Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tips for Traveling with Kids!

Hi! Grab your favorite cup o' joe, pull up a comfy chair and let's chat about traveling with kids!

So, my kids have been out of school for a couple of weeks now. And like most people, we want to travel more while they are out of school for the summer. So here are some things I have discovered make traveling with kids a bit easier. I find that the more prepared you are, the smoother the traveling part goes. You are happier for it and so are they!

My family and I just returned from a vacation to Cancun! (I hope to post more about the trip soon!) So, we traveled by air rather than in a car. Can you imagine driving from Virginia to Cancun!?!?! These tips may differ a bit from a road trip, but I think most can be applied to both. 

My sons are older (8 and 12), so they entertain themselves pretty well. We have made it a tradition to buy a new video game for them to play when we go on long trips. Now, they look forward to picking out a new game. (Full disclosure: my kids like to play on their devices...a lot. We struggle to manage their screen time limitations. What works for my family may not work for yours, but to each their own!) Anyway, the boys each have an iPad and a Nintendo 3DS XL. They have gotten into the habit of selecting a game for their DSs. A new game/app on an iPad/iPod could work well too (and would be much more inexpensive!) as long as you select one that doesn't require wifi to play. I also allow them each to choose a candy or snack to pack too. This is especially exciting to them because I really try to minimize the super sugary snacks they have. We buy both the game and the snacks beforehand, usually at our pre-trip excursion to Target to get supplies. I then promptly stash these items in my closet where they can't find them! Just before we leave for the airport or road trip, they get it, so it is still a novelty. 

My daughter, on the other hand, is only 3. She is still in the phase that she requires almost constant attention, especially on a plane. I pack an entire backpack (I know, overkill!!) for things for her to do. Over the years, I have done some Pinterest searching and have found a few ideas. Please forgive me that I do not recall where I found some of these ideas! You can search for activities on Pinterest. There are tons! I have started collecting small trinkets or toys in the month before we travel. Then, I "wrap" them in a paper bag. I fold over the top, punch holes in the fold and use wrapping ribbon to tie a bow. Sometimes, I get creative and draw a clue on the outside, partly so I know what I am giving her and to (hopefully!) make her more excited about unwrapping whatever might be inside. I try to plan a few for each way. I pack some in the backpack that I carry on the plane and pack the other half in the suitcase to bring home in the backpack.

Please excuse my artistic skills, or lack thereof! There was a Jake and the Neverland Pirates coloring kit inside.

Also, I download movies from iTunes for her to watch, because remember, you never know about the wifi when traveling! She and my younger son watched Zootopia (at least portions of it) about 4 times. Here she is watching Tangled on her iPad.

We keep the iPad she uses in an Otterbox case. We learned the hard way how easy it is to crack an iPad screen once when she let an iPad fall out of the car and onto the driveway. In addition to protection, it has this handy stand built into the case for watching movies. 

Also pictured is her Thermos cup that we love! I usually buy them at Target, but you can get them from AmazonSmile. They have lots of different colors and characters. She takes it to school also, but is especially convenient for traveling! We take it empty through security, and fill it up afterwards. This time, a nice barista at Starbucks filled it up with water for me while I waited for my coffee. I have found if you ask nicely, they are happy to do it! I made sure to leave them a tip. Warning: with the pressurization of the plane, sometimes pressure builds in the cup and when you open the top, whatever liquid is inside sprays out! To avoid this, don't close the cap OR if you need the cap closed to help prevent spills, I suggest twisting the top open a little before allowing your child to sip from the straw. I forgot this last time, and it squirted out all over my daughter, me and the window. Oops! 

These are just the tip of the iceberg! If you have a favorite tip to share, please let us know in the comments below!

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Travels!

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