Summer time means family time! Vacations, day trips, road trips, and everything in between. But for me, traveling with kids can be so overwhelming. There are tons of things to remember and lots to bring. So many bags!! But I have found that the more prepared I am, the better I feel. Then I am able to relax and enjoy our trip more. I try to do as much planning and organizing on the front end so that this is possible. Here are my top ten traveling tips:
#1-Stock the car! Making sure the car is packed up with things we might need on the road, helps me feel relax, especially when we are driving and there isn’t a rest stop in sight. We keep a plastic container filled with grocery bags, trash bags, paper towels, tissues, diapers, wipes. I put a few of each of these in the car with us. I like to have them for trash in the car, dirty clothes bags, dirty diapers, or spills, or if someone is car sick.
#2- Potty Seat. When you gotta go, you gotta go! And since not all bathrooms are as clean as Buc-ee’s, the potty seat is a must for us. We found ours at a resale shop for very cheap.
#3-Keep the diaper bag ready to go. When we pack the car, we always make sure to keep the diaper bag in an arm’s reach. If it gets buried with everything else, it just makes things more complicated. When you travel, things can get messed up and unorganized as you go. But I do my best to keep the diaper bag organized throughout the trip.
#4-TOYS in every area- Restaurant toys, Car toys, Special toys! We pack toys that stay in the car. Most the time on our small trips the boys will nap on the way (we haven’t made a long road trip yet). But if they wake up or while we are driving to different places once we arrive at our destination, they have to toys to play with. Toys that stay in the car the whole trip so that I don’t have to pack and unpack. Then I have a bag for each boy (pictured below) for times when we are at a restaurant or out and about. I keep the bags in the diaper bag. The bags have coloring pages, crayons, and stickers, and a couple of small books. Also, I recently learned this tip: the legos from the dollar section at Target! They are cheap and really great! They are fun for my 4 year old and my 18month old can snap them almost completely independently. Finally, we bring toys for wherever we are staying. For when we go to my parents house, we leave toys at their house and usually there is something new and fun for them when we arrive (nothing like going to Pops and Nana’s house).
#5- Snacks! I am the snack lady ALL the time, not just when we travel. Snacks for the kids, and if I’m being honest, for me too. Snacks can usually help any situation. But my traveling tip is to make it a special Traveling Treat! I remember as a kid when I traveled for soccer tournaments my mom always packed Teddy Grahams (the Honey kind of course). It wasn’t something she bought all the time. It was something I looked forward to when we traveled. I still do this for our kids. It makes snack-time seem even better when it is something you don’t normally get to have.
#6White noise machine- We use the Rain App on our phone or an iPad. We find that this is an easy way to drown out noise or make the environment calmer for everyone when sleeping in a different place. Also, by using the App, you don’t have another thing to remember to pack or something taking up space-Double win!
#7- 911! Being prepared with a First-Aid kit and car sick bag is so helpful. My oldest son and I can get car sick pretty easily. We have had multiple times where he has thrown up. Now, we keep supplies for this occasion: grocery bag, wipes, water, crackers, and nausea medicine. We also have a first-aid kit with us. I usually keep this in the diaper bag.
#8-Keep the schedule! Well, as much as you can. If the kids can stay on their normal routine, it makes them have more structure in a time where they don’t have a lot of normal around them. It can also help minimize the meltdowns. Personally, the schedule helps me too! Traveling with kids is hard work sometimes, so I like time built in to take a break, or knowing that their bedtime is still going to be pretty close to the same.
#9Lollipops- Yep, lollipops. No shame! Now, I will say, these are reserved for the absolute worst moment! When you are stuck in traffic, the reservations were canceled, the food is taking forever, or the most amount of chaos. I personally do not use these when the kids are having bad behavior and I want them to stop. This is when that we are all tired, nothing is working, and really it is no one’s fault. Life happens. I also like to carry them as a reward. The kids don’t know I have them and sometimes it is just a nice surprise for them and I can show them how proud I am for adjusting well to a new environment or being patient for something. Right now, I am liking the ones pictured above from Trader Joe’s.
#10-Organize! Organize! Organize! This may seem a little extreme but for me, having everything in a specific spot for travel is a must. I will spend time getting the kids completely packed up and then do my stuff. I let Stephen take the kids and I get everything in a place. If he can’t, I take a few days to prep. This helps with stress and can let our time be more focused on each other, which is what it is all about!
I found this blog to be full of ideas if you are looking for more. Also, for packing lists, the Travel Mama has got you covered! Check out her blog with so many different kinds of travel and for all different ages. Really helpful! Safe travels, my friends!
I would love for you to comment with your traveling tips! We have yet to take a long road trips with the kids or fly (not gonna lie, I’m a little nervous for that one). So please share all your traveling wisdom with me ; )