By Vicki Little
There are some well-known tricks for traveling with children, like planning your route carefully and scheduling for plenty of potty-breaks. But if you are new to the game (or if you are looking for some new tips), there are other things you can do to make the trip easier for you and them-and others who may be around you! Here are 8 ideas to make traveling with your children a bit easier this Labor Day weekend!
1) Hidden activities and food are golden: For a few days before you head out, hide the crayons and coloring books. That way they will seem more exciting when you pull them out for the kids to play with. Bundle a couple of different activities in separate storage bags. Have one bag hold crayons and paper, and another bag hold crossword puzzles and mazes. Get a few new toys from the dollar store for another bag, and pick up a couple of Travel Bingo boards. Also have plenty of individually packed snacks and drinks for when the kids get restless and hungry. Bring along a cookie sheet so they can color and play easily on their laps, and a magnet to hold their paper steady.
2) Pack full outfits in separate storage bags: This was a lifesaver for me when we went camping this summer. Not only does it save a ton of room in your bag, but it also makes it super easy to get dressed. Rather than digging through a bag full of clothes and then getting them all messed up, your children will simply need to pull out a whole bag and everything will be ready for them in there! Remember to squish the air out of the bag for extra room, and include socks and underwear in each bag!
3) Travel during sleeping hours when possible: Yes, it will make things a bit more exhausting for you, but at least your kids will be quiet most of the trip and you won’t be asked 1, 000 times if you are there yet.
4) Are you there yet?: Make a little chart that you can put on the back of the seats so instead of asking how much longer the kids can look for themselves-just remember to mark off the time as you go! Or you can give a dollar for every time you pass a set landmark, and when they get $10 you will be there and if they didn’t bug you they get to spend the money!
5) Bring familiar food and snacks: When you are traveling, your kids are already sort of off-balanced from everything that is unfamiliar. Eating on the road or in unfamiliar restaurants may make them feel even more uneasy, especially if the food looks different to them. Keeping familiar food and snacks with you will ensure they are getting enough to eat and will keep them happy. If they are a bit uncomfortable with sleeping in a different bed, then having a familiar nighttime snack may make bedtime easier for them.
6) Make sure all medications are easily accessible: There is nothing worse than an allergy attack or sudden migraine when the bag that has the medicine in it is on the bottom of the pile. Or a small scrape with microscopic blood that needs a band-aid ASAP! Get a small bag that is designated for medication and boo-boo care only and put all your over-the-counter and prescription medications in there. Also put a small pad of paper and pen in the bag so you can keep track of who got medicine and when.
7) Have an oops bag handy: In a long car ride, even an older child can have an accident. Someone may get car or airsick. A drink may spill. There are so many things that can happen when you are traveling with children. Have one storage bag per child with a change of clothes (including underwear). And definitely keep an ample supply of baby wipes in your oops bag. They are good for SO many things.
8) Forget your purse and use a backpack instead: A backpack is easier to carry and leaves your hands free, and offers plenty of room for the medicine bag, oops bag, and some toy and snack bags.
What are your sanity-saving tips for traveling with kids?
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. When she isn’t writing or trying to keep up with her kids she can be found volunteering, reading, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.
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