After spending last week amongst many traveling families, I’d thought I’d share a few tips to make the travel process go a whole lot smoother. Trust me, a little advanced planning will save your sanity. Yes, your kids are adorable – EXCEPT when they are trapped on an airplane (or car, or any other form of transportation where they have to remain seated for that matter).
Tips to Keep Kids Happy While Traveling
- Dress in layers. Temperature changes can happen quickly when traveling, and there is nothing worse than being underdressed and cold.
- Always pack a change of clothes that is readily accessible. Even a teenager can spill a soda on their lap, and surly is not a characteristic you want to emphasize on a 5 hour flight with your seat mate. Teens already have enough raging hormones.
- If you bring entertainment devices, load up on apps and games and pre-test them yourself before you leave. If they’re new and fresh for the child, they’ll hold their attention much longer.
- Always bring more diapers than you think you’ll need, delays are inevitable, and this is one place you don’t want to be caught short. They can also come in handy with an emergency spill. I used one once for a bad cut on a hiking trail.
- Antibacterial wipes and hand sanitizers keep germs at bay, and a insect sting stick can do wonders on a bite.
- If you are going to be in crowded spots (market places, train stations etc.), consider investing in a tracking device. Another option is to write your cell phone number on your child’s arm or leg with a permanent marker.
- As soon as they are able, pack a size-appropriate backpack for kids to carry. Let them be involved in the process, but edit, edit edit. You only want the necessities in there (not their entire collection of action figures). Have it filled with a few snacks they love and some undiscovered treasures to keep them busy.
- Have a journal ziplock bag. Put a disposable camera, a journal, a roll of colorful Washi tape and writing tool. Preload it with a few writing prompts and tape in an envelope or two for mementos. Encourage them to record anything they find interesting (maybe it’s the letter A, or hot dog stands), decorate the outside, tape in receipts, tickets stubs and all sorts of ephemera that will bring back memories from the trip. Photos can be inserted after your return. If they buy into it, the journal will be something they (and you) will treasure for a lifetime.
- Duct tape – pack a roll and you can thank me later. It can be used to repair just about anything, make straps for packages, fix holes in suitcases etc. etc. I can’t tell you how many converts I’ve made.
I know it’s not possible to cover all the bases, but a little pre planning can go along way to making a family trip more enjoyable for everyone. Would love to hear your travel solutions for keeping your group happy on the road.
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