It is Friday and families all across America are gearing up for a big vacation, a small family getaway, or a fun-filled weekend because we are still in the midst of the busiest vacation time of the summer. Despite all of the excitement, how many of you have seen this face on your child? I mean we are excited about vacation, we can’t wait to get away from the craziness of our daily lives, so why aren’t the kids, right?
I know I was probably the worst offender of this rule. I was always over-packed in an effort to ensure that Belinda was never bored. The truth was that despite all of the extra snacks and toys, she really only needed one or two toys and/or games to keep her entertained for an entire trip. Resist the urge to overdo it in this area. I usually included card games or activity books that easily fit into my purse so that they could be taken into restaurants.
#2. Remember the 3-1-1 rule.
Are you flying to your destination? Remember that the TSA has strict policies on flying with liquids. Specifically, you can only bring one quart-sized bag per (one) traveler filled with no more than three ounce travel-sized bottles. Baby formula, breast milk and baby food have different requirements so be sure to double check those rules. By following the 3-1-1 rule, you will definitely save time and hassles.
#3. All hands on deck.
No matter the age of your children, they can provide valuable insight when you are shaping your itinerary. Keeping the kids involved in the planning process will not only incentivize them to have as much fun as possible, but it will also give them something to anticipate while reducing the feeling that they’re being dragged on vacation. Encourage the kids to be on the lookout for road signs, gate information, etc. too.
#4. Put some prep in your step.
Preparedness is the name of the game: Pre-print your boarding passes, keep copies of your itinerary on hand, and be sure to play the “Did You Bring?” game with yourself and your family members several times. This way, there are less likely to be major surprises or “bumps in the road” along the way!
#5. Pack some snacks.
When we took road trips, even when I was a child, we ALWAYS had a snack bag. When flying, we packed snacks too because let’s be honest – you don’t want to rely on airplane or rest stop services for food. Traffic, flight delays and other unforeseen circumstances could prevent you from addressing your child’s hunger before the moodiness kicks in. I liked to always have snacks on hand that children can access on demand so you won’t need to pull over and prolong the travel process.
#6. Traveling isn’t a race.
I wish someone had shared this tip when I was traveling with Belinda. I mean doesn’t the airline ALWAYS let parents with small kids board first? Of course, this depends on whether or not there are others in your row of seats BUT it is a great tip for those with toddler’s or even the tween’s who hate being confined. Take your sweet time and wait by the gate with your children until the plane is almost full before boarding. Think about it: Depending on the age of your child, being on a plane may not be their favorite place to be – so your best bet is to spend as little time on the airplane as possible. If you’re worried about overhead storage space, send your significant other or eldest child (if they’re old enough) onto the plane first in order to reserve some bin space.
#7. Smile, smile, smile.
Things happen — maybe your flight gets delayed, you’re late for an event, or something else totally unexpected happens. Regardless of what comes up, it’s important not to wear your emotions on your sleeve. As long as you’re having fun, your kids will rise to the occasion and do the same!
As long as you keep these things in mind before and during your travels, this vacation might prove to be the most fun and rewarding trip your family will ever take. Safe travels!
What are your best tips for traveling with kids? Share them with us.
Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!