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Our Tips on How To Handle Traveling with Kids


Have you been looking enviously at all your friends vacation photos on Facebook? Even though you love your kids, do you secretly wish you had the freedom to road trip and travel like you used to?  Good news- just because you have kids, doesn’t mean you can’t hit the road! With a little planning and a few creative ideas - traveling with your kids can not only be done; but it can create some of the best memories you will ever have.

When you tell people that you are getting ready to take a vacation with your kids, you may see that their eyes get really big and they may give you their ‘sympathy’. Most people feel it’s not possible to travel with kids and have a relaxing time. The truth is, vacationing with your kids can be amazing. While you are away from the “normal routines” of the day, life stands still in a way and you can pause to appreciate each other more. 

That said, it’s important to not sugar coat traveling with kids completely. As you “vacation” together, there will be times during your trip that the kids will ask “are we there yet” for the millionth time. There may be tears, lack of sleep, drama fits, disappointments, and unfulfilled expectations - impatience sometimes can get the best of any of us at any moment, but don’t let that stop you from taking on the adventure of a lifetime. 

So what are some tactics you can use to help make a vacation better and fight off the negativity that can creep in? 

Here's a few tips, if you have older kids, for making a road trip easier:

  • Books on CD. Go to the library and stock up. You can listen to them for a while, then stop them for some fun discussions and comments on how much you are or are not enjoying the book. Plus, it helps you to 'read' some of those books that you want to read to your kids, but never get to.
  • Surprises. Give them something to look forward to. Maybe it's a surprise stop along the road, or a surprise road game to play- give them something to anticipate other then 'getting there'.
  • Bag of goodies. Load up a bag or back pack with different snack options, books, and new toys from the dollar store. Depending on your kids, you might be able to just let them have the bag of goodies and they will moderate themselves.  For other kids that don't have much restraint, you can wrap up the snacks and toys in individual packages.  Label them with a time and hand out one when you hit that milestone.
  • Pack your meals. Don't bother spending the extra money on going out to eat. Pack a loaf of bread and some PB&J or something similar. When on the road, kids don't really each much anyway. Give yourself the excuse to stop and make the sandwiches without having to find the perfect fast food restaurant to please everyone.
  • Keep the drinks down to a minimum. You don't want have your kids dehydrated, but you also don't want them drinking a ton of liquids just because they are board. That results in having to stop every 30 minutes, sometimes!   Give your little one enough to stay hydrated, and stick to water. 
  • Be flexible. Make your plans, but hold them loosely! If you need to change plans and cut out a planned stop or put another one in, just go with it. Some of the best memories are made when you have to adjust and just go with the flow. A plan is important- so don't neglect to have one, but keep it adjustable.
  • Bring plastic bags and some 'clean up' supplies you will want them for trash, regular spills, or just in case someone gets sick.
  • Bring baby wipes. even if you don't have a baby, these things are so handy!

Road tripping with an infant? Here’s some additional tips!

  • Be prepared, have an extra set of the necessities. If you are road tripping and not flying, make sure you have the diaper bag stocked with extra clothing, extra food (as needed), extra pacifiers, and extra patience!  Your little one will be out of the swing of their routine, so expect them to be a little fussy and “needy”.
  • Don’t plan too much. Keep things low key and light.  Want to spend some time at the beach?  Great- just limit it to a few hours so your baby isn’t out there too long.  Hitting the road?  That will be fun, but plan for a closer destination and allow yourself extra time for stops so you can take care of your little one’s needs.  
    Bring snacks for you- when you are taking care of your little one, it’s not always easy to get the nutrition you need while traveling.  Pack some high protein snacks for yourself so you can grab them and power through. 
  • Don’t over pack. While you do want to be sure you have an extra change of clothing, you don’t need to over pack. Leave most of the baby gear at home so you aren’t lugging it around everywhere with you. You can purchase things like diapers and wipes at your destination, so just be sure to have what you need to get there. 
  • Plan for naps. Bring a board game, a deck of cards, or a good book and be prepared to hang out in the hotel room for a few while your little one gets a good nap in.  Forcing them to skip the nap so they can have “fun” with you will result in everyone being cranky, so try to make sure you keep the nap routine the same. 
  • Bring a white noise machine. You might start using one at home before you leave so your baby gets used to it, but these things are amazing!  the noise can help your little one understand that it’s time to go to sleep, even in an unfamiliar place.  

Now you are ready, get out there and make some memories! 

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