My family traveled to Florida this summer and I was nervous about taking 3 little kids on the plane. We planned to do a lot of sightseeing (including Sea World!) so I started researching ways to make the vacation as smooth as possible. Here are my favorite travel tips for airplane, car, and more! Some simple suggestions combined with a little forethought go a long way. Keep your kids happy and keep your sanity at the same time.
Travel Tips for the Airplane
If you are planning to travel with kids by airplane, plan your day in advance. One of the best travel tips I found for taking kids on an airplane was to go tired. Wake your kids up a little early the day you are flying out and make sure to keep them busy. Once you are checked into the airport, give everybody a good meal before boarding the plane. Your children will be satiated, tuckered out, and ready to rest! Be sure to pack a thin blanket in each child’s carry on bag. Pottery Barn Kids has baby blankets on sale for 50% off that work perfectly. They are soft and compact, so they don’t take up too much valuable space. Pack a quiet activity in each child’s carry-on; preferably something new, or something they haven’t used often.
Another important item to pack for any summer vacation is plenty of sunscreen. If you’re going on a cruise ship with a baby, bring plenty of baby food, diapers and wipes. Most cruise ships do not carry these items (even family-friendly ones!); especially if you’re picky about brands. One of the most important travel tips I used for my Florida trip was to pack healthy snacks. My kids are kind of picky eaters and snacks like trail mix and granola bars are much cheaper when brought from home. Sunscreen and snacks can be easily packed in nooks and crannies and will keep your kids happy and healthy. Maybe bring a little Dramamine too, just in case!
Driving in My Car
For any sort of car travel, prepare for pit stops. If you’ve got little ones like I do, it helps to pack a little travel potty just in case. The Potette® Plus is a 2-in-1 trainer seat and travel potty that comes with convenient (and sanitary!) travel liners. This is a God-send for kids 2 and under. One of my most ingenious travel tips is to take a look at your travel route and see if you can plan one or two fun stops along the way. You’d be surprised at how planning your pit stops makes the stopping more enjoyable. You don’t really lose any time, either – planned, or unplanned, you’ll still be stopping!
Keep Everyone Clean!
Another one of my travel tips concerns all of the germs that your children will come in contact with. Hands on doors and railings can benefit from antibacterial gel. (Make sure your hand sanitizer doesn’t contain Triclosan, which may have adverse health effects.) I like The Honest Company’s hand sanitizer because it is fairly gentle. Remember, overuse of antibacterial gel can actually lower your resistance to diseases by killing good bacteria. It’s best to make sure your kids wash hands and take regular baths. Pack along a fun bubble bath to make the idea more enticing! Use the hand sanitizer as back-up when you’re in large public areas or parks.
Prep Your Kids for Sightseeing
Isn’t it amazing the things that will keep your kids entertained for hours? My girlfriend gave me one of the best travel tips to buy kiddie binoculars. Both of my bigger kids loved using them throughout the entire trip! Anything we wanted to stop and see, we would say, “I wonder what that looks like through binoculars?” Instantly, both kids were scoping out the view from a different perspective. This included plants and trees along the path! Try and bring them out only when you’re in a sightseeing destination, otherwise they will get bored of them. It works best if you keep them kind of a novelty.
Two Hands Are Better Than One
Finally, if you’ve got a tiny one in tow, invest in a good baby carrier. A soft carrier keeps baby close while you are free to wander and explore. I like the Moby Wrap Carrier, because it evenly distributes my daughter’s weight so I’m not front-heavy. That is a real back saver! Dad likes to wear it too, since the fabric and print are unisex. So handy when we’ve got other kids to hang onto.
Take it Easy
Once your all packed up, take a break and let yourself enjoy the trip in it’s entirety. Remember, the traveling to and from destinations is all a part of the journey. If you mentally prepare kids for what to expect next, they will be more likely to work with you. They also feed off any anxiety or frustration you are carrying, so be sure to take time-outs whenever you need. A vacation should be an enjoyable change of scenery and nothing more. Try to remember there are always more trips in your future, so don’t pack it all in if you can help it. Hope these travel tips are helpful – leave a comment if you have any other good suggestions!