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Traveling with kids… Fun?
Eh, not always.
Traveling with little ones can actually be super stressful if you’re not prepared (I’m speaking from experience here.) So I’ve put together a list of 5 top tips to make your next vacation or trip a little less stressed. Here they are:
1. Prepare them.
Regardless of how old your kids are, it’s always a good idea to prepare them for the fact that you’ll be traveling. Explain the process, what the house or hotel is like, how long the drive or flight is etc. It’ll make it much easier for them to grasp all the changes to their normal routine that are happening during the trip. For example, you can say, “Remember when I told you about… Well, this is it!”
2. Let them help!
I always involve my kids in the packing process. The older two are more than big enough now, at 9 and 6. I let them pack their bags (with supervision). This usually includes me handing them clothes and other items, a little bit at a time to get packed away. They feel proud of themselves, and I have less on my plate, win!
The big one thinks his $5 from great-grandma is brag worthy!
3. Keep them busy.
Regardless of how you’re traveling, kids lose interest super fast. I like to bring a bag (for flying) or a basket (for driving) full of new activities and old tried-and-true activities. Here’s my basket from our latest 13 hour road trip:
I packed up movies, books, coloring books, Boys Life magazines, a couple of word search and maze books, and a bag full of baby toys for the little guy. I have two more of those zippered bags with baby toys so I can rotate them out!
4. Bring lots of food.
My go-to trick for packing non-perishables is to back it into a laundry basket, like this:
Then I throw a bunch of fruit and stuff on top, we eat it on the way down (which saves us from rest-stop-grossness) and while we’re there. Then on the way home we’re able to chow down on what’s left, and stop for food if needed. It definitely saves money, and the kids are happy because I buy things that I normally wouldn’t! Bonus: You can use the laundry basket for those dirty clothes on the way home! There’s nothing worse than a suitcase packed with mixed clean and dirty clothing. Blech!
5. Lower your expectations
The bottom line here is, traveling is tiring. Traveling with kids is exhausting. Don’t expect your kiddos to be perfect angels, on their best behavior, and willing to follow their normal daily routine in a not-so-normal environment. Cut them (and you) some slack. Not get out there and go enjoy that vacation!