanes? It can be an experience with good and bad moments, but we have gathered some of your best tips and products (from our Facebook page) to make the trips a little more organized, and a lot more enjoyable.
Recently, our family of 4 kids 5 and under, traveled cross country to Florida. I’m not sure what inspired this madness.
Are we crazy? Perhaps.
Were a few tears shed? Of course.
Did we have the TIME OF OUR LIVES? Without a doubt.
Let it be known, whether a big trip across the ocean or a small trip to a local get-away, these tips are valuable, and approved by our board of experts, YOU!
If you have any of your own to add, PLEASE do so in the comments.
1. GET ORGANIZED
Easily, the most important tip for traveling with kids. My favorite idea (and yours!) was submitted on our Facebook page. Divide up childrens’ clothing into large freezer bags and label. I can not tell you how much help this was. It was easier to pack, and I didn’t have 50 million loose little kids’ clothes flying around my suitcase. Also, it saved time when we were rushing to get out the door to start the fun! My kids were able to find their bag thanks to the darling labels from MABEL’S LABELS (go check them out, super cute and handy!), and pick out a shirt and pants for each day. I loved not having to micro manage.
Another helpful tip from our readers, if you have girls, attach their bows TO their outfits. This way, they’re easy to find and organize! One suggestion I would add, do a separate bag with PJ’s and undies.
You could also use these awesome packing cubes. They fit nicely into a suitcase and you can fit a lot more in them, more neatly than just freezer bags.
2. Give your child her own space.
So many times, I found my kids fighting over who got to hold what, or what books to bring. My own backpack was overflowing with all THEIR stuff. WHERE WAS I SUPPOSED TO PUT MY DIET COKE STASH? 😉 This go-around, a reader suggested getting each kid their own backpack or “area”. Oh my word, this was so helpful. They felt a “part” of the packing, and were able to put what they wanted in it. I was able to supply each kid with essentials – like an extra outfit (just in case), and a few snacks. The best part? They had a new found sense of independence. This meant I wasn’t having to dig out 3 million things to the beautiful chorus of “MOMMMMMMYYYY, I NEEED……”. Tell me you know what I’m talking about.
These cute backpacks from Personal Creations are the perfect size for smaller kids (my daughter is 3). I love that they are personalized and the quality is great. Plus, they have the most darling designs and colors. They also have really fun rolling backpacks that are the perfect carry-on option! You can customize with a whole name, or, just an initial or monogram. I love the options you have.
NOTE: Some readers did express concern with safety since her name is on the backpack. This was not a worry of mine since my girls are not in school yet. However, during travel, I did cover their names with masking tape. This is a good idea for safety! 🙂
3. Prepare for the worst.
I don’t want to negative Nancy, but, it goes without saying, stuff happens. Kids pee their pants. Flights get delayed. Copies of birth certificates get lost. You know the drill. (All of those things happened on our trip – of course.) Prepare yourself. Have extra outfits easily accessible. Be sure you have plenty for kids to do in case of a flight delay (aka don’t put everything in your checked luggage). Make extra copies of your paperwork. Preparation helps lessen the stress when unplanned things occur.
4. Pack light.
Oh man, was this difficult for me. I seriously OVER pack. This trip, I took readers’ advice and didn’t overdo it. I mean, 3 year olds don’t need 5 pairs of shoes each, RIGHT? I took ONE pair each. These well loved tennis shoes. It was the sort of trip where this worked – but obviously that’s not always the case. Do the best you can. Consider using hotel or condo washers/dryers to reuse clothes. Look into RENTING carseats, strollers, and pack and plays. And, as my husband reminds me constantly, “They do have stores EVERYWHERE, Andrea.” If you do forget something, just go buy it :0. I wish we had packed even less. It was difficult to juggle 4 kids and all our luggage/gear.
PS. Yes, I even label our shoes. This helped in security….and for me, all week since I have twins who are the same size. 🙂 These cute shoe labels are also from Mabels Labels. Perfect for daycare too!
5. Keep kids safe.
I think we all worry about this, but perhaps even more when we’re in a new area or somewhere with big crowds. We had a couple “heart attack moments” when a kid just stepped a few feet away, but had us terrified. I was so grateful for these ID bracelets. I knew, if anything (heaven forbid) were to happen, they’d at least be able to get a hold of us. These came in a big pack from Mabel’s Labels. I’m seriously going to use them everywhere just for MY peace of mind! (Oh, and no one call my husband please haha)
Another idea a reader had was to take a picture each day before leaving. This way, if someone were to get lost you could REMEMBER what they were wearing that day. Can you even remember what your kid wore today? I struggle and that picture would be essential.
6. Provide entertainment.
Obviously, we all know we need things to keep kiddos busy on the airplane, in the car, and even while waiting. I’m not afraid to let my kids watch a lot more movies/tv than they would at home. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Yet, there are many resources and products out there to encourage brain power during these times. Here are a few reader suggestions, a few of which were huge hits on our trip!
This game is super compact and simple but kept my kids busy for hours. There’s several ways to play the game, so they never got “tired” of it. We had TONS of people recommend this to us and it’s easy to see why. They have lots of different versions (think, FROZEN, animals, JAKE, sports etc.
The best way to explain these are “waxy pipe cleaners”. They stick a little, allowing the user to build and create. My 5 year old was all about these little guys. They were not messy and easy to get out on the airplane tray table. I would suggest getting a few boxes so they can build more structures.
I forgot this in the car on this trip. HORROR STORY. Seriously, this baby is a life saver. It allows your hook up to 5 headphones up to a device. Hello, peace!
These are special “watercolors” that allow you to paint with a water pen. The color magically appears and then the water dries, the color disappears and you can reuse over and over. Kids LOVE it!
7. Save money before you go.
I’m a penny pincher. I could write a whole other post about saving money on vacation, but a few short tips will do for now. Consider using sources like Living Social for coupons on food and deals on activities. If you have to eat out, you might as well save a few bucks. Plus, you can do awesome things like zip lining and go cart racing when you find deals on activities.
If you’re doing anything DISNEY or theme park influenced, you can get LEGIT discount tickets through THIS website.We got our tickets there and had a fantastic experience, plus, saved some money!
Also, consider staying at a condo or vacation rental instead of a hotel. I thought I was saving lots on a hotel found via a discount “name your price” website, but then, I went to a few vacation rental sites (VRBO, FlipKey etc) and found our 3 bedroom HUGE condo for HALF the price of hotels. (If you’re doing Disney World, consider using this company. Not sponsored. Just loved them. It was so much more comfortable and we could do things like eat breakfast from home.
8. GO WITH THE FLOW and enjoy it!
As much as we try, things can’t and don’t always go PERFECTLY. Planning ahead, staying organized and buying the right products will totally help, but what helps the most is just remembering that these memories will last forever. Enjoy yourself!
9. Document memories.
Let’s not discuss those photos from last years vacation STILL on your hard drive. Document those memories sister! Those pictures and stories will be treasures to you and your family in the years to come. Here are a few options:
I tend to take all my videos with my phone so when I found this service, I was thrilled.
QuickFlics is a fabulous app you can take all your videos and instantly upload onto a DVD. They ship the DVD to you super fast and Voila…instant hard copies of memories. You’ll love to watch these over and over. PLUS QuickFlics is hooking you UP this vaca and is giving ALL our HDS readers a
(first one) for just the cost of shipping ($3.99). Just use code “HOWDOESSHE“. Or take all those photos and make them into BOOKS!
Chatbooks is a great option if Instagram is your thing. Chatbooks is an app that will take your Instagram pictures and automatically create 60 page books each month, for only $6.
Photo Cred: Chatbooks
They’re giving our awesome readers
Just download the Chatbooks app HERE or from you phone and use code
I hope these few tips help you some!
Do you have any tips of your own you’d like to add to the discussion?
10. Share your knowledge and tips with others!
PLEASE comment. We love when you share your ideas with us!
And I wish you “BON VOYAGE”, as you embark on your own adventures, big or small with your sweet families!
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